Protecting Yourself From Lawsuits
It may sound absurd, but a scraped knee really can lead to a lawsuit. Americans are notoriously touchy about issues of private property and personal responsibility. They also have a quick trigger finger when it comes to lawsuits. All that can mean that the littlest incident can lead to a massive suit.
Consider the famous example of the woman who spilled coffee on herself an blamed McDonald’s. The law was set up in such a way that she was able to successfully claim McDonald’s was a fault because the coffee was hotter than it should have been, and she had not been properly warned about that fact.
The fact that she had acted foolishly in keeping coffee between her legs was not an important enough fact to save McDonald’s.
Similarly, a neighborhood child who falls off his or her bike and skins their knee on your property could, in fact, cry to Mommy and Daddy and get them to sue you. And you would be at fault as well if you had not taken care to keep the sidewalks clear of items that might lead to that fall.
While a skinned knee would probably get dismissed from court, more serious accidents (say if the kid required surgery for some injury) may not be.
This all goes to say, everyone needs to be careful and know exactly where the law leaves them exposed. How many of us have left objects out on the sidewalk without thinking? A garden hose, perhaps a lawn gnome we intend to move, it could be anything. How many of us leave the bumper of our cars trailing out in the sidewalk area? How many of us are slow to clear the snow after it falls, even after our neighbors got up early and did so?
All those situations could leave us exposed to lawsuits if someone hurt themselves on our patch of cement.
While that may seem unlikely, the fact is it happens every day. Should our neighbors be as touchy and trigger-happy about lawsuits as some people in this country, we could be in for massive legal bills and perhaps an equally massive settlement.
The only way to avoid these issues is to be particularly quick to take care of these issues. Don’t sleep in, go clear the snow. Don’t leave the lawn gnome out there. Repark your car. Otherwise, go live out in the country where you have no neighbors or in the city where the sidewalks are maintained by the city.
There are just no other options. And this is by no means the limit of where you may be liable for accidents others have. There is any number of ways you could find yourself in legal trouble, even when you weren’t present.
It’s important to read up on the potential personal injuries others can sustain so as to protect yourself from any future potential lawsuits. That’s just the country we live in these days.