The applicable law is the Occupier’s Liability Act which places a duty on an occupier of premises to take reasonable care to see that persons on the premises are reasonably safe while on the premises. Depending on the location of the accident, the occupier who was at fault maybe the owner of the shopping mall itself or the owner or lessor of an individual retail store.
Some of the most common shopping center accident hazards occur inside individual retail stores, where hanging cords, falling merchandise, blocked aisles, and liquid spills can all constitute slipping and tripping hazards, and could lead to serious injury. In concourses and shopping mall entrances, failure to vigilantly clean tracked in mud, snow, or slush can result in serious slipping hazards, particularly in winter and spring months and times of day with heavy foot traffic. Additionally, kiosks can present significant tripping hazards, particularly when requiring electrical power, as improperly battened down power cords are easily overlooked by shoppers.
The Retail Council of Canada published a Health and Safety Checklist, which offers advice for lessening risk to shoppers, including, among others:
- Having an accessible first aid kit
- Providing adequate lighting throughout the store
- Keeping aisles clear of boxes and extension cords
- Keeping floors dry and clean, posting Wet Floor signage when applicable
Shopping mall administration should follow these guidelines in non-retail areas as well, and ensure that maintenance staff is aware of weather conditions and monitors entrances and heavy flow areas frequently for slipping hazards. The details of where and how the injury occurred will determine who can be held liable, whether that be the individual business owner, both retail store and kiosk, the owner of the property on which the mall resides, or the property management.