Don’t take the fall for someone else’s negligence. If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to make a claim for compensation. There is a reasonable expectation in Alberta that owners or occupiers have a duty to keep their premises safe. Lack of snow removal, appropriate signage, poor maintenance and other factors may create safety hazards for patrons or the public. While the most common injuries arising from unsafe property conditions are from slip and fall accidents, various other types of accidents are frequently seen as well. All too often people suffer broken bones, concussions, or other injuries as a result of improperly maintained premises without actually pursuing an injury claim. The misconception that you won’t be able to win against a large company or fear of the dramatized lawsuits seen on American television can deter people from getting the compensation and benefits they deserve. We’ll dispel these myths and answer the big questions. Who’s liable? What if the accident was partially my fault? How much would it cost to make a claim? Since 1976, Litwiniuk & Company’s Calgary Premises Liability lawyers have successfully helped thousands of personal injury victims in Calgary and throughout Alberta. We understand the legal landscape, and we understand what you are going through. To learn more about premises liability, keep reading.
Helpful tips if you’ve been injured on someone else’s property.
Your health is the number one priority. Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical attention right away. It may take hours, days, or even weeks to realize the full extent of your injuries. At the time of your accident, adrenaline is often running high and you may not be able to feel any pain for some time. Internal and soft-tissue injuries often go unnoticed at first and must be found through diagnostic tests. The results of these tests, along with your doctor’s records, will not only help you get proper medical treatment, but may also provide proof of injury and valuable evidence should you decide to make a claim. Don’t have a family doctor? Find one near you at Alberta Find A Doctor.
Timely gathering of evidence. The best evidence is usually captured at the scene of the incident. If you are able and it is safe to do so, take pictures of where the accident happened, the location, and any injuries. Remember that cellphones offer a convenient way to take photographs in real time and record important notes. Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses and report the accident to the person in charge of the property. For a business, this may be a manager or owner; for a residence it may be an owner, landlord, or property manager. Memories fade so try to write everything down as soon as you are able – thoroughly describing what happened, the exact location, time of day, and anything else that may be important. If you couldn’t collect evidence at the scene, that’s okay too. Our Calgary Premises Liability Lawyers are experts at gathering evidence after the fact, such as medical records, names of important parties such as witnesses or property owners, security camera footage, and more. The sooner you call a Personal Injury lawyer, while evidence is easier to collect, the better.
Premises, property, and public safety.
Without having to dive into the nitty gritty of premises liability law, it helps to understand whose responsibility it is to ensure premises are kept safe for use by members of the public. It is ultimately the responsibility of the owner or the person in charge of the property to take precautions by maintaining safe premises. Alberta’s Occupiers’ Liability Act states that:
“An occupier of a premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that each person entering on the premises and the property brought on the premises by that person are reasonably safe while on the premises.”
The Act goes on to define an occupier as:
- a person who is in physical possession of premises, or
- a person who has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of premises, the activities conducted on those premises and the persons allowed to enter those premises, and for the purposes of this Act, there may be more than one occupier of the same premises.
Common examples of “occupiers” who might be held liable for your injury include:
- Property owners;
- Business owners;
- Property managers;
- Construction companies or workers;
- Property service companies or workers such as landscapers or snow removal companies; and
- The Municipal, Provincial, or Federal Government.
Keep in mind that this is a very general list. Many other persons or companies can be considered “occupiers” and held liable depending on the circumstances of the case. Typical examples of premises an occupier would be responsible for include:
- Parking lots;
- Roads, buildings, and sidewalks;
- Malls, grocery stores, restaurants, and other shopping centers;
- Health care facilities, hospitals, and retirement homes;
- Offices and places of work;
- Apartments, condos, and hotels;
- Private residences;
- Schools, and more.
There are various types of personal injury cases that fall under premises liability, including:
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Accidents that result from not having cleared snow or ice
- Insufficient or inadequate maintenances of the building or premises
- Broken or faulty premises (ex. stairs)
- Fires or fire hazards
- Toxic fumes or chemicals
- Lack of proper building security resulting in assault or injury
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Public or private swimming pool accidents
- Amusement park or recreational facility accidents
- Injuries from dog bites, and more.
