Have you ever walked by a person’s house and marvelled at how well it’s maintained? In real estate, it’s called pride of ownership. A homeowner may not have an extravagant property or expensive finishings, but they keep it clean, do regular upkeep and maintenance, and make it a welcoming place for any visitor.
Similarly, there are times when you enter a business establishment and take a moment to appreciate just how well it’s being run. Its cleanliness, organization, and accessibility make shopping or receiving service a pleasure.
If everyone took such pride and care in their property, there would likely be far fewer personal injuries every year. Negligence on the part of homeowners, business owners (or anyone else responsible for a property) causes or contributes to countless preventable accidents. While anyone can make a mistake, if a person’s carelessness or a failure to act hurts someone, they may be liable for damages.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident on someone’s property and you believe their negligence was the cause or a contributing factor, Litco Law Edmonton Premises Liability Lawyers may be able to get you compensation for your losses. As a firm that specializes in personal injury law, our team of knowledgeable, experienced and skilled lawyers will work with you to investigate the accident. If there are grounds to sue, we will explain the necessary steps in easy-to-understand language. During this process, we will also gladly help manage your medical treatments and assessments. Finally, we will ensure we build a strong case to encourage insurers to offer a fair and just settlement and will be prepared to proceed to court if necessary.
A Duty Of Care For Keeping People Reasonably Safe
Every person has a duty to minimize their own risk of injury by taking certain reasonable precautions, including observing and avoiding hazards that could foreseeably cause harm. However, under Alberta’s Occupier’s Liability Act, people who are either “in physical possession of premises,” or who have “responsibility for, and control over, the condition of premises, the activities conducted on those premises and the persons allowed to enter those premises” must also take care to see that visitor to the premises will be reasonably safe.
According to the Act, the common duty of care applies in relation to the condition of the premises, activities on the premises, and the conduct of third parties on the premises. Some limitations apply. For example, if a person is taking part in a recreational activity and is willingly accepting the risks involved in that activity, the occupier is not obliged to discharge the duty of care. Additionally, if a person is trespassing on a property, the occupier is not liable for death or injury unless the injury was caused by occupier’s wilful or reckless conduct. Moreover, if the occupier owes but fails to provide a duty of care that causes a visitor harm, but the visitor’s own actions are also at fault, the Contributory Negligence Act applies. This Act apportions liability based on the degree of fault of the occupier and visitor depending on the circumstances involved. The Municipal Government Act states that municipalities are not liable for injuries on public property unless it has been “grossly negligent.”
What Kinds Of Accidents and Injuries Happen On Properties?
Common personal injuries in homes are falls, poisonings and burns, while slips, trips and falls are quite common in public spaces and private business establishments. If a visitor to a property suffers one of these injuries from an accident and they can demonstrate that the occupier’s negligence caused or contributed to the injury, they could make a claim for compensation.
- If there has been a freeze-thaw cycle that has left ice on the walkway or driveway to a home or business, the occupier may be found to have breached the duty of care if they didn’t salt or sand the icy spots within a reasonable amount of time.
- If runoff, i.e. snow/ice melt into the gutters and flow down a drain pipe, but the drain pipe doesn’t redirect the water properly it can pool, causing a puddle that freezes.
- If hazardous materials such as medicines, cleaning products, or poisons are not stored in a way that reduces the risk of accidental ingestion, they may be found negligent.
- If stairwells are not adequately lit and a person falls because they can’t see where they are going, an occupier may be liable for an injury.
- If a homeowner has a pool that is not properly fenced in and an accident drowning occurs as a result, they may be found to be negligent.
- If a business owner does not take steps to clean up a mess on a floor that becomes a tripping or slipping hazard, they may be liable for a person’s injury.
- If there is a crack, pothole or some other uneven surface that has not been fixed in a timely manner or marked with a warning in the meantime to reduce the risk to visitors, an occupier may be held liable for a person’s injury.
If an occupier is hosting visitors who become intoxicated and does not take steps to protect them from harming themselves, the occupier may be liable for injuries.
Common hazards that prompt liability claims under the Occupier’s Liability Act include:
- uneven surfaces or sudden changes in elevation
- tripping hazards (loose debris on walkways or in aisles, loose rugs)
- slipping hazards (ice, spilled liquids, unmarked waxed floors)
- poor lighting that make spotting hazards difficult
- accumulated ice and snow
- poor maintenance (broken steps, missing handrails, burned out lights)
- dangerously stacked materials
How Can I Protect Myself and My Guests?
