Owner/Occupier Duty of Care – Part 1

If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip on property, you may be entitled to compensation from the owner, occupier, or contractor responsible for the property.

At common law, a person has a duty to take reasonable care for their own safety, to keep a proper lookout, and avoid known and foreseeable hazards.

In contrast, an owner or occupier and their agents or contractors have a positive duty to take reasonable care to ensure any known and foreseeable hazard, or unreasonable risk on the property to guests, visitors, renters, or the public are made safe, or there is satisfactory warning to ensure persons do not suffer injury and are aware of the risk.

The owner/occupier has a positive duty to take steps when a hazard is known or ought to have been known. This is true whether the property is commercial, residential or government owned.

If a person suffers injuries such as a slip and fall due to a hazard on property, they may be able to claim compensation for all injury, loss or damage caused as a result of same.

More often than not, owners and occupiers have liability coverage in place for their property and activities that indemnifies for such loss or covers legal and disbursement costs to defend such an action.

If you are an owner, occupier, or contractor notified or sued for injury caused by a hazard or risk on property you own, control, or maintain, notify your insurance broker of any demand or action to obtain a defence and indemnity.

If you have been injured on property due to an unreasonable, unforeseen hazard, consider what caused the injury. Identify at the scene what caused you to trip or slip and fall and tell the first responders about it.

Where possible, make note of the hazard by photograph from your mobile phone or with a witness. Take note of witness contact information at the scene so you may contact them later to give evidence.

Take note of your surroundings.

What shoes or clothing were you wearing? When did you purchase you shoes? What kind of tread do they have and how worn are the treads? What weather conditions are present? Are there any warning signs, caution signs, or tape in place or only after you fell? Any spills present? What was slippery? Is anyone cleaning and what are they cleaning up after you fell? Retain your shoes and clothing.

Consider asking the owner/contractor who responds to retain any video surveillance of the incident and provide you a copy of their official report and surveillance.

If you are the owner/occupier or contractor, make sure a proper incident report if prepared, photos are taken, the hazard is identified by the person to you, and you inspect the hazard and make note of conditions present at the time. Which employees were on shift?

Take photos of the hazard and of the victim or their shoes or other relevant matters at the scene. Get contact information from the witnesses. Note if any caution signs are out or warning signs or tapes. Secure and retain all surveillance from that day and at least two hours before and after the incident for consideration in subsequent litigation.

If you have been injured, note that you have two years from the date of the accident to sue those responsible for injuries. Do not delay. The two year limitation period is a deadline to file you legal claim in court in the absent of any specific exceptions.

If you an owner/occupier or contractor and a person has been injured on property owned, controlled or maintained by you, report it to your insurer or liability insurance broker right away.

If you suffered injury, call for your FREE initial legal consultation to consider compensation you may be entitled to for same. Call Sharene Orstad or Julie Fisher at 604-LAWYERS (604-529-9377) or email (sorstad@dbmlaw.ca) sorstad (at) dbmlaw (dot) ca or (jfisher@dbmlaw.ca) jfisher (at) dbmlaw (dot) ca.

DBM law blog: Slip and fall hazards - take photos

Slip and fall hazards – take photos

 

Julie was called to the British Columbia bar in 1996, after obtaining her BA in Psychology (1991) and Bachelor of Laws (1995) from the University of Victoria. Julie has lived in Coquitlam since 2001 with her husband, son and Wheaten Terrier, and enjoys hiking the various trails each weekend.

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