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4 Tips For Avoiding Mishaps At The Cottage

We are reaching the zenith of cottage season here in Ontario this month: the waterskies are out, the motor boat is revved up and the dock party is in full swing. Even lawyers need a break once in awhile, and here at Goodman Elbassiouni LLP we certainly relish the opportunity to spend some time in Ontario’s glorious cottage country. Being experts ourselves in personal injury law, we are also extremely conscious of the hazards that go along with cottage life.

If you’ve got a good head on your shoulders and you keep a couple things in mind, you can avoid turning your weekend in paradise into a weekend from hell. While we are happy to go to bat for clients who’ve been injured, frankly, we’d prefer if no one was injured at all. Below we’ve provided some tips for cottage safety; if you own a cottage and are concerned about your guests or you are spending your family vacation at a rented or borrowed cottage, these tips are specifically for you.

  • People often think of a campfire as the hallmark of a great cottage weekend; it’s also worth taking into account that lighting a fire in the winter often seems like an amazing idea. If you own your cottage and you are familiar with fire safety protocol, then this is usually no problem. However, if you are renting or lending out your cottage to a friend, it’s a good idea to caution them against building a fire. If a gust of wind catches the flame and starts a forest fire, or the screen isn’t applied to the fireplace and (god forbid) the cottage should burn down, it will not only be tragic, but you’ll be liable as well. Consider including a caveat in the short term rental contract about fires.
  • It’s a good idea to leave life-jackets for the adults, but if you are renting to a family with children, make sure they bring lifejackets for their own kids. If you provide life-jackets for other people’s kids and an accident results from a poor fit, you are liable. Water safety is certainly one of the most important things at the cottage and when it comes to children, you want to make sure that the utmost care is taken.
  • If you are visiting a cottage, make sure you inspect the stairs leading up to the cottage from the dock. Often times these old wooden staircases are slightly rotted and damaged from the harsh winter weather. When you search: slip and fall lawyers in Toronto on the Internet, there’s a reason we’re at the top – we’ve seen a lot of slip and fall cases and we don’t mind telling you, a lot of them are a result of poorly maintained stairs at old properties. Please be careful.
  • If the owner of the cottage you are visiting has left the keys to the jet ski or the ATV lying around, for heaven’s sake, please don’t go for a joy ride if you aren’t experienced and don’t have permission. We’ve seen people hurt themselves this way and it is awful because these accidents are so avoidable.

If you are in need of a great workers compensation lawyer in the GTA, or a slip and fall or automobile collision lawyer, we are here to help. The summer should be a time for family, friends and relaxation and we sincerely hope you have a safe one. However, if anything should happen, don’t hesitate to give us a call!


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