With the proliferation of apps like TikTok, we are seeing more and more so-called “challenges” demanding attention online. From benevolent examples such as the Ice Bucket Challenge to support ALS research to potentially dangerous ones such as the Cinnamon Challenge, it seems like there is no limit to how far people will go in an attempt to go “viral”.
The latest craze is known as the “milk crate challenge”. For those who do not know, the milk crate challenge involves stacking milk crates in a pyramid or stair-like formation. The individual then attempts to walk up to the top of the stacked milk crates before descending again. The milk crates at their highest point are often stacked 5-8 crates high, meaning that the individual is often 5 or more feet off the ground at the highest point. As the stacks of milk crates are very unstable, this viral trend has resulted in a plethora of videos of people falling awkwardly onto a pile of plastic crates. In fact, from the videos circulating online, it appears you are far more likely to fail at this “challenge” than you are to succeed.
Already there are reports of significant injuries, including broken bones, as a result of this challenge. However, another important consideration aside from protecting your health are the legal consequences you may face for setting up one of these milk crate pyramids on your property.
Should you choose to pursue this challenge at your home in hopes of becoming the next viral sensation, you should be aware that if someone is injured while attempting this challenge, you may be liable for the injuries they suffered while on your property. In Ontario, homeowners, renters, or anyone who has “control” of a property owes a duty of care to visitors to their premises. That duty requires a homeowner/controller of the premises to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe while they are at your house. Inviting guests to participate in such obviously dangerous activities would very likely fall afoul of this obligation.
You might be thinking that if someone chooses to participate in this challenge at your home and winds up injured, then they are ultimately the author of their own misfortune. While there is some truth to that, you should consider that if your guests are inebriated or under the age of 18, their judgment may be impaired. In such a scenario, there is a meaningful risk that you would be held liable for setting up and encouraging people to engage in such a risky activity.
At the end of the day, the videos that are the most viral are the ones showing the worst falls. If you aspire to become an internet sensation, then surely you would rather be known for your triumphs as opposed to your injuries or the injuries of your friends and family.
About the Authors
Nick understands that those who have suffered through the trauma of a serious personal injury are already in a position of vulnerability, and is committed to helping them through this difficult process, offering the support and advice they need. Specifically, he seeks to help right the balance in an insurance system that is becoming increasingly antagonistic toward injured individuals.