What Homeowners Need to Know about Injuries from Slips and Falls on their Properties
September 1, 2014
States have varying laws regarding slips and falls on properties, but homeowners are almost always responsible for these types of injuries occurring on their properties. In some cases, they are also responsible for the injuries of trespassers on their properties. With premises liability law, there is a big responsibility for homeowners to keep their properties as safe as possible. Also, it is crucial to ensure good home insurance is kept at all times to protect from any legal action.
Slip And Fall Responsibility For Homeowners
If homeowners are aware of dangerous conditions on their property, do not fix them and have had ample time to do so, then they are responsible for injuries resulting from those conditions. As a rule, a homeowner is liable if any visitor or solicitor is injured. This is why it is important to make sure all areas of the property where visitors are likely to travel are kept in safe condition. For example, collapsing steps on the side entrance of the home should be repaired even if the occupants do not normally use them and use the front entrance instead. Any guest could try the side door if they do not receive a response at the front door and subsequently be injured.
In some states, homeowners are liable for some injuries to people who are trespassing on their properties. The most common reason homeowners are liable for injuries to trespassers is if there is a trampoline, pool, hot tub or other feature on the property that attracts small children. Although most homeowners may never even think about this, these sorts of features have resulted in not only injuries but deaths of small children while homeowners are unaware or away from home. It is prudent to always keep these features behind locked gates and covered properly with child-proof locks when they are not in use.
It is also helpful to know local city laws about sidewalks. In some locales, homeowners are responsible for keeping up the sidewalks in front of their homes or next to their properties. This means all debris, ice, snow or other obstructions must be removed from the sidewalk by the homeowner. If there are cracks, holes or ruptures from tree roots, the homeowner must pay for the repairs. Also, the homeowner will be liable if there are injuries resulting from damaged sidewalks. To find out if there are local laws similar to this, discuss concerns with an agent.
Homeowners Insurance For Slip And Fall Injuries
If a person sues a homeowner because of an injury sustained on the property, a homeowners policy provider will handle it. After the accident is reported, the insurer will ask the homeowner for the following:
- Photos of the location where the injury occurred.
- The name of the person who fell and why that person was on the property.
- How the injured party fell and any relevant facts.
- Description of the area prior to the fall.
- Who was present at the time to witness the incident.
- The cause of the unsafe condition that contributed to the injury.
- When the homeowner became aware, if at all, of the condition's existence.
- What the cause of the unsafe condition was.
It is important to be completely honest with the insurance adjuster about every detail of the incident. Remember that homeowners policies are limited on the amount they will pay for these types of accidents. To be better protected for more serious injuries and incidents, think about buying additional coverage. People who have hot tubs, pools, lakes, trampolines or any other features that are potential hazards should especially consider this. To learn more, discuss concerns with an agent.