Injured On Another’s Property – Am I Entitled To Compensation For My Injuries?
Every year in my personal injury practice, I meet with individuals who have had the unfortunate luck of sustaining significant injuries while out shopping, eating dinner out, attending a party, etc. In other words, these individuals have been injured while on someone else’s property. I have seen injuries sustained in all kinds of circumstances ranging from slip and falls to more unpredictable events like products falling off shelves or being physically assaulted while out having drinks. Regardless of how injuries are sustained, the issue for me as a lawyer and my injured client, always becomes an issue of what is called occupiers liability.
In British Columbia, occupiers liability legislation requires the owner and/or the occupier of the premise (i.e the person or business who might be operating or using the premises) to take reasonable steps to ensure that visitors to the premises are safe. This legislation applies to all types of ‘occupiers’, including large businesses who operate shopping stores all the way down to private individuals who have people over to their home for an evening get together. That being said, not all individuals who are injured on a person’s premises are entitled to compensation.
A person injured in a grocery store, department store, private home, etc. can only pursue compensation for their injuries if it can be proven that the occupier did not take reasonable steps to ensure their safety. The determination of what is reasonable is based on an analysis of all the circumstances leading up the particular injuries occurring and often times can be a complicated and detailed analysis. Often times it can be very difficult to actually prove that reasonable steps were not taken by the occupier. In those cases, as serious as the injuries might be, the injured person may not receive compensation from the occupier of the premises.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property (private home, restaurant, grocery store, etc.), it is a good idea to meet with a lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the circumstances and determine whether you might be entitled to pursue compensation. Similarly, if you are an occupier of premises and someone has been injured on your premises, you should seek legal advice to discuss your options. Often times, as an occupier, you will be advised to put your insurance company on notice of the incident and they may deal with the lawsuit if one is commenced.