Am I liable if a guest is injured on my property, and it’s clearly their fault?

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on January 24th, 2018

It is great to have a place you can call your own and can have people over, but by inviting people into your home, you are also inviting in their liability. Which means, you become responsible for your guest’s well being while they are on your property; luckily this is covered by your property insurance. But, what happens if an injury is suffered from no fault of your own, but the fault of your guest? Are you still liable? Let’s have a look.

Who is liable if the injury is clearly their fault?

So, if without your knowledge your friend’s boyfriend had a few too many drinks and decided that jumping off your roof and into the pool was a good idea, are you on the hook if they get hurt and come after you for compensation? Luckily, the answer is no, as long as there were no hazards of your doing that lead to the injury. As a property owner, you are only responsible for injuries that are caused by something that you could have prevented. For example, you would be responsible for any injuries that happen due to a slippery winter walkway that you neglected to maintain, or a renovation area that you failed to clear of debris.

Because situations are full of grey, someone who is hurt on your property by their own doing could still attempt to collect compensation. But, they will have to prove that you, as the property owner, are partially or completely at fault for the injury.

What if the injury happens during a break-in?

Hey, it has been known to happen. A burglar breaks into your home, trips over a wire coming from your TV while they are trying to steal it, and comes after you for personal injury compensation. But, is this actually a case that they can win? Thankfully in Ontario, the answer to that is no. Any responsibility you may have for visitors on your property is lifted if they enter your property by trespassing without permission or if they commit a crime. So because a burglar enters your home without your permission and is committing a crime, you are not liable for their personal safety.

What to do if someone is hurt on your property

First, ensure that the person who is injured receives proper medical attention, making sure they are okay and getting them help the first priority.

Secondly, record any information you can remember about the incident. Take photos, write information down, and try to remember as much as you can. If someone comes after you for compensation and you want to fight it, you will need as much evidence as you can gather to prove your case.

If the injured party is put out of work for a time, or have medical bills that go above and beyond the available health care system, they may look for a way to supplement the costs. In this case, they will likely look to you as the homeowner to compensate for their loss. If they put forth a personal injury claim, your liability coverage would come into play, to either pay them out or help you with the legal fees to fight the lawsuit.

It is a good idea to check the limitations of your liability coverage, as there will be a specified dollar amount that you will be covered for. Certain situations can get costly, especially when lawyers are involved, so it is important to ensure you have enough coverage, so you do not end up paying out of pocket if things go awry.

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