What is the Occupiers’ Liability Act?

The Occupiers’ Liability Act is a piece of legislation in British Columbia. It places a legal responsibility on the occupiers of a property to make the premises reasonably safe. If the occupier fails to meet this legal duty and someone is injured as a result, there will be grounds for a civil claim. This is known more commonly as a personal injury claim or a compensation claim.

Claims under the Occupiers’ Liability Act

We visit lots of different premises during our day-to-day lives. You might go to a grocery store, a gym, a swimming pool, a lawyer’s office, a restaurant, a library, a bank…and so the list goes on. On each and every occasion, the occupier of that premises must take reasonable steps to ensure your safety. The occupier could own the property, or they might lease it – it doesn’t really matter. The fact is that whoever ‘occupies’ the premises is liable for the safety of any visitors.

However, an occupier cannot be expected to eliminate every single risk. Rather, the law requires that they take ‘reasonable’ steps to make the premises safe. What is ‘reasonable’ depends entirely on the circumstances. If there’s a spillage in a grocery store and a shopper slips on it seconds later, then there is no time to address the hazard. But if the spillage isn’t cleared for hours on end, following which a shopper slips, then the grocery store will be accountable. It would have been reasonable to expect the store to address the hazard within the timeframe. A failure to do so amounts to a breach of their legislative duty.

When an occupier breaches their legislative duty, it opens the door for a personal injury claim. This allows the injured person to claim compensation for their damages. This includes their physical damages, psychological damages and financial damages. The basis of the claim is that the occupier has failed to maintain the premises to a safe condition, causing an individual to suffer harm. The individual is entitled to some sort of redress for the suffering they have wrongfully experienced, which comes in the form of financial compensation.

Can you claim under the Occupiers’ Liability Act?

Claims made under the Occupiers’ Liability Act require a specialist input. The success of the case hinges on whether or not the occupier took reasonable steps to make the premises safe. At John Mickelson Law Corporation, we will listen to the circumstances of your accident. Then, we can explain whether you have grounds to pursue a claim under the Occupiers’ Liability Act. If so, we can manage the claims process for you, working to get the compensation you deserve.

Some of the most common causes of occupiers’ liability claims include:

  • Food and drink spillages
  • Loose carpet
  • Loose wiring
  • Falling objects
  • Poor lighting
  • Broken stairs
  • Missing bannisters
  • Uneven flooring
  • Snow and ice
  • Dangerous practices

If you have suffered an accident on another person’s or organization’s premises, please contact us to discuss your next steps.

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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