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Lawsuits Happen At Home Too

Lawsuits Happen At Home TooThere is a particular type of lawsuit that is well known even in public circles amongst people without any expertise in law. The general category of such lawsuits is called “premises liability.” What it means in more practical terms is that someone has a professional and legal obligation to make a space safe for people, and if there is a failure in that responsibility that results in injury, then the injured people may take those property owners to court to sue for damages.

Most of the time, the most well-known examples of premises liability come from public spaces. The ongoing investigation right now to determine the cause of the tragic bridge collapse at the Florida International University, for example, is likely to be a case of premises liability on a large scale once the final cause of the collapse is known. In that particular case, it’s clear that there was no outside force that impacted the bridge under construction, it simply fell apart, seemingly on its own. That means that the resulting deaths and injuries from the public in this public area are possibly the result of the negligence at the design, manufacturing or construction phase. Once the true cause and party at fault has been determined, lawsuits are likely to occur.

But just because many of these incidents occur in public spaces, such as slipping and falling in a shopping mall, that doesn’t mean that premises liability cases are only valid for public spaces. The same responsibility falls on homeowners, and that means visitors also have the same legal right to enact a lawsuit.


Home Safety Is Legal Responsibility


Homeowners that invite visitors onto their property also have certain legal responsibilities to ensure safety. Slip and falls don’t just happen at the car repair garage, or at the grocery store. If a homeowner, for example, picked a type of tile in the backyard to accentuate the appearance of the swimming pool, but those same tiles became extremely slippery when wet, then if an elderly visitor slips on those tiles, falls, and sustains an injury, that visitor may now have a case in court for negligence. Pool safety measures apply just as much at home as at a public pool, and it can be argued that the homeowner ignored that obligation.

In the same way, if a homeowner keeps a pistol stored in a night table with no lock, and a visiting child explores without supervision, finds the gun, fires it, and injures him or herself, that homeowner may be held responsible for this. It is perfectly legal to own a gun, however, if a gun is stored such a way that anyone, including children, can easily gain access to it if they like, and it gets used illegaly in this way, the property owner must answer for it.

So remember if you are a homeowner, you still have legal requirements that extend to your visitors to ensure their safety while on your property. And if you visit someone’s home and sustain an injury as a result of negligence they’ve displayed about their own property, you may have a premises liability case.