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Top Five Causes of Death Inside the Home

Red Cross Ever wonder what the top causes of death inside the home are? While Californians may tend to view their homes as safe places, many people suffer accidents that lead to serious injuries or deaths in their homes. In some cases, others who are on the property are seriously injured or killed. Homeowners should be aware of the potential dangers, and they should promptly correct any hazardous conditions that might exist on their property. If a person is seriously injured or killed while at the home of a different person, an experienced personal injury law attorney might be able to help with recovering damages to compensate his or her client for the losses that resulted. Here are the top five causes of accidental deaths suffered in accidents in homes.

  1. Falls

    The Home Safety Council reports that almost 6,000 people are killed every year in falls inside of homes. Falls are the leading cause of deaths that happen in homes. Homeowners should assess their homes in order to identify any areas that carry falling risks. Examples may include broken stairs, unprotected stairwells, broken hand railings, broken tiles, missing or broken walkway stones and others. Once the homeowner has identified a hazard, it is important for him or her to promptly correct it. If there are older people in the home, the homeowners should also install grab bars in the bathrooms.

  2. Poisoning

    Many people suffer serious injuries or deaths from accidental poisonings in the home. Almost 5,000 people die from accidental home poisonings each year, and it is the top cause of in-home deaths for people who are young or middle-aged adults. Poisonings often happen when people are taking a mixture of prescription medications along with alcohol. They may not realize that doing so can be deadly. Homeowners should make certain that their medications are locked away from the access of visitors or children. They should also dispose of old prescription medications by turning them into their local police departments for destruction. If a person has mixed medications and alcohol, he or she might want to call the poison control hotline or get prompt medical treatment.

  3. Fires

    Burns and fires claim the lives of 3,000 people each year. Homeowners should make certain that their electrical wiring is up-to-date. They should also have smoke alarms installed throughout their homes, and make certain that they are maintained in working order. If a person is building a new home, he or she should consider installing sprinkler systems. Homeowners should also make certain that they have ways for people to get out of the home if it is on fire. If they have a finished basement, they need to make certain that they follow their local building codes for proper egress windows and doors.

  4. Obstructed airways

    Suffocations, choking and strangulations claim the lives of about 1,000 people each year in accidental home deaths. Many of the people who die in this way are children who choke on small objects or toys. Infant beds should be free from items that could suffocate babies, including stuffed animals, pillows and too many blankets. Parents should make certain to not leave small items out where young children can find them and swallow them, including coins or small toys such as Legos.

  5. Drowning

    Nearly 800 people die in accidental drowning accidents at private homes every year. Many of the victims are children. Homeowners should be aware of a legal concept known as an attractive nuisance. When a homeowner has a swimming pool that doesn’t have the proper fencing and protection around it, the homeowner may be liable if a child trespasses on the property in order to go swimming in the pool and drowns. Homeowners should make certain that their pools are not visible to neighbors by keeping a tall privacy fence around them. They should make certain that access to the pool is through locked gates. People should never leave children unattended in a pool area even if it is just to answer the phone or go to the bathroom. Children should have constant adult supervision when they are in the swimming pool.

  6. When the Victim is a Guest on the Property

    When a victim of an accident at a home or on the property of another person is injured or killed, the homeowner may be liable if he or she was negligent. In California, homeowners owe a general duty of care to all visitors of their homes. Under Rowland v. Christian, the homeowner’s duty is not lessened depending on the status of the visitor. In that case, a person who was a guest of another injured his hand on a broken faucet and sued his friend. The person whose apartment it was had complained to his landlord about the broken faucet, but he did not warn his guest. The lower court dismissed the case, and the injured plaintiff appealed. The California Supreme Court found that the apartment’s tenant had a duty to warn his guest about the broken faucet and reversed the lower court’s decision.

    The case changed the way that courts had previously treated the homeowner’s duty of care. Under the common law, homeowners had previously owed differing duties of care to people depending on if they were trespassers, invitees or licensees. The Supreme Court’s decision instead changed the standard of care that is owed to one of general negligence.

In order to prevail on a premises liability claim against a California homeowner, an injured plaintiff will have to prove the following:

  • There was a hazardous condition on the property that created an unreasonable risk of injury
  • The defendant either knew or reasonably should have known about the hazardous condition
  • The defendant failed to fix the condition, protect people from it or to give adequate warning about its existence

If the plaintiff is able to prove these things, then the plaintiff will have proved that the defendant was negligent. After proving the homeowner’s negligence, the plaintiff will then have to show that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of the accident and the resulting harm that was suffered by the plaintiff.

Getting Legal Help

If you have been injured on the property of another person, it is important that you speak to an experienced personal injury attorney who accepts premises liability matters. An attorney may analyze what occurred and provide you with an honest assessment. He or she may work to help you to recover the amount of compensation that you deserve.

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