Five Critical Steps To Protecting Your Liability When Your Child Hosts A Playdate

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Instead of running outside and playing with a gang of neighbourhood kids, most contemporary children have planned playdates. If you are hosting a playdate, you obviously need to ensure the other child does not get hurt, but in the event that they are, you need to be prepared from a liability standpoint.

Here is what you need to consider before you host another playdate:

1. Child Restraints

From both a legal and safety perspective, children ages seven and under should be in a car seat with a five point harness, and children under 13 should be restrained and sitting in the back of the car. If you are picking up your child's friend, make sure that you have extra car seats for children in your car. If you don't have extras, borrow one from the kid's family and make sure it is installed in your vehicle correctly. Without the legally required seats, you could be judged as negligent in a personal injury case. In addition to having the right seats, make sure that you have adequate liability coverage in place.

2. Compulsory Third Party Insurance

If you get in a vehicular accident and a passenger in your car gets hurt, the passenger (or his or her guardians in this case) can hire a personal injury lawyer and take you to court. At that point, your compulsory third party (CTP) insurance kicks in. CTP is required in all Australian states, but ideally, you should shop around for the best policy to ensure you have adequate coverage.

3. Signed Permission Slips

Now that you know how to prepare for the car ride, it's time to prepare for the rest of the playdate. If you are going to a bounce house, a trampoline park or any active indoor facility, you may have to sign a liability waiver before your child or their friends are able to play. Do not sign a waiver on behalf of another child. Instead, visit the facility or its website, print out the form and have the child's parents sign it. Because you are not the guardian, you do not have the right to sign the waiver, and if anything goes wrong, you could be held responsible.

4. Occupier Liability Coverage

If you are going to your home instead of a play facility, keep in mind that accidents can happen there. If a child falls out of a tree, trips and falls or injures him or herself in any other way, his or her parent can hold you personally liable. If they take you to court for the injury, you will have to pay for a personal injury defense attorney. That alone can be extremely expensive. If you lose, you may be held responsible for the child's medical bills, time the parents had to take off work to care for the child and any ancillary costs including pain and suffering.

To ensure you do not have to bear these costs on your own, forcing you to sell your home or car, invest in occupier liability coverage. Part of many homeowner's insurance policies, occupier liability coverage covers you financially after an accident or injury by a third party in your home or on your property. If you have a dog, make sure that you have special dog bite coverage on your policy as well.

5.  Details Of Accident

If you are injured and you enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer to help you get the compensation you need, the injury attorney is likely to tell you to record as many details of the case as a possible. This imperative is also true if you are on the other side of the issue.

If an injury happens, take as many pictures as possible. Take notes on the accident while it is still clear in your memory. That way, if you need to hire a lawyer to help defend you in a personal injury case, you will have the details you need to support your defense.