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Occupiers’ Liability in British Columbia: Vancouver Slip and Fall Lawyers

When you are injured on another person’s property in a slip and fall accident, it is important to determine who may be liable. This is especially true if your injuries have caused you significant physical, emotional, or financial damage. Because occupiers’ liability requires property owners to maintain a reasonable degree of safety on their premises at all times, you may be entitled to compensation when you are injured.

In British Columbia, whether your accident occurred on public or private property will affect how occupiers’ liability applies to your case. Regardless of the location of your accident, you may still be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Our Vancouver personal injury lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of slip and fall accidents and the nuances of occupiers’ liability. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

What is a Slip and Fall Accident?

Slip and fall accidents occur when a hazard present on another party’s public or private property causes you to injure yourself. Hazards responsible for slip and fall accidents may include:

  • Cramped walkways
  • Broken tiles, wood, and other flooring
  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Broken or uneven steps
  • Wet, snowy, or icy walkways
  • A lack of caution signage in hazardous areas
  • And more

Although sometimes their impact is mild, slip and fall accidents can lead to severe injuries that may have life-altering, traumatic effects. When you are injured on another party’s property in a slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for legal recourse.

What is Occupiers’ Liability?

Occupiers’ liability refers to the owner of a public or private property having a legal duty of care to ensure the premises they maintain are reasonably safe for visitors. If an individual is injured by a hazard on an occupier’s premises, the occupier may be held liable for the accident. The Occupiers Liability Act in British Columbia outlines how property owners are expected to maintain reasonably safe premises. It also describes how and when claimants may be entitled to pursue legal action against an occupier who has failed to sustain their duty of care.

When you are injured in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, you must prove that the occupier breached their duty of care by failing to keep their premises reasonably safe. A claimant can argue that the occupier either knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the accident through reasonable inspection of the premises. By failing to fix the hazard or provide a warning, an occupier may be held liable for negligence.

An occupier may be able to reduce their liability for a slip and fall accident if they can demonstrate that they adhered to their duty of care. An occupier may prove that they had no reasonable knowledge of the hazard that caused an accident. They might also argue that a claimant contributed to their own injuries by being careless or ignoring warnings the occupier had previously issued.

What is the Difference Between Occupiers’ Liability on Private vs. Public Property?

The legal implications of occupiers’ liability will vary depending on whether the property is privately or publicly owned. This difference normally affects how an individual must pursue their claim if they believe that the occupier of a premises is liable for their injury.

Private property can include:

  • Commercial stores
  • Restaurants
  • Offices
  • Residential homes
  • And more

When you slip and fall on private property, the Occupiers Liability Act requires that you prove the occupier either knew or should have known about the hazard that caused your accident and failed to rectify it. An accident that occurred on private property may be settled privately or taken to court at the claimant’s discretion.

Accidents on public property may occur in/on:

  • Sidewalks
  • Roads
  • Parks
  • Government buildings
  • And more

Although the Occupiers Liability Act still allows a claimant to pursue legal action against a public occupier, there are additional steps that must be taken due to overlap with the BC Local Government Act. A claimant must give written notice of their injury claim to the relevant public authority within 2 months of their accident, or they lose their right to pursue legal action. In cases where you are injured in a slip and fall accident on public property, you should contact a lawyer before the 60-day time limit elapses.

Pursuing a Claim When You Are Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident

Whether your injury occurred on private or public property, it is important to be aware of additional factors that may affect your injury claim under the Occupiers Liability Act. For example, an occupier may be able to prove that a claimant was partially responsible for their own injuries. This is referred to as comparative fault. It is important to be aware that comparative fault may affect the amount of compensation you are entitled to or the outcome of your claim.

Your interaction with insurance companies should also be well-informed when it comes to filing an injury claim against an occupier. Your own insurance provider will normally require you to sign paperwork that allows them to investigate your claim so that you may access your benefits. However, if documents are presented to you by an insurance company that is not your own, you should refrain from signing them. Release forms and other paperwork from adverse parties may seek personal information, like your clinical history. This can be used against you when it comes time to resolve your claim.

An experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to advise you on what to sign, whether you may be at comparative fault, and how best to pursue your injury claim. For legal advice on occupiers’ liability and your personal injury matter, schedule a free initial consultation with our team at Border Solutions Law Group today.

Contact Us About Your Personal Injury Claim Today

When it comes to occupiers’ liability in British Columbia, there are a variety of factors to consider when pursuing a claim. Although you can hold property owners liable for injuries, the way you file your claim may differ depending on whether the property is public or private. Choosing to pursue legal action against an occupier can be daunting, but you do not have to navigate with your claim alone. Our Canadian personal injury lawyers can help determine whether you are entitled to compensation if you have been involved in a slip and fall accident. Contact our team today.

Disclaimer: For specific legal advice on your cross-border personal injury matter, please consult with a personal injury lawyer. The content in this article is not intended to act as legal advice and is instead intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic.