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The Uninvited Guest

You’re dying to go next door to see your neighbour’s renovation.  They’ve been at it for months.  Inside, outside, from open concepts to new “grotto” patios.  But, you’re not exactly friends.  Every time you ask “How’s it going?”  They give you the same, flaccid reply, “Well, it’s still going.  We’re getting there, slowly.”  Finally, you decide one day, you’ll just wander over and have a look.  After all, it’s hard to tell you to your face to go home if you’re standing there. 

The contractors are working, there’s a buzz of activity, and you see the homeowner outside, milling about.  That’s your cue.  You wander over casually and with quiet humility, you offer your most polite pleasantries and keep walking towards the homeowner pretending you can’t hear them dissuading your advances. As you walk, focused on their face, taking great study of their body language, you completely ignore what they’re saying and stumble over some equipment cords, falling in and out of a deep hole, then tripping head-first into a pile of rubble.  Instead of getting the anticipated tour, you’re seriously injured.

After first responders are called, and the scene subsides from the obvious chaos, you end up at the hospital with serious, but not life-threatening injuries.  Despite jeopardizing neighbour relations, you’re still quite upset, believing the hazardous areas of their property should’ve been identified, preventing you from injury.  And, the homeowner is mad at you! 

Should you sue?  Do you even have a claim?  It seems reasonable that you do.  It could’ve been anyone who got injured and you think the homeowner should know better since their renovation project has gone on for months.  The injuries you sustained were clearly a case of negligence.  Safety should be “their” priority.  There’s only one nagging concern…  You weren’t invited over.  You were in fact, trespassing.

Homeowners do have the burden of having to provide a safe environment on their property when hosting others.  Renovations present circumstances where life-threatening hazards may constitute negligence.  Under Canadian tort law (from the Latin word “tortum,” meaning wrong or injustice,) there is a special section called, “Premises Liability Law,” dealing with issues specifically related to a property owner’s accountability and obligations.  And low and behold, a trespasser is also covered under tort law – to some degree.  Despite breaking a law by trespassing, they can still make a claim against the homeowner where personal injury was due to negligence.  So, game on you nosy neighbours but, trespassers beware…  Bring your hard hats, safety glasses, and steel toes!

The law firm of Paciocco & Mellow aims to help provide you with Peace of Mind at a Difficult Time. Contact the Windsor personal injury lawyers at Paciocco & Mellow at (519) 915-SORE (7673). We can provide you with a free, no obligation initial consultation.