With Alberta’s cabin season in full swing, it is never too late for property owners to review additional safety considerations before hosting your next event. When it comes to liability, simply having a valid property insurance policy may not be enough. Cabin owners must take reasonable steps to ensure that they and their guests are protected on the premises and that incident risks are mitigated. By reviewing the implementing the below precautions, you can ensure the remainder of your cabin weekends are fun, restful and safe. 

Property Precautions

It is critical to not skip out on getting property insurance for your seasonal summer property. Not only will a comprehensive home insurance policy protect cottage owners in the event of theft, flooding, or fires, but it can also cover liability in the event that someone is injured on the property. If you are using the summer to complete renovations to the property, be sure to notify the insurance company of these changes. If you choose to rent out your cabin instead, it is also imperative to speak with your insurance company to ensure that any additional coverage and safety requirements are obtained and implemented.   

Inspections and Maintenance

Before inviting guests over for the season, it is important to conduct an initial inspection and ongoing regular maintenance of your cabin, the surrounding property, recreational vehicles, boats, fireplaces and barbecues. Doing so may alert you to potential dangers and help you address concerns before others arrive. Since many cabins are often not equipped with the same clear pathways and lighting as most habitual residences, it is important to alert friends and family members of any rocky and uneven terrain. Be mindful of marking off other potential hazards, such as loose deck boards or railings, to help avoid a trip and fall incident. 

Substance Use

Moreover, when it comes to the consumption of alcohol and drugs, cabin owners should be mindful of guests’ consumption at their property. Suppose a property owner does not make a concerted effort to prevent reasonable harm to their guests when serving alcohol and a party sustains an injury. In that case, they may be liable under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. 

Campfire Caution

Alcohol and cannabis considerations can be particularly prevalent around a cabin staple campfire. Cabin owners should ensure that their fire pits are not constructed near low-hanging trees, and the area should be surrounded by rocks or other nonflammable material. It is important to ensure that the flames 

Water Safety

Whether travelling by speedboat, canoe, or kayak, talk with your guests about water safety. Understanding guests’ swimming abilities, ensuring that enough life jackets are available for everyone, and supervising children in the water can go a long way in accident prevention. It is also important to let guests know of any unique characteristics in the water near the property, such as whether it is safe to dive in, how deep the water is, and whether there are any known hazards below the water’s surface. 

When it comes to boating, the boat’s owner must have the proper license and not be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. They should have the appropriate level of experience necessary to operate the watercraft safely. Cabin owners must be mindful that the standard insurance policy on your cottage may not necessarily cover water crafts on the premises. 

Occupiers’ Liability and Proactive Steps

Alberta’s Occupiers’ Liability Act imposes a duty on the occupier of a property, the cabin’s owner, to reasonably ensure guests’ safety. Therefore, there are several steps you can take to make your cottage safer and more comfortable for all parties, such as:

  • installing outdoor lights and illuminating areas with uneven terrain;
  • maintaining clear pathways, stairs and decks, free of obstructions;
  • keeping a fully stocked first-aid kit in an easily accessible location on the property;
  • testing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in the cottage to ensure they are properly working; and
  • setting a good example as a host with respect to responsible consumption of substances such as alcohol and cannabis, particularly near fire pits and waterfront areas.

Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP in Calgary for Assistance in a Personal Injury Accident

Accidents can happen fast, especially at the cabin or on the lake. If you have been involved in an accident and sustained an injury at someone else’s property as a result of a breach of the Occupiers’ Liability Act, contact the trusted personal injury lawyers at Cuming & Gillespie LLP. Our experienced lawyers understand that injuries sustained in recreational accidents and slip and falls can result in serious consequences, which is why we help clients understand their options when it comes to pursuing a personal injury claim. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a member of our personal injury team, reach out to us online or call us at 403-571-0555.