- Prince Edward Island Occupier Liability Act explained: What happens if someone gets injured on your property?
- Property owners on Prince Edward Island do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risks
What to do if a customer gets injured on your property
If the victim of a slip and fall accident on Prince Edward Island can prove occupier or owner negligence, the owner is liable to pay. The owner may also face criminal negligence charges if the victim suffers serious injury or death.
- After a slip and fall on Prince Edward Island, you have two years to file a personal injury claim.
- Property owners and occupiers owe a duty of care to visitors.
- Victims may take civil action to recover damages, including hospital bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
- The maximum penalty for criminal negligence in Canada is life in prison (if the victim dies).
- Your share of fault diminishes the amount you may recover.
- Do not admit fault at the scene of an accident.
Prince Edward Island Occupier Liability Act explained: What happens if someone gets injured on your property?
Under Prince Edward Island Occupier liability act, occupiers and property owners, quote:
“Owe a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons, are reasonably safe while on the premises.”
Consequently, if anyone on your property legally gets injured because of negligence or the action/inactions of an employee or property owner, that individual has the right to take civil action. On top of that, the occupier or owner may face criminal negligence charges. Why?
What constitutes criminal negligence in Canada?
The Canadian Criminal Code section 219 “Criminal Negligence” defines negligence as, quote:
“Everyone is criminally negligent who (a) in doing anything, or (b) in omitting to do anything that it is his duty to do, shows wanton or reckless disregard for the lives or safety of other persons.”
For example, if you are a property owner aware of a danger on your property and fail to address it. You are guilty of criminal negligence if anyone, including an employee, suffers death or injury.
Under the criminal code, criminal negligence is an indictable offense.
Criminal negligence: what you need to remember
- If negligent actions or inactions result in bodily injuries, the penalty is up to 10 years in prison.
- Criminal negligence is a hybrid offense in Canada (prosecutors may decide to charge the accused with an indictable or summary offense based on the facts presented).
Prince Edward Island owner/occupier duty of care
As mentioned, Prince Edward Island Occupier Liability Act states that you owe visitors a duty of care.
The duty applies to:
- The condition of the property (you must make sure that your space is reasonably safe).
- All activities on the property.
However, section 3 says that owner duty only applies in areas open to the public. That means if you get injured in a restricted area, the property owner is not liable for your injuries or damage.
Property owners on Prince Edward Island do not owe a duty of care to anyone who willingly assumes risks
“Willing assumption of risk” means that you were aware of the danger but proceeded anyway. For instance, you ignored a slippery or wet floor sign.
You assume risk through words, writing, or actions.
Do you owe a duty of care to criminals?
Section 5 (2) says that, quote “a criminal act shall be deemed to have willingly assumed all risks and is subject to the duty of care set out in subsection.” Consequently, you do not owe criminals a duty of care.
Do you owe a duty of care to trespassers on Prince Edward Island?
Under provincial laws, you willingly assume the risk if you enter any of the properties listed below:
- Rural land used for agriculture, forestry, or undeveloped premises.
- Closed golf courses
- Utility rights of way
- Marked private roads.
You need to remember that you owe a limited duty of care to trespassers. That means:
- Do not intentionally create hazards such as traps for trespassers.
- Do not act with reckless disregard if someone trespasses on your property.
Reckless disregard means that the defendant was aware of a danger and intentionally chose to ignore the consequences.
What to do if someone gets injured on your property on Prince Edward Island
Considering that you may face criminal negligence charges or a civil lawsuit if someone slips and falls on your property, legal experts recommend that property owners do the following immediately after an accident.
- Offer reasonable assistance to the victim. For example, if the victim requests it or it is apparent that immediate medical care is necessary, you may transport the individual to a hospital or call emergency services.
- Do not admit fault at the scene or use words that may indicate guilt. You should also advise employees/staff never to admit fault.
- Record what the victim says after the accident and save surveillance footage.
- Find witnesses and collect their information.
What to do after a slip and fall accident on Prince Edward Island
If you are the victim of a slip and fall, you should be aware that medical bills may add up, and some injuries may take time to manifest. Consequently, if the accident was not your fault, it is in your best interest to take civil action. You also have the option to settle out of court.
We, therefore, recommend that you do the following after a slip and fall accident:
- If capable, investigate the scene. Take photos of the trip hazard, warning signs, injuries, and anything else that may help you prove your claim.
- Do not admit fault at the scene. The owner may use your words as a defense.
- Report the accident to the occupier or property owner. In addition, legal experts recommend you submit a written report of the incident.
- Seek medical care and keep records of all related expenses, including out-of-pocket payments.
- Collect witness testimonies and information
- Consult with an attorney.
- Serve notice to the occupier or property owner within the set time (your attorney will advise).
- Contact your insurer if you have personal injury cover.
How is fault determined after a slip and fall accident on Prince Edward Island?
Under provincial laws, the court may hold a property owner or occupier liable if any of the following is true:
- The occupier or property owner knew or should have known of a dangerous surface.
- An occupier/property owner’s negligence, actions, or inactions -was the direct or indirect cause of the injury’s property damage.
- The owner/occupier knew or should have known there was a hazard.
To prove a negligence claim, the claimant must prove that:
- The owner or occupier owed a duty of care. Property owners are legally obligated to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe.
- There was a breach of duty. Meaning the occupier failed to keep the property safe.
- The breach was the direct or indirect cause of the injuries or property damage.
How is liability apportioned after a slip and fall accident on Prince Edward Island?
You should not admit fault at the scene of an accident in Canada because your share of responsibility for the accident diminishes the amount you may recover or be liable for. However, the defendant may argue that the claimant’s actions contributed to the accident.
If the claimant shares the bulk of the blame, the occupier may not be liable to pay. Why?
Prince Edward’s Comparative Negligence Act reads, quote:
“Whereby the fault of two or more persons damage or loss is caused to one or more of them, the liability to make good the damage or loss shall be in proportion to the degree in which each person was at fault, but if, having regard to all the circumstances of the case, it is not possible to establish different degrees of fault, the liability shall be apportioned equally.
“Where damage has been caused by the fault of two or more persons, the court shall determine the degree in which each was at fault, and where two or more persons are found at fault, they shall be jointly and severally liable for the fault to the person suffering loss or damage, but as between themselves in the absence of any contract express or implied, they shall be liable to make a contribution to and indemnify each other in the degree in which they are respectively found to have been at fault.”
It is also worth noting that the act allows both parties to present evidence during litigation.