Be a Responsible Homeowner for the Holidays

October 30, 2018

It is that time of year again. The month and a half when you are most likely to have guests and workers in your home. Although visiting someone's home should be an enjoyable experience, injuries can and do happen. Most often conversations during the Holidays about premise liability claims focus on slip, trip and fall lawsuits against a crowded business establishment that failed to clean up a wet spot on a busy aisle. However, just as the highest level of care is owed to shoppers, Florida homeowners are required to correct and denote hazards that could pose a threat to someone visiting their property.

As a Florida homeowner, state laws do not require you purchase homeowners insurance. For most of us, that doesn't matter since mortgage contracts give the lender the right to obtain and bill you for forced coverage, if you fail to do so. Moreover, even if you are not required to have homeowners insurance coverage in place, it is prudent to protect your investment with the right amount of property and casualty insurance. The personal liability coverage within your homeowners policy should provide adequate coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by others.

Who Is Protected by Personal Liability Insurance Coverage?

Under your basic Florida homeowners or renters insurance policy, personal liability coverage helps to protect against lawsuits you may face if an accident occurs in your home or on your property. This includes bodily injury and medical expenses as well as property damage that results from your negligence, including:

  • Guests in Your Home - In Florida, friends, family and invitees visiting your property for social purposes are owed a certain level of care. This means the premises must be kept reasonably safe and known problems should be repaired in a timely manner. However, property owners are only liable for injuries and damages that result from known conditions.
  • Workers Inside and Out - During the holiday season is a peak time of year to have independent contractors working inside and outside your home. It doesn't matter if they are stringing Christmas wiring or catering your Thanksgiving dinner, you owe these workers a certain level of care. If you know about a potential danger, you are responsible for warning workers about the hazard. It is important to not become part of their team by offering to hold a ladder or interfere with their safety in any way.
  • Trespassers on Your Property - Even though a trespasser does not have permission to be on the property, as a homeowner, you have a duty to refrain from reckless or intentional behaviors that could cause injury, such as a hidden electrified wire. In addition, grossly negligent actions like leaving an unmarked open pit may apply to both invited and uninvited visitors.

Entering someone's home as a guest or contracted worker should be a safe experience. Since purchasing your home was a big investment, do your due diligence and protect your personal assets, as well as the well-being of others. If the liability limits of the policy in force do not meet your needs for financial protection, you can easily add coverage under a personal umbrella liability insurance policy. Moreover, if a serious injury does occur that requires medical treatment, it is import to seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer to determine who is responsible for medical bills, loss wages, property damage, etc.

The Law Offices of Schackow & Mercadante, P.A. proudly serve the Central and North Florida residents of Gainesville, Lake City, Palatka and Ocala. Call us toll free at 1-877-798-7700, or use this website's 24/7 Contact Us Form for a prompt, professional response.

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