When someone is injured on your property, you may not know what to expect. When are you responsible for their injuries, and what if the person was trespassing? If someone has been injured on your property, check out these five important facts.
You Need to Ensure Your Property Is Safe
You have some responsibility to keep your property in a condition that isn't a deathtrap for visitors, but just because someone is injured, doesn't automatically mean you're responsible. You have to be found negligent. People who are negligent know about the hazard and do nothing to fix it. For example, if you spilled some water on your sidewalk and it froze, but you just left it there for days, you could be found negligent if someone slips on it. Even if you are unaware of the hazard, you can also be found responsible if the hazard is something a reasonable person would have noticed and fixed but you didn't.
The Injured Person May Be Partially Responsible
Personal injury cases aren't always cut and dry, because both parties may be to blame. If you ask the visitor not to go in your back yard and they go back there anyway and get hurt, you may both be partially responsible because you did give them a minor warning, even if you didn't do everything you could to prevent the injury. Sometimes, the court finds the injured party partially to blame just because they didn't do their best to avoid injury. It's every person's duty to take normal actions not to get hurt, such as not walking into a giant empty pool.
Visitors and Invitees Have a Better Chance of Winning a Lawsuit
A visitor is someone who stops by to visit you, such as a friend, and an invitee is someone you specifically invite over to your home. These people have the best chance for winning a personal injury claim because you owe a greater responsibility to prevent possible injury. They are the people who have the best reason for being on your property, because you allow it.
You Don't Have to Worry Much About Licensees and Trespassers
You may not be worried about your friends and family suing you because they know you, but what happens if someone you didn't invite gets injured on your property? These people include licensees and trespassers. Licensees are people who come onto your property with their own valid reasons, such as a sales person. A trespasser is someone who is on your property with no valid reason. You have some responsibility to keep a licensee safe, but not much. When it comes to trespassers, you usually have no responsibility to keep them safe because they have no reason to be on your property.
Cases With Children Are Different
Children may trespass onto your property, but cases involving children aren't handled the same way as cases with adults. Children are likely to enter your property without your permission if they spot something interesting, such as a pool. These are known as attractive nuisances, and it's your responsibility to take steps to protect children from them, such as building a fence. Even if you tell a child to stay off your property, but they sneak into your yard and hurt themselves in your unsecured pool, you could be held responsible.
It's best to be proactive about potential hazards and eliminate them as soon as possible. As long as you do everything you can to prevent injury to visitors and invitees, you should be safe, even if someone ends up injured on your property. For more information about personal injury, contact a personal injury attorney in your area today.