Buying a house involves a lot of work, including finding houses that fit your budget and meet your needs, then touring them in person with a realtor or during an open house.
To the surprise of many homebuyers, the houses they tour aren’t always safe for residents, guests, or would-be buyers. Potential buyers may even suffer serious injuries while walking around inside or outside homes during private tours or open houses.
If you or someone you love was injured while touring a house on the market, here’s what you need to know.
You Can Sue a Homeowner for an Injury Suffered During an Open House or Tour
Homeowners are responsible for ensuring their properties are safe for all guests. And by all guests, we don’t only mean family members during holiday gatherings, we mean everyone from pest control technicians to people interested in buying their homes when they go up for sale.
For example, if a home has a broken step or a loose rug, that issue can cause guests to suffer serious injuries. The homeowner should address the hazard by either repairing the step/securing the rug, or sufficiently warning guests of the danger. When homeowners fail to fix known hazards or warn guests of them and the hazards cause injuries, they can be held liable for the injury victim’s medical expenses.
What Are Common Injuries Suffered During Open Houses and Tours?
The most common injuries guests suffer during open houses include:
- Slip and fall injuries caused by slick floors, broken stairs, or unsecured walkways
- Animal bites from unsecured pets
- Burn injuries from lit fireplaces or hazardously placed candles
- Injuries from unsecured items falling from shelves or ceilings
- Scalding injuries from faucets when water heater temperatures are set too high
- Falls into swimming pools or other water features on the property such as creeks or ponds
Realtors Are Sometimes Held Liable for Injuries During Open Houses or Tours
Homeowners typically aren’t present during most open houses and private home tours. Instead, realtors lead open houses and private tours, representing either the homeowners or the potential buyers.
While realtors may be responsible for allowing would-be buyers into homes, they typically aren’t responsible for injuries inside them, on included outdoor spaces such as patios, or on attached property if the dangers were already present and were known or should have been known by the homeowners.
However, realtors can be held liable if they change or modify a property in a way that can cause injuries, such as mopping a floor just before potential buyers arrive and causing an open house or tour guest to suffer a slip and fall injury. They also may be liable if they notice obvious dangers, such as a wobbly handrail, and fail to warn open house or tour guests of them.
Staging Companies May Be Liable Under Certain Circumstances
Many homeowners use staging companies to increase the money they receive for their homes. Staging companies temporarily bring new furniture and décor into homes while they are photographed, listed, and toured by potential buyers. Staging companies can make homes look more appealing but create new dangers that homeowners and realtors may not be aware of.
For example, some staging companies may add furniture that partially blocks common walkways, increasing the risk of slip and fall injuries. They also may add rugs that can cause falls if they aren’t properly secured or add paint to stairs that make them dangerously slick. When staging companies modify homes and create hazards, they can be held liable for injuries.
Call Our Oklahoma Slip and Fall Lawyers After an Open House Injury
Touring a potential new home is supposed to be an exciting time for you and your family. But for some guests, an exciting tour instead turns into a painful day they’d rather forget.
If you or a loved one were injured while touring a home for sale, the Oklahoma slip and fall attorneys at Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers want to help. We know how painful, disabling, and expensive slip and fall injuries are, and we’ll work hard to get you maximum compensation for your damages.
Contact us anytime for a free case review. There’s no obligation to hire, and we don’t charge a penny for our services unless we get money for our clients. That’s our No Fee Guarantee.