Posted on: 1 February 2018
When your friends and family members visit your home on Superbowl Sunday, your goal is to have fun watching the game, eating copious amounts of snacks, and arguing about whose team is better. The last thing you want is to have your financial endzone spiked by a personal injury lawsuit because one of your guests was injured in your home. Here are three things you can do to keep your guests safe and avoid being on the receiving end of this legal foul ball.
Warn About Problematic Areas
One of the most common things that get homeowners in legal trouble is areas of disrepair on their properties. If a person injures themselves because something is broken, damaged, or under construction on your home, you can be held liable under premises liability laws. For instance, if one of the rotted wood steps leading to your front door finally breaks when someone steps on it causing that person to twist their ankle, you could be held responsible for paying their medical bills and other damages.
This is because under premise liability laws, you are responsible for ensuring your home is reasonably safe for guests. If you know there is a problem but don't fix it or warn guests about the issue, you are asking for trouble. Thus, you need to warn guests of any potential dangers you know about that may not be obvious to others visiting the home.
Going back to the stair example, you can verbally warn people about the problem with the steps or place a sign on them advising them about the issue. Providing an alternative way into the home for those that don't want to take the chance of being injured is also a good move. By far, though, the best thing you can do is resolve any issues before your guests arrive so you don't have to worry about it.
Put the Pet Away
Another common cause of personal injury claims are pet bites and scratches. Your animal friend may be the best pal in the world and sweet to everyone, but if he or she bites or scratches someone, you could be successfully sued for compensation for the injury and associated costs.
This is particularly true when it comes to dogs, since almost all states have dog bite laws that make it easy for victims to pursue damages. For example, California has a strict liability law that makes owners automatically liable for damages if their dogs bite someone while on public property or the victims were lawfully on private property. Thus, if you live in that state and your dog bites someone at the Superbowl party, you would be responsible for paying the person's damages. The only defense to this rule is if the person antagonized the dog or provoked the attack in some way.
Even if your pet loves everyone, it's better to be safe than sorry and put him or her in a place away from all the people. This will also prevent your pet from getting underfoot and possibly injured during the party, so it's really the best option all around.
Store and Serve Food Properly
Nobody ever thinks food poisoning will happen to them until it does. With over 250 foodborne illnesses out there in the world, a food-related illness could be even more likely than you think. While many cases of food poisoning are mild and only results in nausea, diarrhea, and other manageable symptoms, sometimes the illness is severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. This is when an affected guest may think about suing.
To avoid the embarrassment and expense of someone (or multiple people) getting sick from food you serve at your Superbowl party, be sure to implement safe food handling practices. Hot food should be cooked to the proper temperature (typically 160 degrees but may be higher or lower depending on the food), store cold food should be stored in the fridge until it's time to serve it, and always wash your hands before and after handling food items, particularly meats.
If you do find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit, contact a personal injury lawyer for help with managing your case.Share