Summertime Fun: Premises Liability Concerns for Property Owners
The Summer season welcomes outdoor activities and entertaining and unfortunately an increase in accidents like slips and falls, swimming pool mishaps and animal bites.Every property owner should be familiar with certain liabilities they are responsible for and their visitors should also be made aware to best avoid accidents and injuries. Property owners who are knowledgeable about premises liability and the rights of lawful visitors can be better prepared and avoid larger issues down the road.
As Summertime approaches you may find that you have the house where all the kids want to hang out. That’s great! A popular blogger, Scarymommy.com writes about this in the article 15 Rules For The House Where All The Kids Hang Out where the author addresses the 15 rules of the house that are applicable to the kids and families she is hosting. However, as a host the author is still not completely free from liability if one of those children were to get hurt. Even if they break one of her established rules.
In North Carolina children who are visiting your home are considered lawful visitors and the courts have established what obligation you have to those lawful little visitors. Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance of their premises for the protection of those visitors. Essentially, you must keep your property reasonably safe. So, the back deck that has nails sticking out should be tended to. The broken deck step should be repaired. The random concealed hole in your yard should be filled in. The dead tree with a hanging limb should be tended to and the swing set that lifts with each swing should be grounded. These are all reasonable repairs that if not tended to could create a situation where a child is injured, and you are held liable.
Now, regarding Scarymommy.com’s hands off rule about the plainly visible and easily accessed bikes she says she doesn’t want anyone to ride. The author must ensure that the bike is in good repair because depending on the age of the child, he or she may be incapable of exercising due care for their own safety and not follow the rule. Children under the age of seven by law are incapable of contributory negligence and for children between the ages of seven and fourteen it is presumed that they are incapable of contributory negligence. In other words, they can break the rule and not be penalized for it. The author can’t just say don’t ride the broken bike she must also make sure the bike is not accessible to the children that are visiting. This is like the rule of keeping guns safely locked up.
While like the author of Scarymommy.com you may love being the home that all the kids hang out at, it is important to ensure your home is safe for those little visitors. Not doing so can result in a lawsuit. Property owners should take due care to keep their visitors safe. Finally, if you plan on having a house full of kids, be sure to keep your homeowner’s insurance up to date in the event an accident or injury occurs.
Mullen Law, P.A. handles all types of negligence cases included injuries sustained while a lawful visitor of another. If you or a loved one experience an injury while at a commercial establishment or a private residence you may be entitled to recover damages for your injuries. We recommend consulting with an experienced North Carolina personal injury attorney to review your case.
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