“Slip and Fall” is a term used by lawyers in reference to a number of similar accidents that generally involve some sort of mishap on an unsafe surface. The accident may, in fact, involve someone slipping and then falling down, but the person may have tripped more than slipped, and it is not necessary that the person fell to the ground. A person may have stepped in a hole and sprained his or her ankle. That person may not have fallen down, but it would likely come under the umbrella of “slip and fall” accidents.
From the last example, one can see that there is often a connection between a slip and fall and occupier’s liability. If you are in a store or at the mall, the occupier is the owner of the store or the mall, or the lessor of the commercial space. Occupier’s liability is not restricted to commercial sites. A homeowner can also be liable if a guest is injured, but most lawsuits involve commercial defendants.
Returning to slipping and falling, there is usually something irregular with the surface that makes it dangerous. Ice in a Canadian winter is not an oddity, but the occupier of a parking lot in a shopping plaza needs to address this condition. When a mall owner or merchant is encouraging people to come to the store or mall, there needs to be a program of ploughing, salting and sanding to address ice. In a grocery store, the staff needs to be attentive and responsive to spills that may make a floor slippery. These matters must be taken seriously by the occupier. Many people will not suffer serious injury from such a fall, but a few will.
Occupiers are not expected to be perfect. Ice and spills cannot always be addressed instantaneously. Also, shoppers are obliged to take reasonable precautions for their own safety. We know ice is slippery and we are expected to take more care in such a situation. If a store is mopping the floor and has placed one of those “Wet Floor” signs down, we should avoid that area if possible, or take more care if not possible. If we do not take more care in these circumstances, we will be found partly responsible for our own injury and loss.
Once again, if you have suffered an injury in a situation like those above, or in some similar situation, please do not hesitate to phone our firm in order to get some advice.