Delivery services are more popular than ever. In addition to getting packages delivered from the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS, many people also have endless streams of delivery drivers from Amazon, GrubHub, Uber Eats, Shipt, DoorDash, and more delivering items to their doorsteps. But what happens if one of those drivers slips and falls on your property?
Even though you may not even be home, there’s a chance that a delivery driver could injure themselves on your property. For example, they could slip on ice and snow, trip on a broken stair, or lose their balance on a walkway that’s darkened due to broken or absent lighting. Although these injuries can happen, does that mean you can be held liable for their damages?
Premises Liability Laws Still Apply, Even for Delivery Drivers
Although all cases are different, delivery drivers are often considered “invitees” when they enter private properties, such as businesses and residences. And when it comes to premises liability law, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. That means that property owners must comply with the following requirements for all invitees, including delivery drivers:
- They must fix known hazards that can lead to injuries
- If the hazards can’t be fixed immediately, they must notify invitees of their existence
- They must frequently inspect their properties for potential hazards
What Damages Can You Be Held Liable For?
Premises liability claims can be extremely expensive, even if you have homeowner’s insurance. For example, you may be on the hook for expenses such as:
- Medical bills—Slips and falls often result in broken bones, and head and spine injuries aren’t uncommon, either. Many victims require hospitalization and prolonged physical rehabilitation, all of which can result in huge medical costs.
- Lost wages—When slip and fall victims break bones, tear ligaments, or experience severe pain, they may be unable to walk, let alone work. That can cause property owners to be liable for their lost wages.
- Pain and suffering—Because of the pain and disability they often cause, slips and falls can make it difficult or impossible for victims to enjoy their lives. They can and often do include this damage in their compensation claims.
Keep Your Property Safe to Avoid Liability
If you own a home or business where delivery people frequently visit, there’s a good chance you get many other visitors, too. In that case, it’s a good idea to make your property as safe as possible for yourself, your employees/friends/family, and anyone who drops by, even for brief visits, such as delivery drivers, contractors, meter readers, and more.
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce or avoid liability if someone gets injured on your property:
- Shovel snow—While snow itself typically isn’t a major trip hazard, it’s what lurks underneath that can cause people to fall and seriously hurt them. Snow can hide ice and other tripping hazards, so be sure to shovel it off of your driveway and walkways.
- Light all walking paths—Ensure that your driveway and sidewalk are lit at night to give visitors good visibility. People with impaired night vision are particularly at risk of falls due to poor or absent lighting.
- Put away toys, tools, and other miscellaneous items—Children’s toys represent major trip hazards, as do typical home goods such as hoses and rakes. Place items inside your home or garage after you’re done using them, and keep your driveway clear.
Use This Knowledge to Stay Safe on Others’ Properties—But if an Injury Happens, We’re Here to Help.
Keeping your own property safe from dangers is one of the best ways to avoid a slip and fall injury on someone else’s property. After all, you’ll be much better attuned to potential dangers and better able to avoid them. But sometimes, slips and falls are unavoidable, especially when they’re due to negligence.
If you or someone you love slipped and fell on someone else’s property, our Oklahoma City slip and fall lawyers want to help you get compensation. Contact Parrish DeVaughn today for a free consultation.