Slip and Fall Claims Against Strata Councils

Strata councils are often responsible for clearing snow from the sidewalks adjacent to the property, and for maintaining the common areas. If a strata corporation fails to meet these duties, causing someone to suffer a slip and fall, then there could be grounds for a compensation claim.

Maintaining common areas

Under the Strata Property Act, strata corporations are obliged to maintain the common areas of the property. These areas must be kept safe and free from hazards. Regular inspections must be carried out. If a defect is identified, it must be repaired within a reasonable amount of time.

Where strata corporations fail to meet their legal obligations, it often isn’t long before someone suffers an accident – typically, a slip and fall accident. This could give rise to a successful personal injury claim. For compensation to be awarded, the court will want to be satisfied that:

  • The strata corporation was responsible for maintaining the area; and
  • The strata corporation should reasonably have known about the defect or hazard that caused the accident; and
  • The strata corporation failed to take reasonable steps to remedy the defect or hazard, whether due to inadequate inspections or a lack of timely action

For example, imagine a leaky pipe causes excess water to accumulate in the stairwell. The issue is reported to the strata corporation on numerous occasions, but the problem is not remedied. Someone then slips and falls down the stairwell, breaking their arm and ribs. In this situation, the injured party could sue the strata for negligence.

Clearing snow and ice from sidewalks

Some municipal bylaws also stipulate that strata corporations are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to the property. Certain cities set a deadline. In Vancouver, for instance, snow and ice must be cleared from sidewalks by 10am.

If someone slips on a sidewalk due to snow and ice, it is necessary to determine who the ‘occupier’ of the adjacent property is. If it is a multi-unit building or townhouse complex operated by a strata corporation, then the strata could be held accountable.

Suing a strata corporation

It is very common for stratas to dispute any allegations of wrongdoing. Often when an accident occurs, the strata will say it was not responsible for the maintenance of that particular area. However, this is not necessarily true. Stratas have been known to try to shift responsibility onto owners and tenants. This typically occurs because they have not budgeted for the upkeep of the common areas, or because they are trying to shun their obligations.

With this in mind, we always recommend getting expert legal advice, if you think a strata is to blame for your accident. You may already have made a complaint to the strata, and they may have rebuffed any accusations. They may even say that you are at fault, or that blame lies elsewhere. Yet the strata may be wrong in making these claims. It may be ignorant of its duties, or it may simply be hoping to avoid litigation.

To find out who is responsible for your accident and injuries, please contact us at John Mickelson Law Corporation. We can verify whether a strata corporation neglected their duties, in turn causing you to suffer a slip and fall accident. If so, we can help you pursue a claim for compensation.

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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