Most premises accidents are entirely preventable. You can help keep yourself safe by:
- avoiding distractions (such as cell phones, music players, or daydreaming) while walking
- paying close attention to areas with uneven ground
- avoiding poorly lit areas
- observing warning signs when they are posted
- wearing footwear with good grips
If you’re responsible for a property and its guests, you should:
- do regular safety checks of alarms systems and fire extinguishers
- fix anything needing repair in a timely manner
- post signs warning of any hazards
- secure all hazardous materials
- keep walkways free of objects or debris
- monitor outdoor areas for ice and snow build up
What Happens If I’m Injured?
After any accident you should ensure you are seen by a medical practitioner as soon as possible. First responders may perform an initial assessment, but a follow-up visit to a doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor is always advisable. This is especially true for accidents where head trauma or internal damage to the body is possible. None-visible injuries may not become apparent until days or even weeks later.
If you are able, take photos of the scene of the accident, any visible injuries, and your footwear if a slip, trip or fall occurred. If there was any other witness to the accident, ask them for their contact information. Try to record what you remember about how the accident happened. And, above all, don’t admit fault for the accident or absolve another person of liability. These actions could limit damages in a future claim.
Many people who have suffered personal injuries blame themselves for what’s happened. They believe that if they had been more cautious or had been paying more attention to what they were doing, they could have prevented an accident. However, if the accident involved a clear hazard or if a person or business failed to take reasonable care to ensure your safety while you were on their property, they may share in the fault or perhaps even be completely at fault.
How Can Litco Law Edmonton Premises Lawyers Help Me?
How can you tell if someone else can be held liable for your injuries? When you contact a Litco Law Edmonton premises liability lawyer for a free consultation, we can help determine whether you have a viable claim. After listening to your story with genuine interest and compassion, we’ll explain your options.
When you choose us as your legal representative, we will do our best to make the legal process as easy and stress-free as possible. To build your case we’ll gather additional evidence, including medical reports which detail the extent of your injuries, and expert opinions if necessary. Once we have assembled a strong case, we’ll approach the defendant’s insurer to present our findings and attempt to negotiate a settlement that puts money in your pocket as soon as possible. If the insurer’s offer isn’t fair and we believe you will do better in court, we’ll have no hesitation in proceeding to trial if you choose to pursue your claim further.
A Reputation You Can Count On
For more than 40 years our Litco Law has helped the people of this province get the benefits and compensation they deserve for their personal injuries. As one of Alberta’s trusted personal injury firms, we’ve established a strong reputation for results and as a leader in the field. Named one of Canada’s Top Ten Boutique Personal Injury Firms by Canadian Lawyer Magazine, our lawyers have been recognized by their peers for their experience, knowledge and skill. But the reputation that matters most to us is the one we’ve built among the people we’ve helped.
Suffering a serious personal injury – particularly one that affects your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones or one that causes permanent disability – can turn your world upside down. Feeling a loss of control and fearing an uncertain future can be overwhelming and it can leave an accident victim unsure of where to turn and who to trust.
We can see the confusion, sadness, anger and terror in the eyes of many first-time clients – especially those who have never had to deal with lawyers before. After sitting down with us and seeing that we care about them as people and not simply cases or numbers, their concerns melt away. Litco Law tries to establish a strong connection with our clients that makes them feel as though they are part of our family and that their complete well-being is important to us.
When we ask past clients what it was like working with us, they mention many things, including: our professionalism, our negotiating skills, our knowledge of the law, our efforts to make the process understandable and easy, and our attention to detail. But, above all, they tell us that they appreciated that we cared about them, their loved ones, and their lives both during the civil action and after its resolution.
As one of our clients told us, she liked that we did not just focus on financial matters, but also on helping the family heal. Life may never be the same after a serious personal injury, but by giving you and your loved ones what you need to heal, rebuild and move on, the next chapter of your life can start out well.
Looking For a Premises Liability Lawyer in Edmonton? Contact Us.
We service the Edmonton and surrounding area, including the Parkland, Leduc, Strathcona, Sturgeon Counties. When you need a Premises Liability Lawyer in Edmonton, think Litco Law Personal Injury Lawyers.