When you think of accidents around your home, you probably think of the kitchen first. Kitchen accidents can occur from burns, knives, and other utensils or appliances. Kitchen accidents are generally the result of carelessness and can be prevented with proper care. The bathroom is another area that is often associated with household accidents. There are other areas of the home can create liability problems that you might not have considered.
1. Floors and stairs – Each year one-third of the senior population will trip and fall on a flight of stairs or on a floor. Generally this is a result of aging, which causes instability and reduced mobility. Sadly, these types of injuries can often increase premature deaths. Prevention of accidents of this nature can be accomplished by ensuring stairs are free of obstructions and debris. Throw rugs, clutter and other obstacles should be cleared from stairs and floors to prevent tripping.
2. Yards – While the most common accidents in a yard involve swimming pools, there are precautions you can take to ensure your family, friends and neighbors are safe around the pool. Non-fatal drowning caused more than 2,500 injuries for the two-year period ending in 2007. Prevent these types of accidents by installing a fence around the pool. Set up “pool rules” which include the mandate that the pool should should be used on the buddy system only, avoiding the risk of someone being alone and getting injured.
3. Environmental Issues – The air we breathe at home may not be safe. We overlook simple things to avoid insurance claims from bad air. Radon detectors and carbon monoxide detectors help keep air safe. Be aware of areas that may be susceptible to mold and mildew. These insidious infestations create conditions in your home that could render it inhabitable as well as causing severe respiratory problems. Monitor your home for the growth of mold and mildew to prevent potential health issues
4. Chimney/Fireplace Hazards – One-third of all residential fires are caused by poorly maintained chimneys or unattended fires. Your chimney should be cleaned regularly to prevent creosote build-up. Fires should be closely monitored and not left unattended.
5. Walls – Hidden dangers are behind your walls. This area houses your electrical systems as well as insulation. While many would immediately consider asbestos or mold as the only potential issues behind a wall, there are many other hazards. Mice, squirrels, bats and other vermin can invade your walls, gnaw at wiring, insulation, and otherwise wreak havoc. Left unchecked, these vermin can cause respiratory infections from their droppings as well as fires from chewing on your electrical wiring.
While there are some risks that cannot be avoided, you can reduce the chance of liability claims by ensuring that you have taken the steps needed to reduce the opportunity of a liability claim in these five areas of your home.