- What happens if someone gets injured on your property in BC?
- British Columbia occupiers' liability act explained: What happens if someone gets injured on your property?
- That duty of care applies to:
What happens if someone gets injured on your property in BC?
If the cause of the accident was negligence or the actions of the property owner or an employee. A slip and fall victim in British Columbia may take civil action and recover a maximum of $317,000 for pain and suffering. Other damages include hospital bills, loss of earning capacity, etc. However, property owners do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risk and criminals.
Quick take: What happens if someone slips and falls on your property?
- The limitation period for a slip and fall accident in British Columbia is two years, starting from the date of injury.
- You have 60 days to submit a written report if you get injured on public property.
- You owe child trespassers a duty of care in British Columbia.
- British Columbia’s Parental Liability Act holds the parents liable for any intentional damage caused by a child.
- The victim and property owner may negotiate a settlement out of court.
- Install surveillance equipment to discourage or prevent slip and fall scams.
- You do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risks.
- You may not be liable for injuries caused by a contractor on your property.
- Do not admit fault after a slip and fall accident in British Columbia.
British Columbia occupiers’ liability act explained: What happens if someone gets injured on your property?
Do you owe the person a duty of care?
What property owners in British Columbia must remember is under the province’s Occupier’s Liability Act section 3 (1) “duty of care,” quote:
“An occupier of premises owes a duty to take that care that in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that a person, and the person’s property, on the premises, and property on the premises of a person, whether or not that person personally enters on the premises, will be reasonably safe in using the premises.”
That duty of care applies to:
- The conduct of employees and third parties on your property.
- Activities on the property.
- The condition of the property.
Note that “occupier” does not necessarily mean the property owner. Consequently, if you are renting and someone slips and falls on your rented or leased property, you could be liable to pay damages.
You do not owe a duty of care to persons who willingly assume risks in British Columbia
If you identify a hazard on your property, inform anyone who enters is in your best interest. If you have employees, legal experts recommend that you include hazards associated with working in the place on the contract. Why?
Section 3 (3) reads quote:
“An occupier has no duty of care to a person in respect of risks willingly assumed by that person other than a duty, not to (a)create a danger with intent to do harm to the person or damage to the person’s property, or (b)act with reckless disregard to the safety of the person or the integrity of the person’s property.”
TIP: British Columbia Occupier Liability Act does not apply to employer and employee-related claims.
The act also assumes that a person who enters another’s property intending to commit a criminal act has willingly assumed risk. That means you do not owe a duty of care to criminals and adult trespassers (keep reading).
It is also worth noting that you assume risk whenever you enter any of the following locations:
- Forested or wilderness premises.
- Vacant or undeveloped premises.
- Land -used for agricultural purposes.
- Recreational trails.
- Utility rights of way.
What happens if an independent contractor causes injury on your property?
Section 5, “independent contractors, reads in part:
“If damage is caused by the negligence of an independent contractor engaged by the occupier, the occupier is not on that account liable under this Act if, in all the circumstances, (a)the occupier exercised reasonable care in the selection and supervision of the independent contractor, and (b)it was reasonable that the work that the independent contractor was engaged to do should have been undertaken.”
What to do after a slip and fall accident in British Columbia
If you slip and fall through no fault of your own, or if a hazard or someone causes you to fall, resulting in injury or property damage. You may have grounds to file a lawsuit. Under provincial laws, you may sue for damages including:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost earnings/future earnings
- Household expenses
- Cost of future medical care.
You should also remember that some injuries may take time to manifest. Consequently, legal experts recommend that you do the following immediately after a slip and fall accident.
- Report the slip and fall to the property owner or occupier.
- If capable, collect evidence, including pictures of the hazard, your injuries, and anything else that may help you prove your claim.
- If you intend to take civil action, file a police report.
- Notify your insurer if you have coverage.
- Call emergency services if necessary and consult with a physician before commenting about your health.
For employers, you should know that British Columbia’s Worker’s Compensation Act section 150 (1) requires you to report any injury that occurs at the workplace within 3 days.
If the victim is not an employee, legal experts recommend that you do the following immediately after a slip and fall on your property.
- Render reasonable assistance. If the victim requests it or it is apparent that immediate medical care is necessary, you may transport the individual to a hospital.
- Do not admit fault. The victim may use your words against you as evidence.
- Take pictures or film the event.
- Contact your insurer if you have a cover.
To protect yourself and your business, you should:
- Install surveillance equipment
- Inspect your property regularly and document hazards.
- Inform visitors of any slip and fall hazards that may exist.
- Put up “slippery floor” signs when cleaning.
Potential slip and fall hazards in British Columbia include:
- Snowy walkways
- Loose or missing handrails
- Cluttered walkways
- Slippery floors
- Lose objects or wires on the ground
How is fault determined after a slip and fall accident in British Columbia?
Provincial laws require property owners to ensure that their premises are safe for visitors and employees. Consequently, negligent actions or failure to keep the space hazard-free may result in civil action.
You may be liable to pay if:
- You knew or should have known there was a slip and fall hazard on your property.
- The accident was the consequence of employees or your action.
Remember, under provincial negligence laws, the claimant must prove that the occupier/property owner owed them:
(1) A duty of care.
(2) There was a breach of duty.
(3) The breach resulted in injury.
What if you do not own the property or if you share space?
British Columbia’s Negligence Act section 1 “apportionment of liability for damages” states that, quote:
“If by the fault of 2 or more persons damage or loss is caused to one or more of them, the liability to make good the damage or loss is in proportion to the degree to which each person was at fault. (2) Despite subsection (1), if, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault, the liability must be apportioned equally.”
Do you owe a duty of care to trespassers in British Columbia?
No. Trespassing is a criminal activity under provincial and federal laws. Consequently, you do not owe trespassers a duty of care in British Columbia. Additionally, if a trespasser causes damage to your property, you may take civil action or get an enforceable injunction from the court to prevent future incursions.
However, if the trespasser is a minor, you owe the child a duty of care.
To avoid litigation in cases involving minor trespassers, legal experts recommend that:
- Fence your property.
- Put up a no-trespassing sign.
How much is a slip and fall claim worth in British Columbia?
When estimating your claim, the court considers factors including:
- The severity of injuries and the cost of medical care.
- The impact on your ability to earn.
- Property owner’s negligence, actions, or inactions.
- Other facts presented.
Remember, all; cases have a unique set of circumstances leading up to the accident. So, we recommend consulting with a claim’s attorney immediately.
Also, you have two years starting from the date of injury to file a personal injury claim. Failure to file a claim within the set time invalidates your claim.
British Columbia slip and fall laws: what to remember
- Your insurer may deny you compensation if you do not seek medical attention or if you do not report the accident.
- You will need evidence to prove your claim whether you chose to litigate or file a claim with your insurer.
- Some injuries take time to manifest, so seek medical attention within 24 hours after a slip and fall accident.
- The occupier and victim should collect witness testimonies and contact information.
Can you sue after a slip and fall accident in British Columbia?
Yes. As mentioned, If you did not cause the fall, you may have grounds to sue. You also have the option to send a demand letter or to negotiate a settlement out of court.
If the parties agree, the case will not go to trial.