There are always chances that an accident can happen when you open your house. If someone gets injured on your property, he may get angry and sue you. If you are opening your house, you may be interested in knowing how you can protect yourself in case someone sues you. Along with consulting an injury firm like Hach and Rose, the following are 9 tips on how to protect yourself in open house injury liability.
Understand Your Responsibility
As a property owner, you must understand that you can be liable if someone gets injured on your property. This can be if the person is invited or not. However, not just the property owner can be sued. The agent who shows the guest around can also get sued. To avoid this from happening, you must take reasonable care to make sure your visitors are safe. In addition, don't forget to clarify the responsibilities of the broker.
Conduct a Presale Home Inspection
Firstly, you should have a professional come over to your house to perform a presale home inspection. Maybe you want to save money and walk through the house yourself. But, you are not a professional and your eyes are not that alert in identifying the hazard. Therefore, it is best to leave the job to a professional home inspector. The inspector can tell you what to do so that can get rid of the hazard promptly.
It is also a requirement for homeowners to carry out inspection regularly on their home in order to claim insurance. The most common type of home safety hazard is trip and fall. Other types of safety hazards that can happen around the home are decor that falls off the shelf, fireplace flame, animals’ in house, wet floor and moving rugs, wall art falling down, things that are lined up along the staircase, holes/cracks on flooring, sudden elevation, and missing handrails.
Make Sure the House is Well Lit
Since you are opening your house, you must make sure all areas are bright enough for the guests to check out the place. The attic and basement are dark places so remember to switch the light on throughout the day when you are inviting people to visit you. At night, turn on all the lights in the house so that the guest can see clearly. If the house is brightly lit, the guest has no excuse to say that your place is dark and he fell down.
Allow Guests to Wear Shoes While Touring the House
Homeowners must not be reluctant in not allowing guest to wear shoes in the house. You must understand that there can be a lot of small hazard on the floor when you are opening your house for a tour. People will drop something on the floor when they come in. If the guest wears shoe, it is less likely that he will get injured on the foot when he steps over a small screw. Also, don't just allow the guests to wear socks because walking with the socks feels slippery and increase the chances of falling down.
Read the Real Estate Listing Agreement Carefully
Homeowners must be serious in reading the real estate listing agreement. A lot of time, the homeowner did not see the importance of going through the agreement and just put down his signature. If you read the agreement, you will understand all your liabilities. You can ask your agent to provide an addendum if you feel that the provision on the liability is unfair to you after going through the agreement.
Carry an Adequate Amount of Liability Insurance
You must make sure that you carry enough liability coverage in your home insurance or business insurance for a commercial property. In case someone sues you and you loses the lawsuit, you can claim the liability insurance to pay for the medical fees which can cost thousands.
Put a Notice to Warn Guests of Foreseeable Dangers
On the entrance to your house, put up a notice that lists all the precautions the guests is to take when they come into the house for a tour. In this way, the guest cannot have any excuse when he gets injured. If you put up a notice, you can write in an affidavit that you have done your responsibility and not liable to the foreseeable danger.
You can use the general affidavit form in a PDF Editor like Movavi PDF Editor compose the affidavit. The form is a prewritten general affidavit agreement and all you need to do is just input the important information. To do so, open the sample form and click on the text tool in the Edit mode. Next, you use your mouse to draw a rectangle space and type in the information in the field. Get more details at pdf.movavi.com/general-affidavit-form.html.
Supervise the Children in the Open House
Before starting the open house, have someone be there to monitor the children. Children can accidentally knock over some items when they are running around. If someone is there to supervise, he will be able to warn the children not to run around and therefore reduce the chances of an accident in the home.
Open the Exterior Door
You can open the exterior door if you are afraid that your guest will complain that the house is hot and stuffy. This prevents the guests from taking the initiative to open the windows. It is easy to fall over the window when bending down to look below. This is why all windows should be shut and not opened during an open house.