According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, falls constitute the number one cause of injuries that require hospitalization in Canada. When these falls occur on someone else’s property, they may be the result of hazardous conditions and are called dangerous premises.
Dangerous premises are a serious issue that can affect individuals and their loved ones at any time. A common dangerous premises scenario occurs when slip and fall risks are not properly managed on commercial properties such as grocery stores. Grocery store slips and falls happen when failure to maintain a property creates a hazardous environment where members of the public are at risk of injury.
Examples of Dangerous Premises
- Uncleared ice and snow
- Spills left untreated
- Items and equipment left on floors and in aisles
- Wet indoor floors resulting from wintery weather
Dangerous premises that result in slips and falls can happen any time of year. These unfortunate events are most likely to occur during the winter when ice and snow accumulate. Areas such as parking lots and walkways are particularly high risk. Winter conditions also make the indoor environment dangerous when melted snow and debris are not cleared from entryways or items intended to improve safety like floor mats are not used correctly.
Other types of dangerous premises specific to grocery stores involve general inattentiveness and negligence by ownership and management. Commonly overlooked hazards include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Missing safety and features
- Negligent security
- Unsecured stock (overhead or on the floor)
- Unprotected electrical wiring
- Shelving that is too tall
Types of Injuries Resulting from Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries requiring medical care and even hospitalization. Canada’s seniors are most likely to experience serious or long-term injury from a fall but children and otherwise healthy adults can also be harmed. The types of injuries that commonly result from slips and falls are:
- Brain injury
- Neck and head injuries
- Broken bones
- Facial injuries
You may be unable to work or complete day-to-day activities while injured. These injuries can even result in chronic pain and permanent disability.
Occupiers’ Liability Act
According to the Occupiers’ Liability Act, the owners and occupiers of a property have a duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition. If failing to meet this legal requirement results in injury to a customer or other member of the general public, the victim may make a claim against the owners and/or occupiers.
Victims of slip and fall accidents have two years from the date of their injury to file a claim.
Ideally, property owners and managers follow all provisions required by the Occupiers’ Liability Act. To maintain safe premises and adhere to the law, basic property maintenance should include:
- Shoveling and salting walkways during winter conditions.
- Keeping floors and aisles clear of hazards such as slippery liquids.
- Keeping floors level, without sudden drops or changes in height.
- Clearly marking unavoidable hazards like construction zones.
- Adhering to local building codes.
Types of Occupiers
It is important to note that grocery stores can have more than one type of occupier. An occupier could include both the owner of the building and the organization operating within it. If the physical space is rented by a grocery store, the courts will decide who is responsible for your slip and fall. In some cases, both the owner and the tenant could be responsible, depending on the hazard that led to your slip and fall.