Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s Eve: These are just some of the occasions to throw a party this time of year. Party guests have a reasonable expectation of not getting injured, FindLaw suggests. This means that the party host has a responsibility to maintain a relatively safe environment. If this responsibility is not met, the host may find himself or herself liable if a slip and fall accident occurs. This is known as premises liability. However, understanding the factors that can lead to slip and fall accidents and taking the proper precautions can prevent your holiday party from being ruined by an otherwise avoidable accident.

Although this time of year if synonymous with holiday parties and family gatherings, it’s also synonymous with cold weather, snow and ice. A snowstorm is not completely unexpected this time of year. When the snow falls, residents must shovel their sidewalks and remove the snow within a certain amount of time, according to PA Law Blogs. If a homeowner fails to clear the required pathway within the specified amount of time, he or she may be liable should a slip and fall accident occur. It’s important to clear a pathway for anyone who may need to walk on the property, but it is especially important if the homeowner is expecting guests. Although it may be an inconvenience to clear the pathway while planning the party or entertaining, it is necessary to ensure the safety of your guests.

Slip and fall accidents are not just limited to icy sidewalks. This type of accident can occur inside the home as well. Health Care Associates suggests that area rugs may be the biggest culprit when it comes to slip and fall accidents. Throw rugs have the tendency to bunch up making it easy for young and old to trip on them. WebMD suggest removing throw rugs or at least taping or tracking them to the floor. The guide also suggests leaving on lights and de-cluttering stairs. This is especially important in two-story houses where guests may be traveling up and down the steps to use the bathroom.

Another major tripping hazard that can be found in more than half of American homes. While pets like being the center of attention, they often enjoy laying in the middle of prime walking areas.  This can make a cuddly cat or dog a dangerous tripping hazard. WebMD found that more than 87,000 Americans are injured by family pets each year. It’s important for hosts and guests to be aware of the animal’s presence so they are not caught off guard when they find a furry friend beneath their feet.

Additional safety tips can be taken from last month’s post about preventing workplace injuries. Securing electrical cords and ensuring cabinets and drawers are completely closed can also be applied to slip and fall accident prevention in the home setting.

Slip and fall accidents can damper the holiday spirit. No one wants to see a friend or relative get hurt, nor do they want to face a premises liability claim.

Posted by Legal Lookout Editor