Negligence Law: Motor Vehicle Accidents | Bailment of Property | Slip and Falls
What happens when you suffer loss because someone else was careless? Maybe you’re unsatisfied with the amount provided by ICBC after a car accident where it was the other driver’s fault. Or maybe you were inside a business and a ceiling fixture fell on your head. In these cases, you should consider securing the services of a Vancouver negligence lawyer experienced in negligence law.
Negligence law is a legal term used to describe events where someone has suffered harm due to the actions or inactions of another party. In determining negligence, the courts must first determine what standard of care, if any, a defendant owes to the victim. In other words, what responsibilities did the person sued have to ensure that injury or harm is not suffered? If that person was deemed to have a standard of care they must follow, the courts must then determine whether a breach in that standard of care played a part in causing the injury. The courts also try to determine whether the injury would likely have occurred regardless of the actions of the person being accused. Our goal at Acumen Law Corporation is to ensure that negligence is fairly attributed. We believe that people who have been injured should be justly compensated from those who caused their injury. Similarly, those who are accused of causing injury must not be unfairly blamed.
Whether you believe you have suffered harm or are being accused of causing harm due to negligence, give us a call. The first consultation is free. Some of the most common areas of negligence law we represent include:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Drivers in BC have to be licenced in order to obtain their driving privileges. Drivers must also obtain liability insurance in order to be legally on the road. As such, drivers bear a degree of responsibility to ensure they take steps to avoid situations where harm could be caused as a result of their driving. Typically, this means that if you were injured or otherwise suffered loss as a result of another driver’s negligence in BC, damages may be paid to you by the provincial driving insurer ICBC.
But often there are cases where parties may disagree with ICBC’s assessment. For example, a driver may believe they are not fully responsible for an accident that occurred. It is then up to the court to decide what other factors may have contributed. If those additional factors were significant in causing the accident, then the driver’s degree of liability may be reduced or eliminated.
For example, consider a cyclist who was struck by a driver at an intersection. The driver may be liable because there was evidence that they were not fully paying attention to the road when the accident occurred. However, the court may also find the cyclist negligent in contributing to the accident if the cyclist had headphones on and couldn’t hear the sound of an approaching car. In this case, the accident might have been prevented if just one of the parties had exercised the proper caution. In situations like this, the court may find that both parties contributed to the accident. It would then be up to the court to determine to what degree each party was at fault.
No one wants to be in a motor vehicle accident. A lawyer experienced in negligence law can assist the courts to ensure all the factors that caused an accident are taken into account, so a fair outcome is achieved.
Bailment of Property
These are cases where someone has taken possession of your property with your permission. Once this occurs, a bailment relationship has been created. You become the bailee, and the person taking possession of your property becomes the bailor. Not surprisingly, in such a circumstance a duty of care arises for the bailor who has care and custody of your property. Many of the legal principles involving bailment actually began as a response to determining liability when goods that are being transported are damaged. Of course, these days bailment cases involving negligence covers a lot more.
For example, say you took your car in for an oil change and upon picking it up, discover that the shop had dropped your vehicle from a hoist. In your lawsuit, you may then be alleging negligence on the part of the shop when they failed to ensure that your vehicle was properly secured, before lifting it six feet above the ground.
Or perhaps you paid to have goods stored at a warehouse that was supposed to be equipped with automatic sprinklers in case of fire. A fire breaks out and the sprinklers fail to activate. You may consider suing the warehouse for negligence in maintaining its fire extinguishing systems, causing you to lose your property.
At Acumen, our goal is to ensure that if you had given possession of your property to someone else for a service or other reason, that the other party is responsible for any negligence on its part should that property be returned to you damaged.
Slip and Falls
This type of negligence law applies when someone hurts themselves on another person’s property. The Occupiers Liability Act stipulates that someone with responsibility over a property, such as an owner or manager, is required to take steps to ensure anyone visiting the property is safe from harm. This standard of care doesn’t apply to those who are trespassing. In some cases, such as on public roads, governments are also exempt from this policy.
The requirement is that the person responsible for the property keep visitors “reasonably safe.” It’s not an absolute requirement, and the person responsible for the property will not automatically be found responsible for every injury suffered by a visitor.
In assessing whether there was negligence, the court typically looks for three things:
1) the nature of the undertaking
2) its inherent risks
3) the appreciation of those risks by the visitor
What this means is that while a person may be right in expecting to be reasonably safe walking from the sidewalk to the front door of someone’s home, the same expectations might not hold up if someone injures themselves while doing an inherently dangerous activity, such as participating in white-water rafting.
The courts would look at what caused the injury. For example, if someone was walking up to your front door, was there black ice on the steps that contributed to a slip and fall? Or in the river rafting example, if someone suffers a head injury, was a helmet provided to them as part of a step to ensure the safety of guests?
If you have been injured while you were a guest on another party’s property, we may be able to help.