What Should You Do if Someone Gets Injured on Your Property?
So the unthinkable has happened: You had some guests over and forgot to fill a conspicuous hole in the yard and someone tripped, fell, and broke an ankle. In the moments immediately following the accident, everything is a little jarring and disorienting, and you’re not quite sure what to do. Firstly, take a deep breath and assess the situation. It’s important for you to understand that, while you may not have intended for an accident to happen, you might be legally liable. Here’s what you should do if someone is injured on your property.
In the aftermath
You need to do a few things in the moments right after the accident occurs. Right away, take some time to assess the severity of the injury and check on the person who was harmed. While it’s all right for you to express concern over their pain, it’s incredibly important that you don’t outright admit fault. The things you say during the moments after the accident will have strong legal weight if the injured party decides to pursue a negligence or personal injury claim against you. If a visit to the emergency room is required, go unless the accident necessitates that emergency services come to you to help move the individual.
You also need to get photos of the scene including where the injury occurred, what caused it, and whether or not it was properly marked off. Photographic evidence will be a big factor in determining how much the injured party deserves in financial compensation as well as whether or not you’re legally liable for the accident that occurred. In the event that you need to retain personal injury attorneys as a result of a lawsuit or claim, they’ll certainly thank you for being well-prepared.
Contact the right people
After the initial shock of the accident has worn off, take the time to contact the proper people to discuss next steps after the accident. If you have homeowners insurance, contact your policy carrier to inform them of what took place on your property. This step ensures that your policy coverage kicks in as quickly as possible which reduces the amount of time it takes to compensate the person who was injured. In some cases, this will be enough to handle the case, though in many instances, you need to take the proper steps to protect yourself legally.
If the injured party’s personal injury claim starts to skyrocket or it’s assessed that you’re legally liable for the injury but you believe otherwise, it’s important to contact a lawyer immediately to help you navigate through this tricky process. A qualified personal injury attorney will help conduct a thorough investigation of the scene of the accident to help determine where the fault truly lies and whether or not you are in breach of duty of care, which is your general responsibility towards ensuring guests on your premises remain reasonably safe and that unsafe areas are off limits.
Preventing an injury on your property
The best way to avoid the hassle of dealing with a personal injury claim against you is by preventing it from happening in the first place. From time to time, it’s important to take a walk around your property to assess whether or not there are any dangerous areas that need to be addressed before you have guests over. Take a look at all the walkways in and around your home. This is especially important in the winter months when ice and snow buildup become a falling hazard. For exteriors, custom steel stairs with anti-slip grooves might be a good idea to lower the possibility of a slip and fall accident.
The three most common areas of danger in a typical household include the aforementioned walkways, stairways, and swimming pools. If your stairs don’t have a railing, consider having one installed on each side to maximize stairway safety. As for pools, they need to be properly fenced off to insure a wandering child won’t fall. You should keep the pool deck free of clutter and debris that could cause a fall.
Accidents sometimes happen
At the end of the day, even if you’ve done your best to make your home a safe and welcoming place for guests, injuries occur and, sometimes, they’re unavoidable. If one occurs on your property, maintain a level head and review your insurance coverage to make sure that the injured party receives the proper treatment and don’t be afraid to contact a qualified attorney if the case feels like it’s going out of your depth. As long as you’ve tried your hardest to make your home safe, you’re ahead of the curve.