Mikles Family Farm

Fixing up the Farmhouse

Keeping Your Home Safe from Lawsuits

by miklesfamilyfarm on December 29, 2015

Avoiding Injuries & Personal Injury Claims on Your Property

Understand Premises Liability

Having children, pets, and guests roaming around your home means you must create a safe and happy environment. If the safety of close ones is not enough to motivate you to take in-home safety measures – beware personal injury lawsuits. Premises liability is defined as a landowner having liability for certain wrongs, or “torts”, that occur on their property. Someone may have a premises liability case if you neglect to keep your home an injury-free zone or warn others of safety issues.

According to the Richmond personal injury lawyers Tronfeld West & Durrett, you have the right to seek compensation if you have been injured from an unsafe or dangerous condition on someone’s property. Traditionally, a property owner is responsible for providing a reasonably safe environment for invitees.

How Can Someone Sue?

Vicious pets, unstable floorboards, or slippery areas can be causes for someone to sue for damages. More examples include:

  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Water leaks causing slippery areas
  • Fires
  • Toxic fumes
  • Snow and ice
  • Insecure railings
  • Loose steps

Maintaining a Safe Deck or Balcony

 

One of the most common reasons for premises liability cases is insecure balconies and decks (which means they either cave in or the railing may break). To make sure your deck is safe, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your deck is safely secured to your home’s exterior. The ledger board is where your deck attaches to your home, and it is a common cause of collapsing. Make sure that these boards are bolted or screwed to your home. Simply nailing a ledger board to your home means that it could easily fall out.
  2. Check for weak spots on the wood floor. Splinters, areas that don’t match the appearance of the rest or your deck, and soft spots are signs of weakened floorboards. These areas may be at risk for caving in, so check frequently.
  3. Check that posts are secured to the floor. On raised decks, the post supporting it must be tightly braced horizontally.
  4. Make sure that railings are secured. Each time you go outside, give the railing a good push to make sure it holds in place before leaning. It is a good idea to check these each time you have company over.
  5. Check your stairs. Aside from the railings, make sure each step is tightly secured to the supporting structure. Again, check for weak or soft spots.

If you hired a contractor to build your deck, make sure you check each of these items on your own once the project is complete. Go through this checklist after weather changes, or when you expect a high volume of people to be spending time on your deck. Even if your structure is just a few feet off the ground, finding problems quickly reduces your risk of falls and accidents that could lead to a personal injury claim.

General Home Safety Tips

It is impossible to check for every possible personal injury scenario. Overall, make sure you are up-to-date with all of your inspections. For instance, whole home electrical inspections can rule out common hazards and while checking to see that your home is in compliance with local codes. Additionally, replace older structures as they grow weak or old. If you live in an older home, don’t shy away from renovations – you can’t put a price on safety!

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