There are not many things that are better than having fun with friends in the New Jersey summer — pool parties, backyard BBQs, and, hopefully, no injuries. The truth is that incidents that cause physical harm usually happen when you least expect it. If you or a loved one suffers injuries, you might have to deal with medical bills and other financial consequences. Such an incident can jeopardize your financial stability.
Although the host might have homeowner insurance with liability coverage, he or she is responsible for the safety of guests. Any injuries that occur might lead to claims against the property owner's insurance.
Potential injury hazards
Hazards for which the host must look out during a walk-through of the premises in preparation for a get-together include the following:
- Remove random objects in hallways, walkways, on stairs and around the pool area.
- Look for protruding nails that can cause nasty scratches or puncture wounds.
- Secure electrical extension cords that might trail across walkways to avoid guests tripping.
- Check that there are no fire hazards. Make sure the position of the barbecue is safe — not under overhanging trees or on a wooden deck, and not in the children's play area.
- Make sure there is easy access to a fire extinguisher.
Any host wants guests to remember the food they had, but for the right reasons — because it was awesome, and not because it gave the guests food poisoning. The following precautions can help avoid the latter:
- Avoid leaving food out too long, as hot weather can cause it to spoil quickly.
- Keep cold foods under 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and hot foods above 140 degrees.
- If a caterer provides the food, check reviews by former clients and make sure they comply with health department standards.
Too many tragedies involve drunk drivers, and it is up to the host to make sure no guests drive away while impaired. This is what to keep in mind:
- Do not serve alcohol to minors.
- Stop serving a guest who appears to be intoxicated.
- Make sure such a guest has a designated driver, or call for a service like Uber.
- Never allow children around the pool without supervision.
- Make sure guests who have had a bit too much alcohol stay away from the pool area.
What are your rights?
It is hard to imagine suing a friend after you or a loved one suffered injuries on his or her property. However, such concern may be unfounded because you will claim damages from his or her insurance. You can simplify this complicated legal process by seeking the support and guidance of an experienced New Jersey premises liability attorney.
A lawyer can assess the circumstances of the incident that caused your injuries, and navigate dealings with the insurance company who will likely defend the claim. If such a claim is unsuccessful, a lawyer might suggest you pursue financial relief through the civil justice system.