The incident occurred at a car wash at an Esso service station in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The injury claimant slipped on a small patch of ice near the car wash and fell backwards hitting his head and suffering a serious dislocation of his right kneecap. There were no warning signs or cones in the area of the car wash exit to warn customers of the risk of ice.
The Court of Appeal found that the owners of the car wash had breached their duty to take reasonable care in the circumstances to ensure that the injury claimant would be reasonably safe in using the car wash. The trial judge also upheld the decision making important comments about the evidentiary burden on occupiers such as gas stations and car washes.
The Court noted that, “The presence or absence of warning signs is a relevant factor when considering liability…in “slip and fall” cases involving the reasonableness of a maintenance program, while the burden of proof rests with a plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant breached the relevant standard of care, there remains an evidentiary burden on the defendant to rebut any reasonable inferences that might be drawn from the evidence as to whether the defendant has taken reasonable care, in the circumstances, to safeguard the plaintiff who enters onto its property.”
In Ontario too, the law on Occupiers’ Liability has gradually merged from the “rigid rules and formal categories” of the common law that “spawned confusion and injustice”, into the general principles that govern the law of negligence.
Common slip and fall hazards can include, uneven surfaces, buckled carpets, slippery surfaces from liquids or objects, dangerous ice and snow conditions on property, rotten railings and poorly constructed premises and other hidden dangers. If you suffer a slip and fall injury take the following immediate steps at the site of your personal injury:
- Get immediate medical attention
- Get the names of witnesses to your slip and fall
- Take pictures on your phone camera of the site and hazard conditions
- If possible, take measurements of the area where the injury occurred such as the height differential between sidewalk slabs
- And contact an experienced personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
You need experienced legal assistance to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries. At Mackesy Smye, our Personal Injury Lawyers are skilled in this special area of personal injury and will guide you through to a successful resolution of your slip and fall claim.