As time goes by, we are seeing more and different industries moving towards environmentally friendly business models, not the least of which is the automobile industry. Where once they were often dismissed as a novelty, electric vehicles (EVs) have quickly become a regular sight on the roads and in neighborhoods throughout British Columbia, with the largest concentration being on the North Shore, the Westside of Vancouver and South Surrey. With this rise in EV usage, the installation of electric vehicle charging stations has become more prevalent in public and private spaces. While this growth in the use of EVs, and the associated expansion of infrastructure to support them is a positive step towards an environmentally sustainable lifestyle, it has also brought to light potential safety concerns that have not been considered by and large. One such safety concern is the risk of tripping over electric vehicle charging cords and the injuries they can cause.
Occupiers Liability & Trip and Fall Accidents Related to Charging EVs
While there are charging stations that have been specifically designed for the charging of EVs in a commercial setting, most individuals who purchase an EV for their private use charge them at their home. These individuals must charge their EV based on where they park their EV and where the closest available electric socket is. Very few, if any, properties in British Columbia were designed with EVs in mind, and as such this has resulted in many individuals with EVs having to string power cords, often by way of extension cords, all over their property and often over municipal sidewalks if their EV is parked on a roadway.
If an individual trips and falls over an electric vehicle charging cord, the question of liability arises. Who is at fault? As with most types of legal cases, the details of each particular situation will be important, however property owners, property managers, and EV charging station operators have a duty to maintain a safe environment for all individuals under the Occupiers Liability Act. This duty includes ensuring that the charging cords are safely positioned and do not pose an unreasonable risk of harm to pedestrians.
In the context of personal injury claims arising from tripping over electric vehicle charging cords, if the injured party can demonstrate that the property owner or operator of the EV breached their duty of care by failing to reasonably prevent the hazard posed by the charging cords, they could have a successful claim for personal injury. This may involve proving that the cords were inadequately secured, placed in a hazardous location, or presented a tripping hazard due to poor maintenance.
Compensation for Injuries Caused by EV Charging Cords
In the event of a successful personal injury claim related to tripping over electric vehicle charging cords, the injured party may be entitled to various forms of compensation. This can include compensation for:
- Pain and suffering (called non-pecuniary damages)
- Past wage loss
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of housekeeping capacity
- An in-trust claim
- Cost of future care
- Special (out of pocket) damages
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury due to an unsafely placed EV charging cord, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today, as there are strict time limits that apply to your claim.