Are You Liable For Accidents On Your Property?
Posted on December 2, 2020 in Premises Liability
Most people do not think twice about having friends or family members over to their house from little get-togethers. However, have you thought about whether or not there are any hazards on your property that could cause injuries to your guests?
Property owners have a responsibility to maintain a safe environment on their premises so that no injuries occur to those who visit. This has been long established under premises liability laws. In fact, you can be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur on your property. This could include an array of incidents, including slip and fall accidents, trip and fall accidents, burn injuries, and even dog bite accidents.
The condition of your property
As a property owner, you have a duty of care to those who come onto your premises. Specifically, you are required to alert anybody who visits about hazardous conditions that may be present on your property. Additionally, you must work to remedy any hazard as soon as possible. If you fail to provide adequate warnings to guests about hazardous conditions on your premises and they subsequently sustain an injury, you may be held liable for the injury victim’s medical bills and other losses.
What about comparative negligence?
Oregon operates under what is known as a modified comparative negligence system. This means that an injury victim can still recover compensation even if they are partially at fault for the incident that caused their injury. The law in Oregon states that a person can collect compensation so long as their total fault does not exceed 51%. However, the total amount of compensation an injury victim receives will be reduced based on their percentage of fault.
This will play a role in any claim made against you should somebody sustain an injury on your property. For example, you could be on the line for 100% of the total injury expenses and other losses if your negligence or carelessness is found to be the sole reason for the incident. However, if the injury victim played a role in causing their own injury, such as blatantly ignoring posted warning signs about a hazard, they may be partially at fault. This could mean that you pay less money overall out of your pocket for what happened.
Homeowners insurance in these situations
Nearly every homeowner in Oregon is required to have homeowner’s insurance on their premises. This means that most injury claims will be filed against your insurance carrier, not you individually. You have insurance for a reason, and that is to protect your assets should something happened on your property. Any person injured on your property will file a claim against your homeowner’s insurance carrier, and the carrier will then investigate the situation and likely end up paying out some compensation for what happened.
However, it is not uncommon for homeowner’s insurance carriers to drop the policyholder after paying out a claim. They could also significantly raise the premiums. Additionally, you need to be aware that many policies have exclusions about what they will and will not cover. If an injury occurred in such a manner that was excluded from the policy coverages, a homeowner will be on the line personally for paying out compensation to the injury victim.