. What constitutes an “unusual danger” at law?
The term unusual law comes from the common law test for the liability of am occupier. It mainly refers to an expected danger which the occupier of the land is conversant with or ought to know about. The question of unusual danger is dependent on the circumstances of the case. The question of whether there is danger or not ought to be assessed from the license point of view. There had been previous occasions where the supreme court of Canada had to decide whether the case meant the criteria of unusual danger. In the case of Ackerman V. The Wascana Centre Authority, 1997 CanLII 10879(SK. Q.B.) if the danger could have been prevented any precautions in place by Wascana center, then the members of the public, including Ackerman, would have been safe from such an accident. It is evident that the occupiers who are the management of Wascana were conversant with the fact that there was a danger that was likely to harm the visitors, but failed to have precautionary measures, such as having signs that could warn people of potential dangers while at the center. This qualifies to constitute of an unusual danger. From the case of Nelson v. J.H. Enterprises, 2015 SKPC 64 (CanLII), determined in paragraph 28, unusual danger is a relative term which depends on the kind of premises involved and the class of persons to which an invitee belongs.
From the case of Ackerman V. The Wascana Centre Authority, 1997 CanLII 10879(SK. Q.B.), it is manifest that the Wascana center of Authority, are the occupiers who are expected to have precautionary measures to protect the visitors. The public frequenting such a busy place is entitled to have been given precautions or other equally effective measures. Clearly, from the accident, the center failed to warn about hazards, leading to an accident to the plaintiff, where there were damages. However, the clients, on the other hand, were required to also be extra cautious and be careful when using Canoes, and in the event of having fun. This is since from the case, it can be determined that she also had a role to play in ensuring her safety, which she clearly did not adhere to.
From the case of Nelson v. J.H. Enterprises, 2015 SKPC 64, The Plaintiff, Jeff Nelson, accuses, J.H. Enterprises Limited of negligence, which led to him getting an accident and damage to his truck which cost him a lump sum in the repairs. This is another case of unusual damage since the defendant ought to have measures in place to ensure that the plaintiff was able to access the warehouse with guidance, since he was new to the warehouse, as compared to the defendant. The judge hence made a ruling, which required the defendant to pay for 80 % of the damage fee, since the defendant was greatly to blame, for ignorance and failure to offer proper guidance. The plaintiff was to pay for the 20% due to the fact that he also partially contributed to the damage by failing to pay extra attention and also failing to be on the lookout when engaging curves and the thin lanes within the warehouse.
The third example is the Thompson v Harris, 1970 Can LII 618(Sk. Q.B.) case, where the plaintiff sues the defendant for damages as a result if injuries that were sustained when she tripped and fell in the defendant’s premises. However, in this case, it is apparent that it could just be a case of an accident, since the premises were rented, where the plaintiff tripped and fell injuring her self. As a result, “The plaintiff’s claim stands were dismissed with taxed costs to the defendants (Thompson v Harris, 1970 Can LII 618(Sk. Q.B.) at paragraph 36).
In my view, the case of Barb does not meet the criteria of unusual danger. As much as the Barb got injuries from the dog, it is evident that the dog had not adopted to the new environment, an issue that could not be blamed on Catherine or Barb. It is also ostensible the dog was learning to familiarize himself with the new family and was interacting with young kids, where the injuries could be defined as caused by accident. However, the Catherine is to partially blame for the accident, since she was the adult and had the made of keeping an eye on the children and ensuring that they were safe from any injuries within her house. She ought to have contacted Madison’s parents and informed them of the new dog. She also needed to have put measures in place, especially after realizing that she had a visitor who was not familiar with the new dog. Nevertheless, in conclusion, this case cannot be considered as an unusual danger.
Ackerman V. The Wascana Centre Authority, 1997 CanLII 10879 (SK. Q.B.)
Nelson v. J.H. Enterprises, 2015 SKPC 64 (CanLII)
Thompson v Harris, 1970 Can LII 618 (Sk. Q.B.)