Slip and fall accidents in front of a home are often due to icy, wet, or slippery concrete sidewalk surfaces. Yet, other hazards could be present due to a homeowner's negligence. Leaving the gate to the front yard or a driveway open and allowing it to obstruct the sidewalk is a really bad idea. Anyone injured because a property owner left a gate open might bring forth a negligence lawsuit in civil court.
Sidewalks, Properties, and Responsibilities
While local laws vary, many jurisdictions have statutes in place rendering a homeowner legally responsible for the entire sidewalk. Basically, the homeowner assumes responsibility up to the actual city street. Homeowners who become flippant or careless about leaving gates open are creating potential hazards. Anyone injured because of that obviously preventable hazard could seek damages.
Open Gates and Errors in Judgment
Poor judgment is often at the root of leaving a gate open. Property owners may assume that since there is no lock on a fence to a front yard, the gate is not a "real" barrier. So, why bother closing or locking anything? Opening the gate all the way makes it easier to walk onto the property or quickly pull a car into the driveway. Besides, the gate is not half-open and blocking the sidewalk.
No obstruction may exist at the present, but the situation could change. Anything from a strong gust of wind to a little kid in the neighborhood playing with the gate may leave it half-open and presenting a barrier. Imagine the gate opening during the evening when visibility was low and someone tripped over it. The person could choose to sue.
Open Gates Open Homes Up for Liabilities
A gate bars easy entry to and from a property reducing the potential for injuries on the property. An open gate invite someone to just walk onto the property. Once on the property, he/she suffers a slip and fall accident.
People are not the only creatures capable of entering through an open gate. A dangerous dog that gets loose from its owner may run through the open gate and bite a guest. Rather than worry about the a myriad of different problems, keep all gates closed. Better yet, secure the gate so it remains closed.
Take Preventive Measures
In addition to closing the gate, wrap a rope around its structural poles to ensure nothing swings open. At night, padlock the gate closed. Put pathway solar-powered lights in the ground to illuminate the front of the gate and, thus, reducing any visibility hazards. As more hazards are curtailed, liability levels decrease.
What happens if someone does get injured despite your best effort? Contact a personal injury attorney to discuss both the situation and the best course of defense in court.Share
18 May 2015
After my mom turned 68 years old, she started doing all kinds of strange things. She spent her monthly retirement checks on excessive amounts of food and clothing but didn't pay her rent or bills on time. At one point, she forgot who I was to her. Since my mom lived alone at an independent apartment complex, I couldn't monitor her behavior every second of the day. I brought these things to my mom's attention, but she refused to get medical help. After my mother called the fire department to report a fake fire, I took legal action. I contacted a general attorney and became my mother's power of attorney. I now had the right to monitor my mom's finances and medical care. If your loved one needs help, read my blog for information on general attorneys. You'll find tips, articles and much more to help you get started.