What to Do If Someone Is Injured on Your Property
As a property owner, you have a duty to maintain your premises and keep it safe from foreseeable hazards that could lead to injury. Unfortunately, someone might sustain an injury on your property, even if you do take steps to maintain it. What happens when someone gets hurt on your premises? What should you do next? Here’s everything you need to know.
If someone is injured on your property:
This is perhaps the most important thing to remember if someone ever sustains an injury at your home. Never say it was your fault, even if you think it was. There are also subtle ways a defense attorney might say you admitted fault. The rules of civilized society, for example, might lead us to apologize for someone’s injury, especially when it happens on our watch. Unfortunately, this could be tantamount to admitting fault. Even something as simple as, “Oh, I am so sorry!” might be incriminating. Feel free to inquire about the person’s well-being, but don’t apologize or do anything else that could come back to you as blame.
Seek Medical Attention, If Necessary
Ask the victim if he or she is okay and take a moment to assess the situation. If he or she requires medical attention, do so in a timely manner. Arrange for emergency transportation if their injuries necessitate it. As you go through this process, remember: do not apologize.
Contact Your Homeowners Insurance Agent
Next contact your homeowners insurance agent and tell them what happened. This will get them working on a claim investigation right away, which will minimize any time for a claim payout to the injured party. Each homeowners insurance policy is different, but standard ones cover you in case of property damage or bodily injury to others. Give your insurance agent as much information as possible surrounding the accident – where it happened, how it happened, what happened to the injured party, and whether the injured party was a visitor or a trespasser.
Take Steps to Prevent Further Accidents
Obviously, the best way to handle an injury is to prevent them in the first place. Check your home and property for potential injury-causing hazards and take steps to address them. We suggest the following:
- Keep your bathroom floors dry and put non-skid rugs on surfaces
- Keep your hallways and staircases free of debris and large objects
- Check the guardrails on your stairs for rickety pieces
- Keep sidewalks in good repair
- Keep your guests away from the stove or sources of heat and flame
Who Is Responsible for the Victim’s Injuries?
You, as a homeowner, have a right to make your premises reasonably safe for your guests and invitees. However, this rule does not apply to trespassers. If someone injures themselves while trespassing on your property, you may not be liable for any injuries they sustain. The notable exception to this rule goes by the name of the “attractive nuisance doctrine” – you may still be liable for any injuries a child sustains on your property, even if he or she was trespassing. The most common example of an attractive nuisance is a swimming pool, but it can apply to any property feature that a child might find attractive or irresistible to play on.
Premises liability is a complex area of law. If someone sustains an injury on your property, you might be liable for his or her damages. Remember, don’t admit fault for the accident and seek appropriate medical care for the victim. Contact your insurance agent for further assistance, and check your home to prevent further accidents in the future. A premises liability attorney can also help you explore your legal obligations following an accident on your property.
If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with one of the personal injury attorneys at Knutson + Casey, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.