Non-MVA Liability- What Does It Mean?

By Patrick Rocca | September 30, 2016

With more than 35 years of experience serving clients throughout Toronto and across Ontario, Pace Law Firm is dedicated to helping clients through complex injuries, accident benefits and tort claims. From motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, and insurance and liability claims, we cover the whole gamut of personal injury cases. Even though motor vehicle accidents make up most of the current cases in Ontario, it is important to understand that injuries can be sustained without the involvement of a vehicle as well, and you do have the right to consult with a lawyer who can help you recover damages.

On the flip side, if you are not the one who is injured it is vital to understand if your actions make you liable in a personal injury case. You may not be driving a car but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have the potential of being liable for someone else’s injury.

We’ve summed up what you need to know -and do- when faced with life’s unexpected situations.

 Product liability:

Every year defective or dangerous products cause thousands of injuries. Product liability refers to a manufacturer or seller being held liable for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer. The law requires that a product meet the ordinary expectations of the consumer and when a product has an unexpected defect or danger, the product cannot be said to meet these expectations.

Under product liability, a victim must prove that the product that caused injury was defective, and that the defect made the product unreasonably dangerous. For example, a defective issue with coffee machines in the past resulted in a recall due to many burn injuries reported amongst consumers.

When faced with such situations, it is important to take specific steps to help prove your case.

Always keep proof of purchase: It’s essential to keep your receipt. Proof of purchase is always a starting point in product liability cases.

Always keep proof: Always keep the original packaging from the product company as well as the product that is defective.

Always talk to a lawyer first: Most people tend to contact the company first about their defective product. You should alwayscontact a lawyer first! Once the product has been altered or changed, the case is much harder to prove.

Always take photos: Document not just your injury or damage, but the product itself. This visual proof is key in a case.

Embrace social media:  Social media is a key realm that lawyers turn to in order to determine if a product has caused issues for other people. If many people are complaining about a product, it’s easier to build a case.

Dog Bites:

Dog bites and attacks are unfortunately a very common problem. With certain dog breeds recently making the news as “dangerous”, it is easy to fall under the misconception that it is the dog’s fault. This is however not the case.

The Dog Owner’s Liability Act states that dog owners are liable for any damage caused by dog bites to persons or domestic animals. This means that it is up to the owner to have a well-trained or well-mannered dog. As a dog owner, make sure you take these steps to avoid liability:

Train your dog: Always make sure your dog is trained! If you are in the process, make sure you tell people and make it clear. If they approach your dog and something happens, the liability could be on you.

Keep the leash on: Be safe and always keep your dog leash on in public places. Keep a tight grip and make sure you’re in full control.

Vocalize: It’s essential to vocalize your dog’s behaviour around other people, especially families with children. Parents have a duty to supervise their children, but ultimately the onus is on you to communicate if your dog’s behaviour is aggressive.

If you’ve been attacked by a dog or own a dog that bit someone and have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us! The earlier we get involved, the better.

Slip & Falls:

Slips and falls may arise from a number of circumstances, including ice, snow, water, poor lighting or other hazards created by neglected properties. Injuries from accidents occurring on private or public property may entitle the injured party to compensation under the occupiers’ liability insurance.

If a person trips, falls and is injured on someone else’s property, there’s a chance a lawsuit will be filed and damages awarded.The two main elements for determining fault in a premises liability claim are:

  1. Whether or not the property owner acted reasonably to prevent a dangerous condition, and
  1. Whether or not the injured party was exceedingly careless.

But, how do you protect yourself from being liable? Here are some of the most popular tips from our lawyers:

  • Slip and falls on ice are most common- make sure to salt your outdoor property and stay aware for icy public property that is not salted.
  • Your degree of negligence in the accident will determine how successful your case is.
  • Always wear the right footwear outside, especially in winter months, to avoid contributory negligence and
  • Anybody you supervise is your responsibility, this includes injuries incurred because of a contractor or landscaper that you hired.
  • For falls in a public space (i.e. a store) you are required to report the accident while you are there, talk to a store manager, get their contact information and take photos.
  • When in doubt, contact the authorities for a public fall; they will make a public record for your incident.

It is important to keep in mind that these cases can vary greatly depending on the details. For more information on slip & fall injuries or to get in touch with our team click here.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

What happens when you’re injured by someone you don’t know – while they are committing a crime?

If you’re involved in a criminal injury with a person that you do not know or have no information for, you can contact the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board for compensation up to $25,000. This board is a tribunal created by the provincial government. The process involves an application and a formal hearing.  It is best to consult a lawyer for these matters.