When there's a property listed for sale, real estate agents host open houses for people to view them. As a buyer, it's a great way to view potential houses and walk through what could be your next dream house. For the seller or the real estate agent, listing a house creates many opportunities and attracts many potential buyers.
However, accidents can happen, and if someone was injured during the walk-through, the seller or the agent might end up in a legal battle. While it can be tricky to prove who's at fault in such situations, the person injured has the right to sue the property owner. Whether you're a real estate agent or someone who's looking to buy a new house, you should know what should be done in these situations. Here's what you need to know.
While there isn't a direct answer to who's responsible when a slip and fall accident happens, there are a few things that the agent and seller are responsible for. Before the agent lists an open house, they should inspect it carefully and the owner should inform the agent of any possible conditions that could be dangerous for the viewers.
If there are any hazards, the owner should inform the agent. Failing to do so, can make him the one responsible for injuries. On the other hand, if the owner told the agents about all the possible hazards inside the house and the agent failed to address them or inform potential buyers about them, the agent will be deemed at fault.
Short answer, yes. If you or any of your family members were injured while viewing a house, you can sue the real estate agent. However, it's not guaranteed that you'll win the case, as it will depend on the evidence you have. Even if you weren't severely injured, you should still take legal action because slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of death for Americans over the age of 65, even younger people are likely to get seriously harmed. A wet floor, loose carpeting, or broken stairwell railing can cause someone to slip and fall and might leave them with serious injuries. The agent should take all necessary precautions to avoid any accident.
Some accidents are inevitable, but as a real estate agent, you should make sure that the house is hazard-free and completely safe for people of all ages to view. It is the responsibility of the agent to inspect the house carefully before listing it and fix anything that could lead to injuries. If there are any hazards, an agent can put up a sign that says wet floor, fragile, don't touch, or any sign that shows that a particular area is not safe.
Open house injuries are one of the harder cases to prove in court, because there are many parties involved: the owner, the agent, and the potential buyer. Each one of them will do their best to prove that it wasn't their fault. However, if you were injured while viewing a house, and there wasn't any sign saying that it's dangerous, you have all the right to take legal action.