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Should I be concerned about slip and fall accidents?

Yes – all businesses and homeowners should consider what would happen if someone slipped and fell on their property. As a property owner or tenant, you have a legal obligation to maintain your premises and ensure anyone on your property is safe. If not, you could be found liable for any injuries.

Your best protection is to avoid accidents in the first place. Make sure you inspect, repair, and document the state of your premises on a regular basis.

Inspect your property regularly and repair uneven surfaces such as cracks as soon as possible to eliminate tripping hazards. Check your steps and handrails for damage and mark any potential hazards clearly to warn people entering your property while under repair. Place warning signs to mark any slippery areas inside and outside your building or home and remove any spills as soon as possible.

Remove snow on your property and sidewalks or consider hiring a professional snow removal company to comply with bylaws and maintain safe access to your home or business.  Make sure you have enough salt and gravel to keep icy pathways and parking lots safe during the winter season. Most insurance companies require business owners to have a professional snow removal contract in place and to document snow and ice removal.

Any debris or items left on the ground, inside or outside your property, can easily cause slip and fall accidents. Make sure walkways and floors are always clear and ensure your property has adequate lighting. Consider non-slip flooring and advise visitors to wear appropriate footwear.

Every business should establish and follow an inspection and maintenance policy. The Insurance Bureau of Canada provides additional  information on how to prevent and handle slip and fall accidents including a sample Inspection Form,  a sample Maintenance Policy and a sample Slip and Fall Incident Report Form.

For slip and fall accidents, a small repair or brief inspection can save you a lot of time and money down the road. Here’s how a slip and fall could affect your home or business insurance:

For homeowners
• You could be legally responsible for causing the injury due to poor maintenance or negligence.
• Liability coverage is included with most personal home insurance policies.
• Policies have a limit or maximum amount they will pay if you are sued. You can find your liability limit on the declaration page of your policy. Typically, the limit is $1,000,000.
• Canadian courts have recently seen higher claim amounts. You may find that increasing your limit to $2,000,000 is an affordable way to make sure you are covered.

Is your coverage limit appropriate? Call your BrokerLink broker and we will find the right amount of coverage for your needs.

For business owners
You may be at risk of being sued if someone trips, slips or falls when:

• There is an unsafe condition on your premises.
• You could have foreseen the accident due to a hazardous condition.
• You fail to post warning signs advising of any known hazards.
• The accident could have been avoided if you had taken precautions.
• You fail to have written inspection and maintenance procedures in place.

Contact your BrokerLink broker and we will make sure your business has the appropriate amount of coverage.

The best protection is to prevent slips and falls in the first place. Keep your property properly maintained and repair any damaged areas as quickly as possible.