What is Homeowners Liability? 

 July 25, 2013

By  LMW Attorneys

The term homeowner’s liability refers to the legal obligation that a homeowner has for certain injuries or damages that may occur on a property. In general, liability exists when damages occur due to an unsafe condition that is present on the property. For example, a guest who falls due to tripping on an uneven walkway may sue the homeowner to compensate for his or her injuries.

Homeowners do not have to worry only about guests at the home becoming injured. Homeowners may also be legally liable for the injuries suffered by other people coming onto the property. For example, if a homeowner is installing in-ground sprinklers on the property and leaves an open ditch unmarked, a utility meter reader or, even a trespasser, may stumble in the ditch and become injured. While it may seem incredible, the homeowner may even be responsible for paying damages to the trespasser.

To avoid potential liabilities, a homeowner needs to keep his or her home and property in good repair. In the event of an uncovered ditch or other hazard, the area should be clearly marked to keep others from becoming injured.

Upkeep should also be taken to secure potentially dangerous possessions such as guns and knives, as well as simple garden tools. Pets should also be properly supervised and secured to reduce the chances of the pet biting or injuring another person.

One of the largest sources of liability injuries are swimming pool accidents. As many Florida homes have swimming pools, it is important for homeowners to understand ways to reduce this liability.

At a minimum, a pool owner must follow local regulations regarding pools. These regulations generally require a fence around the pool, locking gates and pool covers. Pool owners can also install other security features, lighting and security cameras to reduce unauthorized use of the area.

Most homeowner insurance policies offer some level of insurance protection against liability. However, many policies only cover $100,000 in liability, which an injury could easily exceed.

In addition, insurance companies often try to avoid paying even rightful claims. If you are a property owner or are involved in liability litigation in any way, you should use the services of a competent and experienced liability attorney to protect your interests and your assets.