What to do if a customer gets injured on your property
Under Manitoba’s liability act, if someone gets injured because of the negligent actions or failure of an occupier or employee, that individual may have grounds to sue for damages, including pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost wages. The question is, what should the property owner do to avoid liability?
- You do not owe a duty of care to criminal trespassers.
- You have two years to file a claim after a slip and fall accident in Manitoba.
- The maximum amount you may sue for in small claims court is $15,000.
- The burden of proof is on the claimant.
- Never admit fault at the scene of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Property owners and occupiers are legally obligated to ensure that visitors are reasonably safe.
How do you prove liability in slip and fall accidents in Manitoba?
What property owners in Manitoba should be aware of is that under section 3(1) of the province’s liability act, you owe a duty of care to quote:
“An occupier of premises owes a duty to persons entering on the premises and to any person, whether on or off the premises, whose property is on the premises, to take such care as, in all circumstances of the case, is reasonable to see that the person or property, as the case may be, will be reasonably safe while on the premises.”
That duty applies to:
(1) All activities on the premises.
(2) The condition of the premises.
(3) The conduct of third parties on your premises.
That means you have a legal obligation to ensure that anyone entering your home, business, or other property is reasonably safe.
You do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risks
Under Canadian law, “assumption of risk” means that:
- The individual knew the risk involved.
- The claimant or victim willingly accepted the risk.
Acceptance of risk could be implied through conduct or actions or expressed through a written agreement. However, to be safe from litigation, we recommend getting all agreements in writing.
What to remember:
- In a negligence suit, the victim bears the burden of proof.
- Employees do not assume risks arising from a fellow employee’s negligence or incompetence.
- If an employee gets injured, Manitoba’s Worker’s Compensation Act applies.
- You do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risks.
- “Implied assumption” means that the victim accepted risk through actions or words.
What to do after a slip and fall accident in Manitoba
As mentioned, if someone slips and falls on your property in Manitoba, the risk for the property owner is a civil lawsuit or criminal negligence charges. Because of that, legal experts from the province recommend that you do the following immediately after a fall:
- Do not admit fault.
- Render reasonable assistance to the victim, including calling emergency services if necessary.
- Gather evidence, including pictures of the scene, the hazard, witness testimonies, and contact information.
- Check surveillance camera footage.
- Report the accident if the victim suffers serious injuries.
- Contact your insurer if you have liability coverage.
- Contact an attorney if you are unsure who was at fault or if there is a dispute.
- Regularly inspect your property and keep logs of safety checks.
Tip: install surveillance cameras to discourage or prevent slip and fall scams.
What victims should do after a slip and fall accident in Manitoba
If the accident was not a consequence of your actions, and you suffer injuries or property damage, the occupier may be liable to pay damages. Consequently, you should do the following after a fall:
- Seek medical assistance if necessary. Some injuries take time to manifest. Therefore you should seek medical assistance even if you feel okay.
- Report the accident to the occupier or property owner before you leave the scene.
- Do not admit fault at the scene of the accident.
- Keep a record of expenses you incur because of the fall.
- Contact an attorney if you intend to act.
- If capable, investigate the hazard and take pictures or a video of the events.
- Collect witness testimonies, contact information, or footage available.
- Notify the occupier.
- Serve a notice if you intend to take civil action.
How to prove liability in a slip and fall accident in Manitoba
In a negligence or personal injury claim, the claimant must prove:
- The occupier or property owner owed you a duty of care.
- There was a breach in that duty of care.
- The breach resulted in you getting an injury.
In other words, you must prove that the property or an employee failed to act “reasonably.” The questions the court may ask include:
- Was there a reasonable justification for the hazard to exist on the property?
- Was there a way to make the hazardous condition safer or less dangerous?
- Did the property owner or employees ignore the hazard?
- Was there ample lighting in the space?
The property owner may argue that the claimant was partially or fully responsible for his injuries. Why?
