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Plaintiffs must prove unsafe conditions cause injuries

In Kerr v Global Investments House Inc. dba Greenbrier Hotel 2014 BCSC 1544 the plaintiff sought damages as a result of a slip on a landing and a fall down two steps at the defendant’s hotel. The plaintiff claimed that the landing was excessively slippery, due to the presence of water from a hose being used in front of the hotel by a hotel employee. Although the court found that the hotel employee was using a hose, the plaintiff could not prove that the landing was wet, or that the landing was hazardous when measured against a standard of reasonableness.

Even though the plaintiff did not establish a breach of a duty of care owed to him by the defendant, the court went on to assess causation. The court weighed the plaintiff’s evidence that he slipped, against the evidence of the defendant’s expert biomechanical engineer who gave an opinion that the plaintiff tripped. The court held that the plaintiff failed to prove the cause of his fall. While causation did not need to be determined with scientific precision, the court could not speculate on it. Even if the defendant had breached its duty to the plaintiff, the plaintiff failed to prove that any breach by the defendant had caused his fall. The plaintiff’s claim was dismissed.

Case summary by: Caroline Alexander