Judge or jury for lawsuit?

Which way would you go in a lawsuit - judge or jury?

Canadian Underwriter has written an article about occupier's liability in reference to a case that came to light in September 2010.

Occupier's liability is insurance coverage for if a person on your premises suffers an injury. From the viewpoint of the insurance company who is defending in a slip and fall lawsuit as the defendant the choice should be for a jury.

Juries are more sympathetic towards a business doing what is reasonable and will be less likely to expect perfection. So a jury will be more likely to say that there was reasonable care and therefore the insurance company will not have to pay out on behalf of the company being sued.

A judge tends to look at specifics and will be more demanding on the side of the defendant. So the person who has been hurt in the slip in fall and is suing the company is often likely to receive a higher award from a judge then a jury.

The case that brought this to light is when a 69-year-old grandmother slipped at a Costco store on a piece of lettuce that had detached from the bunch. She received $30,000 for pain and suffering, $8,000 in special damages and $10,000 in future care costs.

The Ontario Superior Court Justice John F. McGarry found that Costco had not met a reasonable standard of care.

Though Costco did have detailed training, policies and procedures in place to monitor the security in the store there were some discrepancies. These discrepancies came under whether or not Costco was properly using its daily maintenance checklists to ensure the premises were reasonably safe for its customers.

In this particular case, the employee who completed the incident report about the plaintiff's fall stated he had cleaned up the floor at the time of the incident. Yet the floor walk checklist indicated that no walk had taken place at that time. This gap in information created the discrepancy.

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