Can I Sue a Property Owner After an Accident on Their Premises?
Accidents that occur on other people’s property can cause people to sustain serious physical injuries and substantial financial losses.
Whether these accidents occur on residential or commercial properties, oftentimes injured accident victims blame themselves for the injuries they have sustained. In the immediate aftermath of an accident on another property owner’s premises, many victims feel a sense of embarrassment and may wish to leave the scene of an accident as quickly as possible. With the rush of adrenaline that comes with the shock of sustaining an injury, many may not even realize that the environmental factors that led to their accident may have existed on the premises because of someone else’s negligence.
Nova Scotia’s Occupiers’ Liability Act outlines legal obligations for the province’s property owners and occupiers. In accordance with this act, property owners, managers, landlords, and other people who control and maintain the premises must exercise a reasonable duty of care to their visitors. This may include tenants, guests, customers, employees, passersby walking past the property’s exterior, and other people who engage with the space.
In accordance with the Occupiers’ Liability Act, property owners/occupiers are required to remove, repair, or adequately warn people about potential hazards on their premises. Failing to identify and rectify maintenance issues on their property could make them liable for accidents that occur as a result.
As such, if you have been injured on someone else’s property in an accident caused by the property owner’s negligence, with the assistance of a Nova Scotia premises liability lawyer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
By pursuing legal action against the negligent property owner/occupier whose negligence led to your injuries, a lawyer may be able to help you recover damages you incurred as a result of your accident on their premises. A premises liability lawyer may be able to compile and present various forms of evidence to prove that:
- You had a legal right to be on the property.
- A hazard existed on the property that its owner/occupier either knew about or which they should have been aware.
- The presence of a hazard on the premises led to an accident.
- Your injuries were a direct result of that accident on the premises.
If a premises liability lawyer is able to prove that a property owner/occupier’s negligence contributed to the circumstances leading to your injury-causing accident, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation.
How Accidents on Other People’s Property Can Occur
Accidents caused by a property owner/occupier’s negligence can happen in even the most mundane circumstances. Recently mopped floors at the grocery store, loose railings on office building staircases, unsecured items that might fall off shelves, and other commonplace hazards in everyday locations can cause an unsuspecting person to sustain serious injuries. Depending on the circumstances of the accident and the severity of the injury, these injuries could require hospitalization and extensive medical treatment. In other cases, these accidents could have fatal consequences.
In Nova Scotia, snow, ice, and other inclement winter weather conditions that have not been properly maintained on other people’s property are among the leading causes of injury-causing accidents. Each year, thousands of Nova Scotians are injured in a weather-related accident. If the property owner or the landscaping company responsible for winter maintenance has not adequately removed snow and ice from the premises, unsuspecting visitors could be easily injured in a slip and fall accident.
While slip and fall accidents are common methods of injury on other people’s premises, property owners/occupiers are responsible for addressing all hazards that could cause their visitors harm. These include common slip and fall hazards such as uneven surfaces, loose tiles, slippery floors, broken handrails, and others. However, there are many kinds of maintenance issues on other people’s property that could lead to different kinds of injury-causing accidents. These improperly maintained issues could include:
- Security issues leading to criminal assaults
- Poor lighting
- Collapsed or caved in ceilings
- Broken or unsafe elevators
- Broken glass
- Unsupervised amenities (such as swimming pools)
- Unsecured items on shelves
- Improperly maintained outdoor walkways
- And more
Accidents on Other People’s Property Can Cause Serious Injuries
Depending on the circumstances, accidents on other people’s property can have severe, lasting, and even permanent physical repercussions. When ice or other heavy objects fall on an accident victim’s head from a high distance, they may sustain acquired traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Depending on the severity of the TBI, the consequences may lead to permanent physical, intellectual, emotional, behavioural, and sensory damage.
Accident victims who have sustained trauma to their backs, necks, and spines on someone else’s property could acquire spinal cord injuries (SCIs). These permanent injuries prevent neurological impulses from the brain from reaching other body parts, causing total or partial paralysis. According to the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of SCIs in Canada.
In addition to the physical trauma people can withstand in an accident on someone else’s premises, if their injuries prevent them from performing the duties of their jobs, these accidents could have substantial financial repercussions. A recent survey of accidents in Nova Scotia recorded that, in a single year, $2.4 million dollars in benefits were paid to workers injured in slips and fall accidents. In one year, these accidents accounted for more than 20,000 lost days of work.
The outcome of an accident on someone else’s property may be determined, in part, on the age and medical condition of the accident victim. For example, a slip and fall accident caused by improperly cleared ice outside a store’s entrance may not result in a young person sustaining any noticeable injuries, save for minor bumps and bruises. However, if a senior citizen falls on that same patch of ice, the results can be severe.
In Canada, slip and fall accidents are by far the leading cause of injury for seniors. In fact, 81% of seniors’ injuries requiring hospitalization were the result of a fall. When a senior is seriously injured in a fall, they may lose their ability to walk independently. The injuries sustained in an accident on someone else’s property could substantially impact a seniors’ quality of life. They may lose their mobility, require complicated invasive surgeries, and endure persistent pains for the rest of their lives, all because of another property owner’s negligence.
What Damages Can I Pursue in a Lawsuit?
By pursuing legal action against the at-fault property owner/occupier whose negligence created the circumstances leading to a serious accident on their premises, an injured victim may be able to recover the costs of damages they incurred as a result. These damages may include costs they paid, or will be required to pay in the future, including:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Ongoing medical care/in-home care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Adjusted living expenses
- And possibly more
If the accident on someone else’s property resulted in catastrophic injuries, rendering the victim unable to engage in the activities they enjoyed before their accident, a Nova Scotia lawyer may be able to help these injured individuals recover non-pecuniary damages, which may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And possibly more
In a lawsuit, a lawyer may present various types of evidence to prove that the owner/occupier’s negligence contributed to their client’s injury-causing accident. This evidence could include:
- Video surveillance footage of the accident
- Photos of hazards at the accident site
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Police reports, or other incident reports
- And possibly more
Contact Preszler Injury Lawyers if You Were Injured on Someone Else’s Property
If you were injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover financial compensation for damages you incurred. To discuss the circumstances of your slip and fall accident and learn if you are eligible to pursue damages, contact us today.