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For What Hazards Can Homeowners Be Held Responsible?

A home can serve as a shelter from the weather. Still, the weather affects the objects in the yard that surrounds the home. If one of those objects poses a danger to visitors, can the homeowner be held liable for any injuries?

Responsibility placed on homeowners:

Each of them must take whatever reasonable steps were necessary, in order to keep a property safe. That means removing any hazard to expected visitors. The term reasonable refers to both the nature of the step taken and the time when it has been taken.

Homeowners cannot know about the appearance of every hazard that has been created by an act of nature.

If a visitor were injured, the strength of a personal injury claim would hinge on the homeowner’s awareness of the hazard that caused the visitor’s injury. Injury Lawyer in Waterloo will want to know if the homeowner had a reasonable amount of time in which to remove or correct that particular hazard.

For instance, suppose that frost freezes on a sidewalk during the night. In the early morning hours, someone that is delivering papers slips on the sidewalk, in front of a given home. Is that homeowner responsible for any injuries? It would not seem reasonable to expect a homeowner to know about a condition that had developed overnight.

How would an injury to a visitor be covered?

It should be covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. Of course, the insurance company would want to know if the visitor had tried to avoid the dangerous hazard. That would certainly be the case, if the same visitor had witnessed the natural event that had caused such a hazard.

For instance, it might have rained shortly before the visitor’s arrival at the homeowner’s residence. The visitor should have realized that any leaves on the sidewalk would be slippery. That fact might weaken any personal injury case that was initiated by the same guest, especially if there had been a limited number of leaves on the path used by that particular guest.

Times when a homeowner’s responsibility disappears, even if someone gets injured on his or her property:

Homeowners have a duty to care about the safety of their invited or expected guests. That does not mean that the homeowner’s duty extends to caring about the safety of any trespasser. A trespasser must assume whatever risk might arise, once he or she has chosen to step, uninvited onto someone’s private property.

In fact, a trespasser could become responsible for damages to a homeowner’s property. For example, someone might break a window, while trying to enter a residence. If that same individual were caught, then he or she could be held liable for the damaged window, even if it had torn the trespasser’s skin.