Manitoba’s Negligence Act section 2(2) states that, quote:
“The amount of the contribution recoverable from any person is such as may be found by the court to be just and equitable having regard to the extent of that person’s responsibility for the damage, and the court may exempt any person from liability to make a contribution, or direct that the contribution to be recovered from any person amounts to a complete indemnity.”
That means the court must apply responsibility based on your share of responsibility for the accident. Consequently, accepting blame for a slip and fall accident may result in you paying more than you should. We recommend consulting with an attorney.
Manitoba slip and fall laws: negligence suit, what to remember
- Victims of a slip and fall may sue if they can prove negligence.
- If the accident was the victim’s fault and resulted in property damage, the occupier or property owner may sue for damages.
- You do not owe a duty of care to criminals and adult trespassers.
- If the court acquits the property owner or person facing a criminal charge, the victim cannot sue.
- If the court finds both parties equally responsible for the accident, the judge will apportion damages equally.
How do you negotiate a slip and fall accident in Manitoba?
Before the case goes to court, the victim and occupier have the option to negotiate a settlement out of court. If negotiations are successful, there is no need for litigation.
To strengthen your negotiation position, you should:
- Get medical attention and have sufficient evidence to support the claim.
- Calculate your losses and out-of-pocket expenses, including property damage, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and (if the victim dies) funeral and burial expenses.
- Consult with a claim’s attorney.
How much do you get for a slip-and-fall accident in Manitoba?
Under a ruling made by the Canadian Supreme Court, the maximum you may sue for pain and suffering is $350,000. Other damages include; loss of consortium, loss of reputation, shock and mental anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment.
If you are unsure what to sue for, you should consult with an attorney.
Manitoba slip and fall laws: should I file a claim in small claims court or the court of queen’s bench? (Link to courts)
Under provincial laws, the maximum you may sue for in small claims court in Manitoba is $15,000. If you intend to sue for a higher amount, you must file a claim at the court of queens’ bench.
What to do:
- Decide if you need a lawyer.
In small claims court, you may or may not need to hire a lawyer. However, if -it is your first time filing a claim or if you are unfamiliar with court procedures, it is in your best interest to hire one.
Do you owe a duty of care to trespassers in Manitoba?
Section 3(4.1) “limited duty of care” states that an occupier owes a limited duty of care to the following persons. The statute reads, quote:
“An occupier of premises owes only the duty (a) not to create a danger with the deliberate intent of doing harm or damage to the person or the person’s property, and (b) not to act with reckless disregard to the presence of the person or the person’s property.”
Consequently, if the cause of the slip and fall accident was negligence or the actions of the occupier or employee, the victim may take civil action.
Who do you owe limited duty of care?
- Minors who enter your property without permission.
- Persons driving off-road vehicles on your property without permission,
- Minors who enter agricultural land, undeveloped land, private road, closed golf course, recreational trail, and forested areas.
What that means is -do not intentionally install hazards that may lead to death or injury upon the persons named above.
Remember section 4(2) states that, quote:
“No restriction, modification or denial of the duty referred to in subsection 3(1), whether by agreement, stipulation or notice, is valid or binding against any person unless in all the circumstances of the case it is reasonable and, without limiting the circumstances to be considered in any case, in determining the reasonableness of any restriction, modification or denial of the duty, the circumstances to be considered shall include (a) the relationship between the occupier and the person affected by the restriction, modification or denial; (b) the injury or damage suffered and the hazard causing it; (c) the scope of the purported restriction, modification or denial; and (d) the steps taken to bring the restriction, modification or denial to the attention of the persons affected thereby.”
We recommend installing a no trespassing sign on private property.
Are you liable for injuries caused by a contractor on your property?
Under provincial laws, the occupier is not liable for damages caused by a contractor on the condition that:
(1) You exercised reasonable care when selecting the contractor.
(2) “It was reasonable that the work that the independent contractor was engaged to do should have been done.”