This is the same legal courtesy that you are extended as a visitor any time you go to someone’s home, or you go to a public space, such as a government office, or a retail space like a shopping mall. You go in with the expectation that you will have a safe experience, because the owners of the property have taken the time to ensure that nothing dangerous in the environment will put you at risk or injure you. And if something should happen to you on the property that results in an injury, if it’s clear that this happened due to the property owner being careless, that is a case of premises liability, and it means that a personal injury—and in some cases, more specifically a slip and fall lawyer—can help to navigate the complex route to a personal injury lawsuit.
But if you, and other property owners, have a legal obligation to make the environment safe, how do you go about doing this? What are some of the things that can happen that actually leave you vulnerable to a premises liability lawsuit? In other words, when might it be decided that an injury really is your fault? Here are a few of the more common causes that can prove viable in a court case.
Poor Cord/Cable Management
Slipping and falling is one of the most common causes of a premises liability case, but tripping is a pretty similar event, and it can happen because of cords and cables. Today’s homes and workplaces rely on a lot of different electronics, from computers to kitchen appliances, and these all usually draw electricity from a power outlet that needs a power cord running to the outlet itself.
In the same way, a lot of electronics and appliances may also require additional cabling, such as the cables that connect computer displays to their case or chassis. Printers, photocopy machines and other office items also frequently require many cable connections in order to ensure a properly networked office infrastructure. That can mean that there’s a lot of power cord/cable sorting required to make sure everything is connected and powered.
Make sure that if you have a lot of cords and power cables in your home or workplace, they are kept out of the way. This is especially true for “high traffic areas” where a lot of people are walking back and forth. If the nearest power outlet for the lamp in the hall requires the cord running right across the stairs leading to the next floor, this is a hazard to everyone, and visitors have every right to think about legal options if they should fall down the stairs because of your power cord layout.
Stairs are still the most efficient way to move from one floor the next; they are sturdy, durable, and require little in the way of high maintenance. However, stairs can also cause a tremendous amount of harm if someone should fall down those stairs. The structural condition of your stairs is something that you can be held responsible for if an injury should occur.
Stairs must be kept in good, workable condition for two reasons. One is that modern building codes require stairs comply to certain minimum standards of structural integrity. The second is that if stairs are uneven and crooked, this can result in people tripping and falling, in which case, the owner of the building in which the accident took place may be responsible. Whether it’s your own home, the property you’re renting to tenants, or your place of work, make sure your stairs are in good condition and can be easily accessed and navigated as intended.
Even an animal in a home or in a public space is the responsibility of the owner. If you are with your child and a dog bites your child, you would be angry with the dog owner for not keeping the animal under control. The same applies even at home. If you have a pet that may pose a risk to visitors, especially if it is due to aggressive tendencies, such as with the popular Pit Bull breed, then you have a legal obligation to ensure visitors are protected from the animal. Allowing a child to wander into a yard with an aggressive dog that results in an attack is not legally considered the fault of the animal, but the animal’s owner.
Your home or workplace is your own, but if you are bringing other people to that space, you have a legal responsibility to ensure their safety..