Homeowners should always strive to reduce the risk of window well injuries on their property, as such incidents could cause serious harm to others and expose the homeowner to potential lawsuits. Various circumstances can help determine your level of risk and your options for mitigating it.
How Deep Are Your Window Wells?
The allowed depth of the window well is determined by the municipality’s building code. If the basement is finished and habitable, local laws will require egress windows to be deep enough for a person to evacuate in the event of a fire. A window this size usually must be installed in every bedroom. If the lower level has a walkout doorway, installed windows may not have to be constructed as deep, but some homeowners choose to insert larger windows anyway for better lighting. When windows are large enough to meet evacuation code standards, the window well’s depth can reach 3 feet. If a young child fell 3 feet or more into the hole, he or she could suffer head trauma, broken bones or worse. Even if an adult mistakenly slipped into a deep well, he or she might have to visit the emergency room for a cut, sprain or more serious injury.
Liability of Homeowners
As a homeowner, when are you liable for accidental injuries on your property? First of all, it’s important to categorize the people on your property susceptible to injury. If you invite someone to come to your house, he or she is considered a licensee. For people you permit on your property, you bear the burden of warning them of potential injuries, or removing any injury threat.
The second category of people allowed on your property is called business invitees. An example of a business invitee is a remodeling contractor or plumber. You have a stricter responsibility to business invitees on your property. You cannot just warn them of potential injurious hazards, you have a duty to repair the issue first.
The third category of people is trespassers. Since they enter your property of their own volition and do not have your permission, you have zero liability if they experience an injury at your home. Of course, each state and local town may have its own restrictions on the definition of a trespasser. In some cases, once homeowners are aware a trespasser is present, they are required by law to inform him or her of any danger.
How Can Homeowners Prevent Injuries?
To err on the side of caution, homeowners should always take care to prevent window well injuries in all categories. The primary method of protection against falls is window well covers. Installing a custom-fit cover that adheres to fire safety regulations will ensure the safety of people outside and inside the window.
Consult with Windowell Expressions on how to craft a customized window well cover for your basement windows. Homeowners can reduce the risk of window well injuries on their property when a fitted, secure cover is properly installed.