Enjoy Ontario outdoor festivals, but know your rights if injured

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It doesn’t matter what your interests might be, chances are you will find an outdoor festival dedicated to them in Ontario, Canada. Festivals dedicated to music, food, beer and other themes will be going on throughout the summer with at least two of them allowing attendees to bring cannabis onto the event site. Festivals bring together large crowds of people in relatively confined areas, which could lead to injuries no matter how much effort promoters put into their efforts to safeguard attendees. Before heading out to your first festival of the season, take a few moments to learn about your rights should you be injured.

What is premises liability, and how does it apply to outdoor festivals?

Premises liability is a principle of law making the owner of property responsible for maintaining it in a condition that keeps it free from dangerous hazards that could cause injuries to people entering upon the property. Common premises liability claims include a customer injured by a hazardous condition in a retail store, a person slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk, or someone injured in a fall due to inadequate lighting of the stairway of an office building. It can also include injuries suffered by people attending an outdoor festival.

The law defining the obligations of property owners and the rights of individuals injured on another party’s property in Ontario is the Occupiers’ Liability Act. Under the act, occupiers of premises, which includes land and the structures build on it, owe a duty to people to take reasonable measures to keep them safe while they are on the premises.
Occupier under the act is defined as someone in physical possession of premises. This could include a homeowner. It goes on to include in its definition of occupier the following parties who might not necessarily be in physical possession of the premises:

  • Anyone responsible for or in control of the condition of the particular premises;
  • Anyone responsible for or controlling activities at the premises; or
  • Anyone controlling the people granted access to the premises.

A promoter of an outdoor festival might obtain permission from the owner of the event site, such as a farmer or other type of property owner, to use it. The promoter could be liable as an occupier of the premises for injuries to festival attendees for accidents caused by conditions existing at site as someone controlling access to the premises and also as someone in control of the activities being held on it.

Report any injuries immediately to someone in charge

You might be injured in an accident caused by the condition of the festival site, or you could be the victim of an assault at the festival due to inadequate security provided by the promotor. In either event, you must document the incident and your injuries by reporting it to the police and to festival officials.

It’s a good idea to write down the date, time, location and a summary of what took place, including the names and contact information of any witnesses. Include a description or photos of your injuries. If you reported the incident to the police, ask them for a copy of the written report they prepare.

After your injuries have been evaluated and treated by your doctor, contact an Ontario personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can evaluate the circumstances of the accident or incident in order to determine what options you have for obtaining compensation and the identity of all parties who might be held responsible.