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icy sidewalk slip and fall

Slip & Fall Accidents on Icy Sidewalks: Who Is At-Fault?

Cooler temperatures and wet weather lead to slippery sidewalks. In some cases, falls on icy sidewalks cause minor bruises or strains that quickly heal. In other cases, a slip and fall can result in significant soft tissue injuries, fractured bones, or serious head injury/concussion. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation following a slip and fall—but first, you must identify who was at fault.

Responsibility for Clearing Icy Sidewalks

Pin-pointing legal responsibility for an icy sidewalk can be difficult. In BC, the “Occupiers Liability Act” applies. It states that an “occupier” has a duty to make premises reasonably safe for use. In this context, that means the occupier must take reasonable care to make a sidewalk safe for passage. BC law defines an occupier as the person who has physical possession of premises or who has responsibility for, and control over, the condition of the premises. Depending on the circumstances, the at-fault party in a slip and fall claim can include a property owner, a landlord, or a tenant. Consider these factors that may impact who is responsible for an icy sidewalk:

  • If you slipped and fell in front of a business, is the city, the business, or both responsible for the condition of the sidewalk? (On this point, note that there are shorter limitation periods for bringing a slip and fall injury claim against a municipality.)
  • If you slipped and fell near a condo building, was the sidewalk public property or was it part of private Strata property? If the sidewalk is Strata property, who is the property management company?
  • Did the occupier engage a contractor to maintain premises, such as a contract with a company to provide winter sidewalk maintenance?

Owing to these complications, slip and fall lawsuits are often brought against multiple defendants (for example, against the property owner and the person or company hired by the property owner to keep the sidewalk clear of ice). An experienced slip and fall lawyer can help you determine who bears responsibility for the sidewalk in question and help you gather and preserve the evidence you will need to establish your claim.

Get Legal Advice from Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyers

Slip and fall accidents happen easily, but securing compensation for injuries can be complex. Determining responsibility for keeping a sidewalk clear can be challenging. Once the responsible party or parties have been identified, the law then requires the injured plaintiff to prove a number of other elements, including fault. Local by-laws, maintenance contracts, leases, landlord-tenant agreements, and municipal policy guidelines may be relevant to issues of responsibility, and the standard of care in a slip and fall lawsuit. If you have been hurt on an icy sidewalk, don’t go it alone. Call us at (604) 689-8888 or fill out our online form to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers.

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