Commercial property is any property owned by a private entity for purposes of doing business. All property owners have to take special precautions to ensure that people entering the property are reasonably safe. This includes performing inspections of the property to make sure that any hazards that around the property or are formed on the property, such as ice, are noticed and taken care off.
If you have been injured on a commercial property and would like to pursue damages, contact a Toronto commercial property liability lawyer right away to begin your claim. A skilled liability lawyer can help you pursue proper compensation.
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Steps to Take in Case of a Hazard
Once a property owner finds a hazard on the property, they must take all reasonable precautions to remove it, or to make it safe for people who are using the property.
For example, this could include putting up signs or painting the hazard a bright color so that it is easily visible. Ideally, it should involve removing the hazard all together, such as putting salts down over ice to get rid of ice, shoveling to get rid of snow, modifying stairs to make sure they are to the building code, or modifying or removing a ledge to make sure it is not a trip hazard.
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Statute of Limitations
The general limitation period in personal injury cases is two years. That limitation period does not begin, however, until somebody is legally competent to make their own legal decisions. For example, somebody is not legally confident in Ontario until they turn the age of 18. That means that if they are injured before the age of 18, the limitation period does not expire until they turn 20.
For people who are 18 or older the limitation is generally speaking two years. It is important to contact a Toronto commercial property liability lawyer sooner rather than later to file a claim within the statute of limitations.
Potential Defendants in a Liability Case
The most common defendants in commercial liability cases in Toronto are property owners, because it is their job to make sure they are taking steps to ensure their property is safe. Commercial properties are often owned and leased by different companies, so the parties who are actually leasing that property and conducting business there are very commonly brought into proceedings, because as a lessee, they have an obligation to make sure that the property is safe for people visiting.
There is generally a contractor who is hired by the property owner to perform these duties, such as someone hired to remove ice and snow or somebody who is hired to make sure that spills are cleaned up such, as janitorial services. These contractors are often involved in premises liability cases as well.
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Generally speaking, liability rests with either the plaintiff or the defendant in these cases. In order to show liability, the person has to show that the defendants did something that allowed the hazard to remain on the property that where the injury occurred.
The injured party may also be found responsible for a portion of their own injury. For example, if somebody slips on ice because they were wearing sneakers rather than winter boots, they may be partially responsible for their accident because they did not take reasonable precautions to make sure that they were safe on the property. In these cases, liability could be split between the plaintiff and the defendant, and the court determines how much each party is responsible for the accident.
In a premises liability case in Toronto, it is important to identify the correct defendant. Toronto commercial property liability lawyers are helpful in proving appropriate fault determination in their cases. This can often involve an in-depth search into leases, contracts, or other maintenance providers responsible for maintaining that property. If a person does not find the correct defendant, they may miss their two-year limitation period, and the person’s claim could be barred. This would be an enormous mistake, and could mean that the person is not entitled to any damages despite the fact that they otherwise would have had a legitimate claim.
Generally speaking, when insurance companies are involved, commercial liability cases are quite similar to each other. That is because an insurance company steps in to defend on behalf of the property owner. Insurance companies are often multibillion-dollar companies that have a lot of resources to defend these claims. They can afford to hire lawyers to defend them and to attack an injured party’s claim, and potentially to push the claim all the way to trial.
It is important that a person has a personal injury lawyer on their side who is accustomed to dealing with these large corporations, and who is comfortable fighting insurance companies and their teams of defense lawyers. It is particularly important that the person has a lawyer who is ready to take their case to trial, not because their case will go to trial, but because the fact that their lawyer could take the case to trial is often enough to convince the insurance company to pay a fair settlement.
Important Case Considerations
A person should take all steps that they can to preserve the evidence immediately after the accident. This means taking pictures and even measurements of what caused the person’s injury, whether it is ice, faulty stairs, or a hazard on the floor. It is also important to make sure that if there are video surveillance cameras present, as they are often are in commercial stores, that they ask the company to keep that video. This footage will often be some of the best evidence showing exactly what happened and why the person fell.
It is also important for a person to make sure that they speak with a Toronto commercial property liability lawyer to understand what the case may be worth and whether they have a case in the first place. Premises liability cases can be complex. Often injuries may have long-term consequences. An injured victim may not immediately know just how much compensation they are entitled to, or how much money they are going to lose as a result of the injuries in the long term. It is important that they speak with a lawyer to avoid giving up rights they never knew existed.