Take Care of Those Falling Leaves

Posted October 25th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

This time of year, falling leaves collect in yards, on driveways, and on sidewalks. As a homeowner, it’s your job to stay on top of the leaf collection, and make safe paths for pedestrians. Were you aware that you could be sued if a stranger slips and falls on the sidewalk in front of your house?

  • Many times, injured persons will sue the city or municipality for poor upkeep, but if the city can show that you failed to properly keep up your property, they may be released from liability.
  • Sometimes injured people sue both the city and the homeowner simultaneously. It usually depends on the local laws governing who is at fault for slip and fall injuries on sidewalks, and there are actually attorneys who specialize in sidewalk cases.
  • A suit could result in a claim against your homeowners insurance policy, or you may opt to pay the expenses out of pocket, if they’re not too high. A claim like this against your insurance isn’t likely to raise your premiums, but there’s nothing preventing your insurer from doing just that.
  • Burning leaves causes air pollution and is discouraged by the EPA. There may also be local ordinances banning the burning of leaves. Leaves are organic material and release carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and a number of carcinogens when burned. Hydrocarbons can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, and can contain carcinogens, which are known to cause cancer.
  • Many cities have banned the use of landfills for lawn and leaf waste. In many cases, however, the city will provide a special type of lawn and garden bag that can be used for leaf disposal. Check with your city’s website to find out how they handle leaf removal.
  • In addition to these solutions, another option is to compost your leaves. Composting aids in the breakdown of organic matter, and the resulting material can be used for mulching and fertilizing your other landscaping projects.

Many lawn mowers have bag attachments that collect both lawn trimmings and fallen leaves. This makes the collection process easier and less labor-intensive. It can still be fun, however, to go out in the yard with the kids and rake up piles of leaves that the kids love to jump and play in. Just be sure they are safe, that there are no woody bits of tree branches that could cause injury, and of course make sure they are supervised at all times. You may even find it a simple delight to join in the fun.

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