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Ways to reduce accidents and homeowner liability

Article Published 03/28/2016

Accidents can happen anywhere. How safe is your property? Have precautions been taken to reduce homeowner accidents or liability?

Are there obvious, unresolved problems on your property that could injure someone and leave you open to a lawsuit? Do you have adequate homeowner’s insurance?

These are all important questions for homeowners.

Here are some additional questions to answer and tips to reduce accident potential:

-Take a walk around your property. Are there any trip hazards on, or near the sidewalk, such as loose toys or bikes? Do tree branches hang down low enough along the sidewalk or roadway as to be an obstacle? Does the street side of your property comply with clear view ordinances? Do you keep vehicles from blocking use of the sidewalk? Are there any boats, trailers or RVs parked regularly on the street, as this is against City ordinances?

-Is the sidewalk on your property damaged, or uneven? Please contact the City, as they may work with you as you consider a repair. Are there any holes in your yard near the sidewalk, where someone might trip?

-Do you keep noxious weeds in your front yard under control? Puncture weeds, in particular, can flatten bicycles tires, injure the feet of pets, stick under the bottom of shoes and are a nuisance.

-Do you have any dogs? Are the animal(s) confined or leashed at all times? Proper fencing and confinement is critical to avoid the canine biting any visitors, or those passing by. You may be liable for any damage or injury your pet causes, on or off your property. Are the animal’s vaccinations up to date? Is it properly licensed?

 -Do you have a trampoline? Is it fenced to prevent usage when you are not home? When the trampoline is being used, is there always proper supervision for children? If your yard has its own playground, is all its equipment checked regularly for safety?

-Do you have a swimming pool? Is it fenced, or at least drained when not in use? Does it comply with city and state regulations relating to fencing and gates? Are children always supervised when using the pool?

-Is your backyard fenced, or secure? Are there any items in the backyard that children could be injured on – boards with nails sticking out; piles of debris, loose sharp tools, etc?

-Are rodents under control on your property? Do you have piles of trash that may harbor mice or rats? Is your yard free of standing water, where mosquitoes can breed in warm weather?

-Do you own any firearms? Are they properly secured, unloaded and out of the reach of children? Is any other hunting gear, like knives, accessible to children?

-Do you have adequate homeowner’s insurance? Does it include special provisions if you own a dog, a swimming pool, or a trampoline?

-If one of your vehicles leaks antifreeze, is it cleaned up regularly, to prevent a loose pet from ingesting it and becoming ill?

Note that Layton City Corporation does not espouse or recommend one insurance company over another. It just recommends that residents have adequate insurance coverage. If in doubt, consult with your insurance company for a review.

-For more information, go to:

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/06/before-the-barbecue-accident-proof-your-yard/index.htm

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-home/Pages/Backyard-Safety.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/make-backyard-safe

https://safety.smart911.com/backyard-safety-tips/