Celebrities Slips & Falls

Paula Abdul

Paula Abdul recently learned a $900,000 lesson in homeowner liability when she agreed to settle a claim that a woman injured herself after slipping and falling on the pop star’s driveway. In 2009, during the taping of Abdul’s reality series Hey Paula, Jill Kohl, who was part of the production team, allegedly fell and injured herself, claiming in her complaint that Abdul’s driveway “was in a dangerous and defective condition.”

“Invitees are people you invite to your home for some business purpose, and it’s the category that Ms. Kohl seems to have fallen into—no pun intended,” says Christopher Balch, an attorney at Balch Law Group. “The general rule is that a premises owner or occupier must act reasonably to keep the property safe for people to walk around.” This can be done by making use of many anti slip or non slip treatements.

Abdul’s hefty settlement serves as a reminder for homeowners that in many circumstances they are responsible for the well-being of their guests. However, just to what extent they are responsible varies depending on the type of guest as well as the case law and regulations specific to the homeowner’s particular state. Further, should an accident occur on your property, there are some tactics you can use to protect yourself from a costly and time-consuming lawsuit. “The law varies a little from state to state,” says jamie Sheller, managing partner at Sheller P.C. “Generally speaking, there are different levels of duty depending on the person entering onto your premise, whether they are a trespasser or some type of a guest.”

If you have any doubt on how dangerous your floors at home are, you chould contact an anti slip treatment proffessional

How Responsible Are You?

The types of guests, and the associated degree of liability the homeowner assumes, can be broken down into three basic categories.

The first are trespassers. These are individuals who illegally enter your premises without permission. Homeowners have the least amount of duty to care for trespassers out of all types of potential visitors. However, just because someone is trespassing on your property does not automatically relieve you of all liability.

“The landowners cannot act purposefully to harm the trespasser,” Balch says. “That means you can’t set traps for unknown persons, but the landowner is not responsible for simple negligence.”

Jamie L. Sheller

In addition to trespassers, another category of visitor includes social guests. These are individuals you invite over for social purposes, such as friends and relatives. “You owe a duty to your social guests to warn them of known dangers, but you do not have a duty to inspect and protect them from unknown dangers or harm,” Balch says. Sheller says homeowners should use reasonable care when ensuring the safety of their social guests. For instance, if you do have a swimming pool, make sure that the area around the pool is not excessively slippery, or if it is, clearly notify all guests of the potential hazard.

“You have to take the appropriate safety precautions that a reasonable person would take,” Sheller says. “Unless there is a specific law in your jurisdiction that says otherwise, common sense prevails.”

The final category of guest is the invitee. This is the category that would apply to Abdul’s case, and it pertains to those who are invited to someone’s property for a business purpose, whether they are a contractor conducting work or a customer. “A owner is responsible for inspecting and keeping the property in repair and warning invitees of known hazards,” Balch says. “The premise of liability is the landowner’s superior knowledge—that he either knew or should have known—of the dangerous condition and the ability to address it before the condition causes harm.”

A critical difference between a social guest and a business invitee arises in slip and fall cases like Abdul’s. For example, imagine a scenario where your driveway is iced over due to normal weather conditions. If a social guest stops by, you probably do not have much of a duty to shovel your driveway to ensure the guest’s safety. However, if you are operating a business out of your home and use your driveway for customers, you must de-ice your driveway to ensure the safety of your invitees.

Protect Yourself from Liability

If you are a homeowner, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself from a costly personal injury lawsuit is to apply anti slip treatmentsto your dangerous areas. There are many anti slip products available for all types of surfaces “Most homeowner’s policies have a general liability coverage portion that protects against claims by social guests and invitees,” Balch says. “Every policy is different and no completely general rule can be offered. So each policy needs to be examined and evaluated for the situation the homeowner finds himself or herself in.”

Christopher Balch

Additionally, if you are operating a business out of your home, you may need to purchase additional insurance that applies to commercial businesses. If your business involves potentially dangerous activity, such as welding, you should consider having your customers sign a waiver that relieves you of liability before allowing them to participate in the activity or business.

If an injury does occur on your property, you will want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney will likely provide you with free representation as part of your coverage.

“Don’t try to handle the situation yourself,” Sheller says. “It will only make it more complicated and problematic. Also, if you try to handle it by yourself and you mishandle it, your actions may disclaim coverage for you.”

Balch says there are a few defenses that a property owner may be able to rely on to protect himself or herself in court. For example, if the injured party had previously been on the property, a court may deem that he or she had knowledge of the hazard, which would bar the injured person from recovering damages. In addition, if the homeowner was unaware of the dangerous condition and could not in the exercise of ordinary care have become aware of the condition, there may not be liability.

ROME — Pope Benedict XVI fractured his right wrist in a fall early Friday morning while on vacation in northern Italy, the Vatican said. He was released from the hospital later in the day after undergoing successful surgery.

Vatican officials were quick to defuse any alarm over the first medical intervention known to the public since Benedict, 82, became pope in 2005.“It’s nothing serious,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a telephone interview. He said doctors had ruled out the possibility that Benedict had been ill before falling.Doctors operated on the pope’s wrist for about 20 minutes, Reuters reported. Father Lombardi called the operation “not difficult.” He said doctors had inserted pins to help the wrist heal, using a local anaesthetic.

He added that the pope would have to wear a cast for about a month. News reports showed Benedict leaving the clinic smiling and waving with his left hand. In a statement released by the Vatican, the pope’s private physician, Dr. Patrizio Polisca, said that Benedict was “in good condition.”

The Vatican said that the pope had slipped overnight in his room in the chalet where he was staying in the mountainous Valle d’Aosta region. Father Lombardi said that Dr. Polisca, who travels with the pope, was already in Valle d’Aosta when the pope fell and that he oversaw the local doctors who performed the operation.

In a statement, the Vatican said that Benedict was well enough to eat breakfast and celebrate Mass before being taken by car to the local hospital on Friday morning. After meeting president Obama the previous Friday, the pope arrived on Monday in northwest Italy, where he is scheduled to remain on vacation until July 29. He is then expected to return to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo outside Rome until September.

Father Lombardi said it remained to be seen whether the pope would keep his two scheduled commitments: delivering an Angelus message in two parishes near Aosta on the coming two Sundays.

In recent months, Benedict has appeared tired in some of his public appearances. But he has kept up a public schedule, including an eight-day trip to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories in May.

This incident could have been avoided if precautionary measures were taken in order to increase the safety of their floors. Anti Slip treatments are widely available. Should you require more information, please feel free to contact us.