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Liability matters: How liability claims work in Canada

In Canada, when you're hurt because of someone else's actions, you're able to pursue a lawsuit or claim against that person. The reason you can do this is because of liability law.

What is liability?

Liability means that someone is responsible for actions that take place or for the state of a facility, for example. For a business owner, that might mean being liable for injuries that take place inside the building. As a homeowner, liability might hold you accountable for injuries someone suffers because of dangerous stairs or items on your property.

There are three standards of liability that victims should know. The first is intention, the second is negligence and the third is strict liability. With intention, a civil lawsuit claims that the defendant wanted to cause injuries to another person. For example, a driver who wants to hit a pedestrian and swerves into the person intended to do so.

Negligence is one of the more common causes of lawsuits. With a negligence claim, the victim is claiming that the defendant failed in his or her duty of care toward the victim. For instance, the owner of an electric fence with no warnings may be considered negligent if someone is electrocuted.

Finally, strict liability is used in some cases. This is when a person can be held liable for a person's injuries even if he or she did not intend to cause injuries or had not been proven negligent. This is usually the case when it comes to dog bites and animal-related injuries.

In any situation where you're hurt because of another person's actions, your lawyer can help you pursue compensation, so you can get what you need while you recover.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "What Is Liability?," accessed Aug. 18, 2016

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