Summer is here, which means it’s time to catch up with family and friends. Whether you plan on hosting a small barbecue, a game night, or a pool party, it’s important to ensure that your home is a safe place for your guests. No one wants to see a friend or family member be injured as a result of unsafe conditions in their home or backyard and, in fact, these accidents could even open you up to legal liability.
Continue reading to see our top tips for accident-proofing your home this summer and, if you need to speak to a premises liability lawyer about an accident or injury, contact Todd Miner Law today for a completely free and confidential consultation.
Check for & Fix Tripping Hazards
When your guests walk up to your home, are there any tripping hazards that could cause them to fall? What about when they enter your home, go out into the backyard, or use the bathroom? Check all areas of your property for tripping hazards, such as cracked or crumbling steps, loose bricks or stones, torn carpeting, uneven flooring, exposed cords or wires, and overly cluttered walkways. It’s also important to look for slipping hazards, such as wet or slippery floors, and make sure you address them.
Make Sure Your Property Has Adequate Lighting
Summertime is the perfect time to gather and enjoy the warm nights—but hanging out in the evenings can also pose certain risks if your home or property doesn’t have adequate lighting. Consider installing motion-sensor lights in outdoor areas, such as your backyard or the walkway leading up to your house, and make sure to replace any dim or burned out lightbulbs inside your home, as well. An easy way to ensure sufficient outdoor lighting while also creating an aesthetically pleasing space is to hang outdoor bistro lights from an arbor, trellis, or along a fence.
Clear Away Clutter
Maybe you didn’t get around to spring cleaning this year, but now is the time to address any clutter around your home. Make sure floors and walkways are free of clutter to avoid tripping hazards and clear clutter away from electrical outlets and other dangerous areas. Clutter can also gather in your yard—clear pathways that might be overgrown with bushes and other vegetation to avoid trip-and-fall accidents.
Home fires are relatively common in summer—and the consequences can be extremely serious. Make sure you follow safe fire practices when barbecuing or enjoying an outdoor fire pit. Always ensure that charcoal barbecues, gas grills, fire pits, gas stoves, and similar appliances are placed in a well-ventilated area. Only use propane- and charcoal-based appliances outside, and never attempt to light a barbecue or fire pit with gasoline. If you use lighter fluid, make sure it is completely sealed and stored a safe distance away from any open flames.
Inside, make sure that your furniture and curtains are at least one foot (12 inches) away from baseboard heaters. If you plan on using your fireplace, make sure it and your chimney are inspected by a professional. Additionally, you should have a screen in front of the fireplace to stop sparks from flying out into the room. Keep all flammable materials, such as paper towels and curtains, away from gas-burning stoves and always clean the lint trap in your dryer before and after each use.
Make Sure Your Swimming Pool Is Safe
If you have a pool, it’s incredibly important that you make sure it is safe for your guests to use. This is especially true if there are any children at or visiting your home. First and foremost, Florida law requires you to have a fence (or another barrier, such as a wall) around your swimming pool. This barrier must be at least four feet high and cannot have any gaps or openings. The gate/entryway into the pool must open outward and have a self-latching/locking device that is out of reach of children.
Always watch children who are using a swimming pool at ALL times. Never assume someone else is keeping an eye on them or turn your back; a drowning accident can happen in seconds, so it is critical that you always supervise children while they are in or around the pool. Additionally, avoid parties where people are consuming alcohol and using the pool, as this can also lead to devastating accidents. Make sure that any pool equipment (such as approved waterslides) and toys (like blow-up rafts) are inspected and safe for use. Additionally, if you have a pool, it is a good idea to know and become certified in CPR.
What to Do If YOU Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property
While it’s important that we all do everything we can to ensure the safety of our family, friends, and visitors, accidents do happen. If you were injured on someone else’s property, and you believe the home or property owner may have been negligent, you may not have to deal with the physical and financial consequences of the accident on your own. Medical bills can be expensive and, if your injuries keep you from returning to work, you could suddenly find yourself facing serious hardships.
At Todd Miner Law, we represent clients who were injured as a result of unsafe property conditions in a type of civil action known as premises liability. We encourage you to reach out to our Orlando personal injury lawyers today to learn more about how we can help you. There is no cost associated with your initial consultation and we only recover attorneys’ fees if we win your case.