A slip and fall accident may conjure the classic comedic image of someone slipping on a banana peel to the sounds of laughter, but there is nothing funny about most slip and fall accidents. To the contrary, many victims–especially the elderly–sustain serious, life-threatening injuries that require surgery and extensive rehabilitation time.
The Preszler Law Firm represents individuals in Prince George and throughout northern British Columbia who are injured through the action or inaction of property owners who fail to maintain their premises in a safe condition, thereby contributing to a slip and fall accident. BC law imposes liability under specific conditions, and it is important to work with lawyers who know the law in this area.
The British Columbia Occupiers Liability Act (OLA) provides the legal basis for most slip and fall claims in the province. The OLA imposes on any “occupier of premises” a duty to ensure that an invited person “will be reasonably safe in using the premises.” This duty extends to three areas:
The “occupier” of a premises may be more than one person or company. The OLA uses the term in reference to anyone who has “physical possession” of the property or “has responsibility for, and control over” its conditions and activities. So for instance, in the case of a store that is leased from a larger shopping centre, both the landlord and tenant may be occupiers who are liable under the OLA, depending on the particular facts and circumstances of the case. An experienced Prince George slip and fall accident lawyer can help you determine all of the potential defendants who may share responsibility for your accident.
When does the occupier of a premises in Prince George fail to fulfil its duties under the OLA? No property owner is required to guarantee the absolute security of its guests. As noted above, the OLA sets a “reasonably safe” standard. Generally speaking, this means an owner is liable for neglect in identifying and correcting basic safety hazards. Some of the more common causes of slip and fall accidents that we have observed at the Preszler Law Firm include:
Please note that it is not enough for a personal injury victim to establish the existence of a safety hazard. The occupier may rebut any evidence of its negligence by showing that it had in place a “reasonable system of inspection and maintenance” at the time of the accident. Of course, the occupier must also demonstrate that it actually followed that system. Plenty of businesses have formal procedures in place that they do not actually implement. Our lawyers can help you determine whether the occupier complied with the law or is simply making excuses for its own negligence.
To take a common situation, say you slip and fall on a wet floor in a supermarket. The store may argue that it had a system in place for addressing wet floors, but did it actually follow through on the day in question? An effective system is not just a matter of telling employees to clean up any spills they happen to notice. Managers or employees should also be regularly inspecting all publicly travelled areas to proactively identify any spills or hazards before a customer encounters them.
A slip and fall accident is often more than a minor inconvenience. Our clients have suffered consequences ranging from back and neck injuries to traumatic brain injuries (including concussions) and broken hips. This is in addition to the psychological trauma of a serious fall and the non-pecuniary damages associated with pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of one's normal life.
Some people feel too embarrassed to contact a Prince George slip and fall lawyer following an accident, but there is nothing to be ashamed about. You are the victim and you have every legal right to seek compensation for your injuries.
Having a qualified lawyer on your side should actually put your mind at ease. We can deal with the property owner and their insurance company on your behalf, leaving you to focus all of your energy on recovering from your injuries. Also keep in mind there is no upfront cost to hiring the Preszler Law Firm. We work exclusively on a contingency basis, so we do not get paid until you do. So if you have been in a slip and fall accident, call us today at 1-844-373-8202 to schedule a free initial consultation.