How Owners Can Limit Their Liability

If a person has a slip and fall inside a particular store in a mall, the mall owner would be the owner of the property but that doesn’t necessarily make them the occupier.

The occupier would be the store that occupies that particular location. Generally speaking, commercial leases require the store to take whatever reasonable measures are necessary inside their premises to ensure the safety of the people who are coming into that store. In essence, the owner contracts out of that liability by putting the responsibility onto the occupier.
When a mall owner is responsible for the sidewalks surrounding the mall and the entranceways, they will often contract out to a property maintenance company the responsibility for removing the ice and snow when necessary. The Occupiers’ Liability Act recognizes the commercial reality of that situation and the Act further recognizes that in those circumstances it will be the property maintenance company that would be responsible, not the occupier or the owner. The Act recognizes that, because they took reasonable steps to contract out the snow removal duties, the owner or occupier can essentially escape liability. The liability will fall onto the party who was contractually responsible for those services. Because of this, you will see very often a lawsuit involving the owner or the occupier of the premises but also involving the property maintenance company. It is often the property maintenance company that is the real target defendant in those situations.

If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with Personal injury law issues in the London, Ontario Region, contact Lomax Law Firm.

This article is taken from a April 24, 2009 interview with Rein Lomax, LL.B., Personal Injury Lawyer with Lomax Law Firm Professional Corporation in London, a Personal Injury Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.