However, when you invite a professional into your home to get some work done, you, as a homeowner are now taking on certain legal responsibilities. Your home is your own, and you may do it with as you please, but when a visitor arrives at your home, especially one you are contracting to get some work done, you now have an obligation. You are supposed to make sure that your home is reasonably safe for that visitor as the work gets underway.
Your Duty Of Care
Premises liability is a law that states that any owner of a property, whether it is a commercial building like a shopping mall or a residential structure like your own home, has a duty of care. This means ensuring that safe conditions are in place for a visitor, or, if unsafe conditions are present, measures or precautions are in place to keep the visitors aware or informed about the risk so that they may handle it themselves.
A simple example is if you own a dog that is very aggressive and bites anyone that is not a member of the family. If you know your dog will attack a visiting plumber or HVAC repairman, you should move the dog to a location where it can’t attack anyone. If you leave your dog unattended, and the first thing it does is attack a professional coming into your home, causing an injury, you are legally responsible for this.
However, it doesn’t even have to be something as extreme as leaving an aggressive animal unleashed. Your home itself can have hazards that you might need to inform a professional about, to show reasonable duty of care. If, as another example, you have several missing steps leading down to the basement, and you fail to mention this to the professional that must go down there, this could be trouble. If the professional goes down the steps and falls as a result of not being aware that steps are missing, this may also be your fault. It was your duty to at least warn the visitor that those steps were missing and potential fall could result.
Take Your Responsibilities Seriously
Always remember that the decision to become a homeowner is not just a financial responsibility, it is also a legal one. In the same way that public spaces owe it to visitors to have a certain amount of safety, you have the same duty of care to people who visit your home. And if you find yourself injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, this means you should think about talking to a slip and fall lawyer.