Whether you are a homeowner, property owner, or any other person responsible for real property, you may be wondering how you can protect yourself from personal injury lawsuits and liability.
Understanding personal injury laws can be difficult, but it’s important to know that you are protected, and will be able to handle a personal injury suit, and have it dismissed or settled without serious financial losses. In this guide, here are some basic tips from a slip hazard attorney, on protecting yourself from personal injury liability.
- Make Sure You Have The Right Insurance For Your Property
First things first. You need to make sure that you are carrying proper liability insurance for your property. Depending on whether or not you own the property, and what type of property it is, this may include renters insurance, homeowners insurance, or commercial property insurance.
As a rule, most personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court, and for around $50,000, so make sure you carry at least enough insurance to protect yourself for this amount. However, it is still probably worth carrying a higher policy, especially if you are responsible for a property with multiple tenants.
You may also want a personal “umbrella policy” to safeguard your own personal assets, in case your other policy does not cover you for the full extent of damages.
- Inspect Your Property Regularly (And Make Repairs)
How can you avoid personal injury lawsuits? By keeping your property in great shape. Most personal injury lawsuits are, unfortunately, not baseless – they are usually caused by some kind of inattention or improper maintenance on the part of the property owner.
By inspecting your property regularly, you can ensure that you are not negligent, and repair any potentially dangerous issues, like a shaky or unsafe railing on a staircase.
Note that, if you inspect your property regularly, but don’t make repairs, you are putting yourself in an even worse legal situation. If you were aware of an issue but did not fix it, it is easier for the plaintiff in a personal injury suit to prove that you were negligent.
After inspections, make repairs ASAP (and put up caution signs or tape until they’re done)!
- Survey The Landscape For Risky Areas, And Put Up Caution Tape Where Necessary
Your landscaping – not just your building itself – can pose a threat to residents, and lead to personal injury lawsuits. Check your landscaping regularly for:
- Sagging or dead tree branches that could hit someone
- Standing water
- Holes dug by animals
- Poisonous plants
- Wasps and hornets
- Excessive ice buildup in winter
- Uneven pavement and sidewalks
- Cracks in walkways
If you notice any potentially dangerous areas, mark them with yellow spray paint or caution tape and post warning signs. This will help protect you from liability until the problem is dealt with.
- Focus On Stairs, Stairways, Sidewalks, And Railings
Slip and fall injuries are the most common type of personal injury. They are typically caused by an improperly-maintained stair or stairway, a poor-quality walkway, or loose railings.
Focus your effort on these areas of your property. Non-slip tape, stable and sturdy railings, and reflective tape can all help increase visibility and safety on your stairs.
- Document Everything You Do To Repair And Safeguard Your Property
While you make repairs and look for dangerous areas of your property, you should document each area, as well as how you marked it and repaired it. This is invaluable in a court of law.
For example, if the person pursuing a lawsuit against you claims that you did not mark a shaky railing, leading to a slip and fall, and you can prove that you had signage and other markings indicating the hazard, you may be able to get the case dismissed.
Follow These Steps – Don’t Be A Victim Of A Personal Injury Lawsuit
The risk of being sued is one of the biggest headaches of being a property owner. So whether you own a home, rental property, or commercial property, you can follow these steps to protect yourself against baseless lawsuits.