April showers may bring May flowers, as the old saying goes, but they also bring spring cleaning. And with the heavy rain and strong winds that have been sweeping through the state, you may find yourself with a to-do list beyond your usual yearly closet clean-out.

Has your home been damaged by storms, either inside or out? If you don’t know the answer, the first step is to check. Unrepaired damage, including fallen branches, saggy porch steps, or the smallest of roof leaks can lead not only to more problem with your home and yard, but also (and even worse) to injuries to the people you love.

The Risk of Slip-and-Fall Injuries at Home

While no one ever expects it to happen to them, whether you’re a small-business owner or you simply love to host parties in your home, you might find yourself in the middle of a premises liability lawsuit (commonly called slip-and-fall) if you leave hazardous spots in disrepair. While you might expect most slip-and-falls to happen during the winter with ice and snow on the ground, the truth is that your property can be vulnerable to a slip-and-fall lawsuit at any time if there are holes and hazards. Soggy ground and sudden storms make the springtime another common time for slip-and-fall problems.

Add these 8 items to your Spring Cleaning list to make sure your home, business, or land is safe for everyone.

  1. Start outside the house. Look for fallen branches, piles of soggy leaves, uneven patches of land, divots and holes. Invest in a rake, wheelbarrow, and sturdy gloves to help you get the job done. Pack holes and cover protruding roots with dirt.

  2. Check all steps and railings. Whether inside or outside, loose stair treads and shaky rails have been the cause of many an accident. Repair or replace anything that feels wobbly or looks cracked or rotting.

  3. Do you have good lighting – and enough of it? Lamps do more than just set a cozy mood. Poor lighting can contribute to accidents around your home. Replace burned-out bulbs (consider more energy-efficient LED or compact fluorescent lights while you’re at it) and install fixtures in areas that are too dim, especially outdoors.

  4. If you have rugs that bunch or fold under, they’re a tripping hazard. Secure them using double-sided carpet tape (or painters’ tape for smaller pieces). If nothing seems to hold a rug flat, it might be time to say goodbye and get a new one.

  5. Children’s toys – Do you constantly find your children’s toys underfoot? Guests might not be so adept at side-stepping Legos and scooters. We suggest designating a bin in each room where your children play and creating a family rule that all toys go in the bin when they leave that room.

  6. Restrain your pets. Whether that means using a gate to keep your favorite Fido in a room or putting him in a kennel, consider keeping your pets in a separate space when guests come to visit.

  7. Put ladders and other lawn tools away – every time you use them. Don’t leave ladders leaning against a house whether curious children might try to climb. Sharp tools like hedge trimmers also belong on a high hook or storage shed.

  8. Restrict access to your swimming pool. Either erect a fence around the pool with a gate that locks, or invest in an automatic pool cover that will keep people and animals out. Some experts suggest installing alarms on any doors that lead to the pool that you can then enable whenever necessary.

As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of visitors. If you cannot remove a hazard immediately, be sure to explicitly warn all visitors and post a clear warning at the hazardous spot.

For more tips on getting your home in tip-top shape this month, see this article by House Beautiful.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip-and-fall accident due to a property owner’s negligence, contact Taylor King today at 1-800-227-9732 to discuss your case and receive and free consultation.

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