Accidents happen, and injuries are all too often the result. When injuries are caused by accidents that could have been avoided, there is often a party—a person or an organization—that can be deemed responsible in the eyes of the law. This party is said to be “liable” for the damages that arise out of the accident.

A driver who fails to yield the right of way and causes an accident is liable for any injuries and/or property damage caused. A surgeon whose work falls below the standard expected of someone in their position and causes significant complications is liable for the added injury to their patient. A manufacturer who sells a dangerous product without adequate warnings can be held liable for any injuries that result from the product’s use.

This notion of liability and the negligence that creates it is the foundation for personal injury law here in Calgary and throughout most of the world. Many people, however, aren’t aware of how extensive these concepts are, or of their rights when they’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence. It’s not just when you’re driving, under a doctor’s care, or using a potentially dangerous product that you are covered by personal injury law; if you are on someone else’s property and are injured due to negligent upkeep of that property, the party responsible for the property (often, though not always, the owner) can be held liable for the losses arising out of your injuries.

This includes private businesses in many scenarios. Let’s take a look at some examples to help illustrate when businesses are liable for injuries their customers suffer.

Calgary Workers/Employees Are Not the Same as Customers

First, it should be noted that the situations and guidelines we’re about to look at apply to customers of Calgary businesses, not to workers. Most employees in Calgary are covered for workplace injuries through their employer’s mandated insurance via Alberta’s Workers’ Compensation Board, and would not need to establish liability if they are injured while on the job. There are cases where an employee would be able to seek additional compensation outside the WCB, however such cases are very rare.

Calgary Customers Have a Right to Safe Conditions

Customers are different story. When you walk into a store in Calgary, you expect to be able to walk around easily and without worry. If you slip on a freshly mopped floor that wasn’t marked and break a bone, you would likely be entitled to seek compensation from the business owner—they created a hazard by mopping the floor and not marking it, and the risk that somebody might slip and injure themselves was easily foreseeable, therefore the business should be liable.

On the other hand, if a meteorite suddenly crashed into a store and you were injured by the impact, it is far less likely that the business owner would be held liable—they didn’t create nor could they have reasonably foreseen that circumstance and prevented the injury from occurring.

Contact a Calgary Personal Injury Lawyer With Your Liability Questions

We’ll look into some other scenarios in upcoming installments of this article. In the meantime, if you or a family member has been seriously injured due to a Calgary business owner’s negligence, please contact our office today.