As blankets of snow covered neighborhoods across New Hampshire in early January, some people were undoubtedly injured for a variety of reasons that include slipping and falling. With the average slip and fall injury easily ballooning hospital bills, the Insurance Center would like to remind homeowners how to be proactive about slip and fall liability claims.
“It’s difficult to completely eliminate a homeowner’s risk for slip and fall liability claims, but you also don’t want the injuries of an elderly pedestrian resting on your conscious. Fortunately, there are simple precautions you can take,” said Robert J. Sammon, president of The Insurance Center.
With the winter underway and more snow expected, the Insurance Center encourages you to be mindful of possible slip and fall dangers you could be liable for this season.
Remove snow from your property
Property owners have a civic responsibility to remove snow from their sidewalks, driveways, and walkways. In most states including New Hampshire, pedestrians can file claims against property owners if they fall due to negligence on the part of the owner. An important note to remember is that homeowners are still responsible for removing snow during regular working days, so consider calling on friends for help or call for professional services.
There is a time limit
Many areas require homeowners and businesses to remove snow in a ‘reasonable’ amount of time. This protects property holders from suspicious claims where a pedestrian may injure themselves in a fall that happened at 4 a.m. This also means property owners could be held liable if someone injures themselves as a result of not removing snow by the end of the day.
Attorneys will look for other signs of negligence
You may have cleaned the obvious areas like the sidewalks lining up your home, but is your home up to building codes, did you fail to remove icicles, or has water from your downspout turned into icy patches on the sidewalk? These details can be used as signs of negligence in the court of law, so it is in your interest to clean areas around your home that you suspect may pose a safety threat to individuals.
Be proactive when it comes to snow
Being proactive when snow is in the forecast means laying salt shortly before or at the start of snowfall, and removing snow a couple of hours after it accumulates. Responsible homeowners go a step further by placing signs of slippery surfaces and cones where icicles could pose a hazard. These actions would be seen favorably in legal proceedings and could influence the outcome of a case.
Statistics show that nearly 1 million people are injured in falls every year. With a dedication to safeguard your family and helping you avoid costly claims, The Insurance Center recommends maintaining your property this time of year. For information on what your homeowners insurance covers or more safety tips, speak with an Insurance Center agent at one of our locations.