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Injured While Touring A Home For Sale? Who May Be Liable

When taking a walk-through or attending an open house of a property you may want to buy, few people are thinking about being injured. But accidents and malicious behavior can happen at any time, anywhere. If it happens to you in a home for sale, here's who might be liable for your injuries. 

1. The Property Owner 

First and foremost, the party most likely responsible for the injury is the owner of the property. This is a doctrine known as premises liability. An owner is ultimately generally responsible for providing a safe environment for anyone who has been invited or permitted on the property, which includes the public welcomed at an open house. Premises liability is in effect even if the owner is not in charge of the tour or doesn't live in the home. 

2. The Bank

Unfortunately, houses that have fallen into foreclosure may be trickier when it comes to ownership. A homeowner selling, in order to desperately avoid the actual foreclosure, may still be the legal owner. Once a foreclosure is finalized, though, the bank which held the mortgage may be the owner. And in some cases, the bank could be selling the property while the owner still lives inside it, splitting liability. 

3. The Real Estate Agent

Responsibility for accident prevention is not limited to whoever owns a property. Someone else may be in control of the situation, and this creates a duty of care for them. For instance, the real estate agent managing the open house is responsible to help ensure a safe tour for everyone coming. If they noted that ice from last night's storm hasn't been cleared from the walk, they could be liable if you fall on it. 

4. Yourself

While others have a duty of care toward strangers on their property or tour, each person is also responsible for taking appropriate measures to avoid injury. So if the agent says a locked room is off limits due to construction, and your curiosity gets the better of you, they may not be held liable. In many states, they may be partially liable while any damages you get are reduced to account for your own liability.

Where to Start

No matter how you were injured while on a property, the best place to find reliable guidance now is a personal injury attorney in your state. With their help, you can determine who may be responsible for your injuries and how you can get the compensation you deserve.

For more information, contact a company like The Stubbs Law Group.