Protect Yourself From Personal Injury Claims in Your Home
Personal Injury is of great concern; If you are like most people, you invite people into your home with some regularity. The types of people you welcome into your home typically come in one of four different categories:
- friends, family, and colleagues
- business guests you invited
- people who come to your home and are invited in
The reality is that the possibility exists that a person in any one of these categories can and up injured for one reason or another while on your premises. There are some strategies and tactics that you can employ to protect yourself from personal injury claims that potentially might arise at your residence.
Duty of Care
As a homeowner, you have what legally is known as a "duty of care." This represents a legal obligation on your part to exercise reasonable care to keep your premises in a safe condition. You have to take those steps that a reasonable homeowner in your position would take in your position or situation.
The laws regarding homeowner liability do differ somewhat from one state to another. However, in the United States, you owe a more significant duty of care to people you invite into your home than you would to a trespasser. However, even with a trespasser, if such a person is injured on a your property, the possibility can exist that you could be held responsible for those injuries. An illustrative example is a neighborhood child that wanders onto a property, falls into an unprotected pool, and drowns.
The Most Common Types of Residential Personal Injuries
There are a trio of accidents that more commonly occur on residential properties resulting in injuries. These are:
- slip and fall
- dog bites
- pool injuries
In addition to these three more common causes of injuries at a residence, incidents arising from the consumption of alcohol by guests in a home also contribute to a notable number of injuries in the United States annually.
Protecting Yourself Against Personal Injury Claims from Most Common Residential Accidents
As mentioned, as a homeowner you need to take appropriate steps to keep your home reasonably safe. The requirement is not to keep your home completely safe, only reasonably so.
When it comes to guarding against liability for slip and fall accident in your home, you need to protect against defects in the premises that might injure a person. Protection in this type of situation oftentimes is duly warning a visitor of an issue. In addition, if there is a spill on a floor in your residence, you've a duty to clean it up in a reasonable period of time.
The law regarding dog bites are pretty straightforward across the country. Absent a visitor to your home clearly taunting or aggravating an otherwise calm and loving animal, if your dog bites you are almost certainly going to be held responsible.
The best course of action to take if you own a dog is to keep you animal separated from your visitors. Of course, that is not always practical and perhaps unnecessary as a matter of routine. Nonetheless, separating your pooch for guests represents the only sure way to protect against dog bites.
When it comes to protecting against liability for a pool related accident, there are a number of tactics you must employ. First, you need to place a security fence, with a locking gate, around the pool to prevent unauthorized access.
Second, you will want to consider seriously alarming the pool area. In this way if someone enters the pool area, the alarm will sound alerting you to what has occurred. Finally, you will want to make certain that the pool appropriately is monitored when in use. This particularly means that proper attention will be paid to children using the pool.
Reference was also made to injuries associated in some manner with the consumption of alcohol in your home. If a person drinks to excess in your home and is injured, the possibility exists that such an individual could seek compensation from you depending on the facts and circumstances of the accident.
The law in different locations across the country is not universally settled when it comes to a drunk person leaving your home who causes an automobile accident that injuries someone else. Depending on where you live, and the status of the law in your state, you may end up bearing at least some responsibility for the accident and injuries.
The best way to protect against any claim for an alcohol-related injury is to cutoff a person in your home who overdoes. In addition, spring for a rideshare to keep a guest off the road if that person has drunk to excess. Paying for a rideshare is far cheaper that the potential costs that might be associated with an accident claim.
Proper Homeowner's Insurance
As part of protecting yourself from or against a personal injury claim, you need to make sure your homeowner's insurance is in order. A typical homeowner's insurance policy will contain at least some level of liability coverage in the event someone is injured at your home and you are found to be negligent in some manner.
You will want to give serious consideration to obtaining liability coverage above the policy minimum or above what is required by state law. The fact is that you can add additional coverage in this manner for a reasonable cost. Bear in mind that a person can sue you for injuries and obtain a judgment beyond what is covered by a basic homeowner's insurance policy.