Originally published February 1, 2021
Even though you may not even be home when it happens, there’s a chance that a delivery driver could injure themselves on your property while dropping off packages.
For example, they could slip on ice and snow, trip on a broken stair, or lose their balance on a hard-to-see walkway due to broken or absent lighting. If these injuries happen, does that mean you can be held liable for their damages? Unfortunately, the answer is often “yes.”
Read on to learn why this is, and how you can protect yourself from liability.
Premises Liability Laws Still Apply, Even for Delivery Drivers
Although all cases are different, delivery drivers for companies such as Amazon, UPS, Uber Eats, FedEx, and DoorDash are often considered “invitees” when they enter onto 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 of any type of visitor. 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 lift and carry heavy packages. That can cause property owners to be liable for the delivery worker’s 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. Injury victims 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 drop off packages, it’s a good idea to make your property as safe as possible.
You need to make your property safe not only for anyone you’ve personally invited, such as friends or family members, but for anyone who may have legal reason to be on your property, including contractors, meter readers, and so on.
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk of someone getting injured on your property, as well as your potential liability:
- Rake leaves, shovel snow, and salt ice—While snow and leaves typically aren’t a major trip hazard, it’s what lurks underneath that can cause people to fall and seriously hurt them. Snow and leaf piles can hide tripping hazards like rocks, sprinkler heads, and uneven surfaces, so be sure to clear your driveway and walkways as soon as any leaves, snow, or ice begin to accumulate.
- 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 falling 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 and lawn care tools such as hoses and rakes. Place items inside your home or garage after you’re done using them, and keep your driveway clear.
Our Oklahoma Slip and Fall Attorneys Have the Experience You Need
Using the information in this blog to keep your property safe for visitors is also 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 identify and avoid them. But sometimes, slips and falls are beyond your control, especially when they’re due to someone else’s 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.