People in West Virginia may be confused about the obligation that homeowners have to people who they invite onto their property to perform various kinds of work. Homeowners frequently hire others to babysit children, mow the lawn, provide cleaning services or repair broken items around the house. When people enter a home to do work, they always face the risk of injury. This is especially true if a negligent property owner fails to provide a safe space for people to work and a babysitter, contractor or house cleaner is injured as a result.
Approximately 7.4 million swimming pools are in residential or public use in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The same organization also estimates that there are more than 3,500 non-boating drowning accidents each year, many of them occurring in pools. Besides drowning, pools increase the risk for slips, trips and falls as well as exposure to harmful chemicals.
Small business owners in West Virginia probably know that maintaining a safe environment for customers and employees isn't cheap. To start with, premises liability insurance can cost $500 or more each year depending on business type and size. Owners must also spend money on routine maintenance and repairs, employee training and signage to warn others about safety hazards. If business owners face a claim, they then have to pay for a legal defense.
Many West Virginia readers look forward to visiting amusement parks each summer. However, not all amusement park rides are safe. For example, on June 14, multiple people were injured when a roller coaster malfunctioned at a park in Florida.
Many landlords and tenants in West Virginia may wonder how far the concept of premises liability stretches. In a recent case in another state, the parents of a man who died after a drug overdose sued the owner of the home where the overdose took place on the basis that he was responsible for maintaining the safety of people inside the home. They alleged that the landlord had a responsibility to remove tenants that he knew to be drug users as others could be hurt or injured due to drug side effects or overdoses.
Bounce houses are a popular activity for children at birthday parties in West Virginia and across the United States. Safety concerns with bounce houses were raised again during a recent incident in California. A 9-year-old boy received minor injuries when the bounce house in which he was playing was picked up by high winds and flew onto a busy highway approximately a quarter of a mile away.
Every year throughout West Virginia and the rest of the U.S., approximately 4.5 million cases of dog bites are reported. Roughly one in every five sends the victim to the emergency room. In 2017, dog bite claims accounted for one-third of all liability insurance claims among homeowners, and the payouts averaged about $37,000 per claim. With somewhere between 70 million and 90 million pet dogs in the country, it's not surprising that the most frequent victims are postal workers and children.
West Virginia residents may have heard about an accident that happened during a show performed by magician David Copperfield in 2013. The victim, who claims he was injured when he participated in Copperfield's show, filed a claim against the show in 2014. A jury trial began on April 13.
In West Virginia as elsewhere in the U.S., property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of guest. Visitors also have the responsibility to not engage in reckless behavior while on a property. When people are injured through no fault of their own on another's property, they may be eligible for compensation under civil law. All they must do is file a slip and fall claim.
West Virginia, like many other states, has laws in place to ensure that people injured on someone else's property can file for compensation. Such cases involve what is called negligence, or the failure of the defendant to live up to a certain standard appropriate for a given situation. Property owners must live up to public safety regulations and have buildings that are up to code, for instance.