Don't Serve Alcoholic Beverages To Minors and/or Inebriated Guests
- An adult serving alcoholic beverages to a minor is subject not only to the possibility of criminal prosecution for aiding and abetting the delinquency of a minor, but also to civil claims for damages for negligence - claims that can be pursued by both the minor and the minor's parents.
- Furthermore, many states have laws that would hold the host who serves or permits the service of alcoholic beverages to minors strictly liable for any accidents caused by that minor who was under the influence of alcohol while that minor is on or off the host's premises.
- The homeowner/host may also be liable for negligence for serving alcoholic beverages to guests of legal drinking age that are clearly inebriated. If that intoxicated guest injures a third party either on or off the host's premises, the host is liable for injuries under the legal theory of negligence and breach of duty of due care.
Take Extreme Caution In Preventing Swimming Pool Injuries
- Homeowners should make sure that the pool is either well fenced and/or adequately supervised by adults while children are in or near the pool. The homeowner who fails to maintain the safety of the pool will be subjected to liability for any injuries suffered by a child who falls into the pool.
- Another suggestion, but not sole solution, should be to post safety notices and warnings by the pool such as, "No lifeguards on duty" and "Watch your children at all times" to lessen the homeowner's exposure to liability for negligence in case of an accident in the pool.
Think Twice Before Setting Off Fireworks
- Many, if not most, municipalities have strict rules and regulations barring the use of fireworks within their cities and if one violates those regulations, it exposes the homeowner to the potential for criminal prosecution, but also civil penalties and, of course, potential liability for any damage caused by the fireworks to any adjoining property and/or persons.
- Many insurance policies would exclude coverage to the homeowner for the intentional and reckless use of explosives/fireworks, which further increases the financial risk on the homeowner of allowing this activity.
Protect Guests From Hazardous Conditions In The Home
- Homeowners are at great risk of exposing guests to any hazards or defects on his/her premises that are not obviously visible or known to the guests. Many states have heightened "duty of care" requirements for the homeowner to protect guests from hazardous conditions such as cracked roofs, deteriorated steps etc.
- Therefore, any structural defects, large cracks in the deck, unsafe steps, electrical problems and other similar or actual potential home defects which may result in injury to guests exposes the homeowner to the potential of a civil lawsuit.
Ensure You Have Adequate Homeowners' Insurance
- Homeowners should make sure that he/she has adequate homeowners' insurance to cover any injury sustained by a guest while on his/her property.
- Homeowners should carefully read their insurance policies to make sure that their insurance coverage is not only current, but has adequate policy limits to meet any potential claims that may arise if a guest is injured while on the homeowner's residence.