For those people who own a home or property, will always be somewhere in the back of their minds. It can be a source of anxiety, but giving it consideration can be a good idea. The best ways to do this is to prepare and inspect your property to prevent an accident.
Property owners have a duty of care to every person who accesses their property; this includes friends, family, wandering kids, and repair people. refers to a property owner’s obligation to keep people on their property safe. The only people you do not have to keep safe are most trespassers.
In order to protect yourself against a lawsuit, should someone get hurt on your property, it is best to ensure your property is free of hazards. You should also understand what areas are most commonly hazardous and ensure you have the . These preventative steps can help you to greatly reduce any problems that might occur.
Identify and secure dangerous areas.
A majority of accidents occur in three commonly dangerous areas: walkways, stairwells, and swimming pools. They are dangerous and accident-prone areas for pretty obvious reasons; people trip on walkways, people fall down stairwells, and people drown in pools. It’s pretty hard to fall, trip, or drown on a couch (though there are some possibilities).
Walkways are generally hazardous areas, mostly because they receive a lot of foot traffic. The more people use a certain area, the more likely accidents are to occur there. In order to prevent accidents on these highly trafficked areas of your home or , follow these steps:
Stairwells add a whole new level of danger to already common accidents. When someone on a flat surface, they only fall four to six feet; when someone falls on a staircase, they could fall 15, 20, 30 feet or more. Needless to say, stairwells should receive a decent amount focus from any homeowner looking to protect themselves.
Swimming pools pose a major danger to your guests, especially to curious children. Pools are considered an . Most states have laws that require pools to be surrounded by a fence, but this is not always enough. Unlike with adult trespassers, you may be liable for small children who wander onto your property and fall into your pool. If you own a pool, you are sure to already by aware of the liability concerns. Florida has more pools per home than most states. We are, after all, the Sunshine State.
Since they pose such a threat, make sure you do the following:
Likewise, lock up any pool chemicals to prevent accidental poisoning. Most chemicals used in pools are extremely toxic and can be deadly.
Ways to limit the risk of injury and liability on your property
Now that we have assessed common places that people are injured and how to improve them, let’s look at some ways to limit the risk of , in general, on your property. These steps will also reduce your chance of liability, should someone still get hurt.
Try to get in the habit of:
In general, it may be worth the investment to do the following to protect yourself and your guests:
Terms for people on your property
There are different legal terms for different people who may get injured on your property. If you were injured on somebody’s property, or someone was injured on your property, these terms may come up with your attorney or in court proceedings.
The following categories are based on why the person is on your property:
Licensees are probably the most common category of people who will be at your home. Licensees are people who you invited onto your property for social purposes. Licensees most commonly include:
Invitees are people invited onto a property for business purposes. You want to afford invitees the highest duty of care since they are usually on your property for your benefit. Before you have invitees over to your home or business, you should inspect the premises for any liabilities. Invitees include people such as:
Trespassers are perhaps the most contested and confusing types of people who you may be liable for on your property. Trespassers are obviously not invited onto your property and are there without authorization. Property owners have almost no obligation to protect trespassers. This includes:
* This debunks the myth that people robbing your house in the middle of the night could sue you if they got hurt while running with your TV. This is not the case.
Children are the only category of trespassers that a property owner can be liable for. This includes:
Liability: Owner vs Occupier
The person who lives on a property is not always the person who owns the property. This is most common in rental homes and . When this is the case, it can become a little unclear who would be responsible in the event of an injury. In these cases, the courts must determine whether the owner or the occupier is liable for injuries suffered on the property. In most cases, it comes down who had control over the hazard.
When determining this, a court takes the following concepts into account:
In these types of scenarios, common sense will usually decide—except in rare cases. If an owner does not have control over something, like the placement of the furniture, they are probably not liable.
Following this guide can greatly help to reduce your risk of liability. It can also help to improve the safety of your family, friends, and guests. It’s a win-win.
Dolman Law Group–Personal Injury Attorneys
If you have been injured while on another’s property, you may be legally entitled to recover financial compensation for your injuries. It is important that you retain a skilled and experienced attorney to help you navigate the complexities of litigation.
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you should not have to deal with the pain, recovery, and financial stress, all by yourself. Hold those who are at fault accountable for their neglect.
The legal team at Dolman Law Group has the experience necessary to help you recover every damage you are entitled to. Call us today at (727) 451-6900 for a free consultation.