Under what circumstances may an owner or occupier be liable?
The Occupiers’ Liability Act outlines premises liability for a broad range of establishments, owners, and occupiers. Business owners are generally held to the highest standard of care to ensure that people and patrons are safe while on their property. If someone is injured on commercial property such as a store or restaurant, owners or occupiers who do not have a procedure in place for inspecting and fixing unsafe conditions may be found liable for any accidents and injuries that occur.
Examples of unsafe situations where occupiers may be held liable include:
- Failure to clean up a spill;
- Failure to clear snow and remove ice;
- Failure to clean up debris or objects that could cause foreseeable danger;
- Failure to adequately maintain stairways or walkways;
- Failure to inspect the premises for possible hazards;
- Failure to provide warnings or clear signage for hazards;
- Failure to warn users of possible drowning hazards; and
- Failure to provide adequate lighting, resulting in injury.
Homeowners can be held liable when injuries happen on their property as a result of an unsafe condition that should have been foreseen. The City of Calgary’s bylaws require homeowners to remove snow and ice from their sidewalk within 24 hours. However, simply failing to remove snow or ice within the 24-hour window is rarely sufficient grounds to hold the homeowner liable. There must be proof that the occupier was negligent in the maintenance of their property. For example, imagine your next-door neighbour has an eavestrough that leaks regularly causing ice to form on his sidewalk. You slip and fall on the ice which results in your injury. If it can be proven that your neighbour knew about the hazard and failed to fix it, he may be held liable for your injuries.
How can a Premises Liability Lawyer help?
Depending on the degree of your injuries, you may need hospitalization, surgery, physiotherapy, chiropractic care, crutches or other medical supplies, and prescriptions. Many of these services are not covered by Alberta Health Care (AHC) and may only be partially covered by your insurance or benefits providers, and that’s if you have coverage. As a result, you may have to pay personally for certain medical expenses. You may also be required to take time off work while you recover, which could mean further loss of income. If you were injured in a premises accident that was not your fault, you shouldn’t have to suffer financial loss or pay out-of-pocket to get treatment. A Personal Injury lawyer will be able to determine if you are eligible to make a claim for compensation. It won’t cost you a thing to get expert legal advice from our Calgary Premises Liability Lawyers. And if you do choose us, we don’t get paid until you get paid.
Wondering if you can still make a claim if you are partially at fault?
If you are partially at fault for the accident that caused you injury, you may still be able to make a claim. Generally, your amount for compensation would be reduced relative to the degree at which you are at fault. Our Calgary Premises Liability Lawyers will review all the evidence and ensure you are compensated fairly.
In Alberta, you generally have up to two years from the date of an accident to make a claim in court or your right to do so is lost forever. But it’s important not to wait as there may be other important deadlines, or other circumstances that may affect the deadline or your claim. If you have any questions about the limitation period for your claim, call or email us for a free consultation with one of our Calgary Premises Liability Lawyers today.
Connect with our Calgary Premises Liability Lawyers now for free legal advice.
An unexpected injury can leave you feeling shaken and powerless. We’re here to balance the power – to ensure you are treated fairly when the deck is stacked against you. Our Personal Injury Lawyers will take the time to ensure you get answers to all your legal questions – at no cost to you. Knowing and understanding what your options are can make all the difference. As Calgary’s boutique Personal Injury Law firm for over 40 years, we’ve successfully resolved thousands of cases, and recovered tens of millions of dollars for our injured clients. At Litwiniuk & Company, you get a caring team that’s dedicated to your success. If there’s anything we can to do make your life a little (or a lot) easier, we’ll do it. It won’t cost you a thing to get a Calgary Premises Liability Lawyer on your side, because we don’t get paid until your claim is resolved. Call or email us today to speak with a lawyer.