Occupiers’ Liability Claims
Slips, trips and falls can result in serious injuries, and if caused by unsafe or dangerous property conditions or poor maintenance, the owner and/or person who is in control of the property may be responsible to pay damages to the injured person. Generally, the responsible person will have insurance to cover such claims.
The right to claim for compensation in these circumstances is governed by the Occupiers’ Liability Act in British Columbia. Generally, it is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of property, whether land or buildings, to keep the property in reasonably safe condition for the use of other persons who could be expected to come onto or into the property. An owner or occupier could be the person who owns or controls a residential property, bare land, government land and buildings, municipal property, commercial or business premises, recreational centres or sports facilities, for example. Sometimes it is difficult to ascertain the owner of a property – your MacIsaac & Company lawyer has the necessary contacts and experience to determine this very important fact for you. In some cases, there is more than one responsible owner or occupier.
If the responsible owner is a municipality, there are strict time limits within which you must notify the municipality and commence your claim. If you fail to comply with these strict requirements, you will lose your right to claim compensation. It is a good idea to contact one of our lawyers as soon as possible if you have been injured in a slip and fall incident, so that we can determine whether any special notice requirements apply in your case, and if so, ensure compliance with them for you.
Some examples of unsafe conditions that could lead to injury are poorly lit areas, defective railings or absence of railings, unsafe stairways, wet or slippery floors, obscured holes, icy parking lots, sidewalks or stairways, poorly maintained driveways or sidewalks, poorly constructed or unrepaired decks or other structures, or any other condition that presents a hazard that could cause injury to a person lawfully using the premises.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall incident, you should:
- Take photographs of the location where the incident occurred, as well as photographs of the footwear you were wearing. Photographs should be taken as soon as reasonably possible in case the owner or occupier promptly takes steps to remedy the hazard, thereby compromising valuable evidence.
- Get names and contact information for any witnesses to the incident.
- Report the incident to the property owner(s) if you know who they are.
- Visit your doctor and follow his or her advice for treatment or therapy.
- Contact MacIsaac & Company to discuss your claim and to ensure you meet any time limits that apply in your case.