Written by Ms. Jacqueline A. Small, B.A. LL.B. – A property owner owes a duty of care to workers carrying out construction work on the business or home. Home and business owners could be responsible for injuries suffered by workers not protected from risks and hazards. This includes falling injuries and slip and fall.
Occupier liability establishes responsibility for slip and fall injuries. Property owners could be liable if :
1. Equipment is not suitable or appropriate for the nature of the work; and
2. There is no proper supervision to safeguard against unsafe activities.
Liability of a business owner to pay the costs of an injury was considered in Woo v. Creme De La Crumb Bakeshop & Catering Ltd. 2019 BCSC 1752.
The 66 year-old injured claimant suffered a traumatic brain injury when he fell from a ladder while doing construction work at the Café. As a result of his catastrophic injury, he was left in a permanent vegetative state in which he required total assistance indefinitely with all activities of daily life.
The trial judge found the Café liable to the injured claimant on 2 grounds. First, the ladder was unsuitable for the work he was doing in that it was not of appropriate height. Second, the Café failed to provide any reasonable degree of supervision. Use of the ladder was inappropriate. Supervision would have found avoided unreasonable risk of harm.
However, the injured claimant was found contributorily negligent for failing to assess the risk in using the ladder. The claimant failed to look out for his own safety.
In the circumstances, the injured claimant and the Café were found to be equally at fault and liability was apportioned between them at 50% each.
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