The consequences of an older person’s trip and fall accident can be severe. The Public Health Agency of Canada considers falls to be “the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and injury deaths among people aged 65 or older.” From broken bones to head injuries and worse, the risks are undeniably high.
But who is to blame for an older person’s trip and fall? The answer can depend on numerous factors, including the location of and contributing factors to the trip and fall.
When a preventable accident injures an older person you love, frustration can take over. But at this trying time, your loved one needs an advocate. Call Klein Lawyers today at (604) 874-7171 for a FREE consultation. Our team serves clients in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.
Where Did the Fall Occur?
One of the first questions to ask is where the older person’s trip and fall accident occurred. Under British Columbia’s Occupiers’ Liability Act, occupiers (the party(ies) in possession of or responsible for the premises) have a duty to ensure their premises are reasonably safe.
Identifying the liable party often hinges on the location of the accident. For example:
- Assistive Living or Long-Term Care Home: The care home could be liable for a fall if they failed to provide a safe environment.
- Private Residence: If the fall happened at someone’s home, the homeowner might be responsible if they neglected to maintain safe conditions.
- Public Property: Government entities could be liable for not keeping public places like sidewalks or parks safe.
- Businesses: Business owners must keep their premises safe for visitors.
What Are the Common Causes of Trip & Fall Accidents?
Several factors can lead to a trip and fall accident, particularly for older individuals. For those with declining strength and stability, navigating the day-to-day can already be challenging. If a property isn’t maintained properly, the risks of a fall grow exponentially for older adults.
Some common causes of trip, slip, and fall accidents for older people include:
- Uneven or broken sidewalks
- Wet or slippery floors
- Poor lighting conditions
- Obstacles in walking paths
- Stairs without handrails
- Unsecured rugs or mats
Understanding the cause of an older person’s trip and fall accident is crucial for determining who is liable for the resulting injuries.
Understanding the Role of Negligence
To establish liability, it’s usually necessary to prove negligence. Negligence means that the responsible party failed to act with the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised under similar circumstances.
Duty of Care
In many trip and fall accidents, a duty of care exists. Property owners, for instance, owe a duty of care to their visitors regarding the condition of their property. They must maintain a safe environment to avoid liability for an older person’s trip and fall accident.
In some cases, the victim may also be partially at fault. This is known as contributory negligence. Under BC’s Negligence Act, the court can adjust the compensation based on the victim’s share of fault.
The awarding of damages follows these rules:
- Damages are assessed and given a dollar amount.
- The plaintiff and the defendant are assigned a percentage equal to their degree of fault in the accident.
- Should the defendant’s degree of fault exceed the plaintiff’s, the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages equal to the defendant’s percentage of fault.
Understand that even if an older person had some culpability in a trip and fall accident, they may still be able to receive compensation for their losses. Before accepting any responsibility, consult an experienced trip and fall lawyer. A skilled lawyer will understand the nuances of occupiers’ liability, be practiced in negotiations, and can ensure that your loved one’s rights are protected.
What to Do After an Older Person’s Trip & Fall Accident
After a fall, it is important to take immediate action. Recommended steps after a trip and fall accident are:
- Seek immediate medical attention!
- Document the scene (photos, video, description of events, etc.)
- Talk to witnesses & gather their contact information
- Contact an experienced trip & fall lawyer
Consult a Trip & Fall Lawyer Today
Any fall for an older person is scary and has the potential to be life-changing. Broken bones or a head injury could leave the victim bedridden and isolated, leading to a deterioration in both physical and mental health. Finding justice for the members of this vulnerable population is our priority.
Monetary compensation may not heal wounds, but it can help ensure your loved one gets the support they need to recover. The first step in finding fair recompense for the losses suffered is establishing who is liable for the accident.
Determining liability for an older person’s trip and fall accident is a complex process that requires a keen understanding of local laws and statutes. If you or someone you know has been injured, it is crucial to consult a trip and fall lawyer to ensure you receive the compensation you are entitled to for your losses.
At Klein Lawyers, we can guide you through the complexities of occupiers’ liability and help you build a strong case. Contact us today for a FREE consultation. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.