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Accident in municipal park results in paraplegic injury.

February 24, 2015, Kitchener, Ontario

Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer

In what all parties agree is a tragic case, a young man aged 16 fell out of a tree located in a municipal park and injured himself, and is now a paraplegic. He was hanging around in the park with his friends, climbing a willow tree which according to testimony of several witnesses had been used for years as a meeting place for youth. The young man and his friends had climbed it several times in the past without incident, and in the history of the park’s existence only one other injury had ever been reported (a twisted ankle). Municipal staff had never seen anyone climbing in the tree on their regular rounds of the park, and the young man’s mother testified that she hadn’t either.

Upon injury the young man and his family sued the municipality for damages and lost their case. They appealed the decision to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on the basis that the trial judge had erred in his decision on three points:

  1. He erred in failing to make a finding as to whether the premises were reasonably safe.
  2. He erred in finding that the monitoring the town had in place was reasonable; and
  3. He erred in not finding it was obvious that the tree in question was not reasonably safe and that it was inherently unsafe in the absence of appropriate monitoring. 

The Superior Court reviewed the testimony and decision of the original trial and determined that:

  1. The premises was safe with there being only one complaint on record of a minor injury,
  2. The tree was healthy, and the park was regularly maintained and monitored and patrolled by staff.
  3. Any danger posed by the tree was an obvious one. Climbing trees carries the inherent risks of falling out and being injured.

The appellants then sought leave to appeal the costs awarded by the trial judge made against them, specifically against the family members. All appeals and cross appeals were dismissed by the Superior Court. Costs of the appeal were agreed in the sum of $15,000 apportioned $500 against each of the family claimants and $12,500 against the young man.

 

Posted under Personal Injury, Minor Injury Guidelines, Spinal Cord Injury

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Deutschmann Law serves South-Western Ontario with offices in Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Woodstock, Brantford, Stratford and Ayr. The law practice of Robert Deutschmann focuses almost exclusively in personal injury and disability insurance matters. For more information, please visit www.deutschmannlaw.com or call us toll-free at 1-866-414-4878.

The opinions expressed here, while intended to provide useful information, should not be interpreted as legal recommendations or advice.

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