The holidays are a great time for travel and shared dinners, cocktail parties and get-togethers that are typically hosted in someone’s home. As a host or hostess, preparations likely include scrubbing the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, stocking fancy drinks and appetizers and decorating for the occasion. But some guests may find that these thorough preparations don’t necessarily include checking for hazardous items that could (and do) cause injury to visitors.
In a public space, like the mall or a restaurant, you know that the business owner is responsible for keeping the sidewalks free of snow and ice and maintaining safe premises for patrons. When it comes to a person’s home, however, liability is not as easily assumed for both hosts and guests. If a host is having people over, he or she may think nothing about the crooked brick in the sidewalk that sticks up from the surface, or the dim porch light that makes it hard to see the front stairs. But these two hazards are just a few that could create legal trouble and tension if a guest gets hurt.
It may seem crazy, as an injured guest, to sue your Aunt Kathy or your neighbor Steve if you tripped and fell over that crooked brick or missed the last step on the dark porch and hurt yourself. Filing a lawsuit could create bad blood and cause hurt feelings and anger, as well as cancel future invitations. However, before you dismiss the idea altogether, you have to determine how costly it will be (financially and personally) for you to carry the burden of your injuries alone.
In many cases, people file personal injury claims against negligent parties because their doctor’s bills, hospitalization costs and other health and treatment-related expenses are piling up, and they can’t cover everything. Even personal insurance can only do so much, and when your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, filing a personal injury claim may be the only way to stay afloat.
Private homeowners can be held responsible for any negligent or unsafe conditions in their home, including icy, snowy or slippery walkways, driveways, and stairs; wet puddles on the floor; unsafe or dangerous conditions, like a loose banister or a crumbling patio; and hazardous obstacles in a common walkway, like shoes piled in an entry way. In most cases, the host will have homeowners’ insurance to handle claims against negligence or failure to create safe environments.
Discuss Your Options with Your Attorney
Understanding liability and responsibility is key to planning your next step if you have been injured at someone’s home. It is a touchy situation, especially if you are close to your host, so it’s always best to go in prepared. Sometimes filing a claim may be your best option for staying on top of your medical expenses and getting the treatment you need for your injuries. For more information on your rights and slip and fall or property liability laws, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Levine Law today.