If you have an element of your home that presents a risk and ignore it, you are vulnerable to premises liability, should an injury arise from neglecting that risk. This means that you are legally and financially accountable to the accident victim or surviving family members. Here are some of the most common types of premises liability homeowners are exposed to.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Unsurprisingly, Florida’s mild year-round weather makes backyard swimming pools popular in many Florida homes. However, swimming pools, especially for children, represent an ever-present threat of drowning. 350 children die every year from drowning in the USA, and the reason it happens is negligence. It is the responsibility of adults to supervise children at swimming pools; when they are left unsupervised, the chances of drowning increase dramatically.
However, drowning is not the only hazard swimming pools represent. Wet, slick surfaces create situations where slips and falls can occur. In addition, suction drains that take in water can suck onto skin and, depending on the circumstances, even disembowel organs from accident victims.
It is also important to have proper barriers restricting access to swimming pools as they are an “attractive nuisance.” This means that because a swimming pool presents an obvious attraction to children to trespass and use, should an injury occur even with trespassing children, the homeowner is liable if the children had easy access to the pool.
Another common sight in many Florida homes is pets, with dogs being one of the most popular choices. However, dogs come in many sizes and temperaments. While they’ve earned the reputation for being “man’s best friend,” they are also capable of inflicting damage—and even death—when they feel threatened or provoked.
Florida does not have a state-mandated leash law, but individual counties do. So Pinellas County, where St. Petersburg is, does have leash requirements for dogs. However, whether a county has a leash law or not, state law says that an owner is liable for any attack incurred by a dog.
Ignorance is not an excuse in Florida, whereas in other states if an owner is not aware of a dog’s aggressiveness, leniency is shown the first time it occurs. In Florida, first warnings are issued. An owner is liable if the attack occurs on public property or even within the home if the visitor was legally allowed on the property at the time.
Because Americans enjoy gun ownership laws built right into the constitution, many Florida residents have firearms in their homes. However, an easily accessible firearm presents a threat of accidental shooting, especially where children are involved.
There have been incidents in Florida where adults have left loaded guns inaccessible areas that visiting children have gotten hold of and subsequently accidentally fired. While gun ownership is legal in America, it also entails responsible usage and storage of these weapons. Any situation where visitors, such as children, can easily acquire a resident’s weapon and accidentally fire it is the homeowner’s legal responsibility.
If you have visited someone’s home and been injured by their negligence, you should talk to a premises liability attorney in St. Petersburg. You’ll get the guidance you need if you’re owed compensation, and the homeowner is unwilling to acknowledge their role in your injury.