Gas Grill Injuries Over the 4th of July Holiday

Nothing says summer like grilling in the backyard. Summertime is a great time to fire up the grill and invite some friends over for a barbecue. With the holiday weekend fast approaching maybe you have thought about inviting some friends and family over for a cookout, or are planning on going to a friends house for an evening meal. July is the peak month for grilling fires, followed by May, June & August. That being said before you fire up the grill you should take some precautions.

Causes of Grill Fires

Three out of five households own a gas grill which means that if you are going over to a friend’s or family member’s house it is very likely that they are going to have a grill in the backyard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2014,16,600 patients went to emergency rooms because of injuries involving grills. Each year there is an average of 8,900 home fires that care caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns.  With the Fourth of July weekend coming up in the peak month for grill fires, you should take some precautions if you have a grill in your own backyard.

The leading causes of grill fires were:

  • Failing to clean the grill – Failing to clean a grill is a major cause of fires and subsequent injuries. Over the winter or after use there can be debris and dirt that has become lodged in the components of the grill which can lead to fires and explosions.
  • Grill Placement – You should be careful where you place your grill in your yard. Many people naturally place a grill next to another structure. However, grills can become very hot which can cause burns not only to your skin but can also cause structure fires.

In addition, you should be careful about having children or others in close proximity to a grill.

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Injured on Someone’s Property

The American Automobile Association (AAA), which has estimated in the past few years that 41 million U.S. residents will take at least one trip during the Fourth of July weekend and that, this trip will be on average 50 miles or longer. This means that most people will be making some trip this holiday weekend and be at another person’s house. But what happens if you are injured when you are there.

Premises liability” refers to the “liability . . . of the owner/occupier of the premises where [an] injury occurs.”  Thomas v. E-Z Mart Stores, Inc., 102 P.3d 133, 136 (Okla. 2004).  An action against a landowner for premises liability sounds in tort for negligence whereby a plaintiff must establish four foundational elements: (1) a duty owed to the plaintiff by the defendant landowner; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) damages; and (4) causation—the damages must result from the breach of the duty owed

It is important to note that there are different classifications of people who may be on another’s property.

  • Trespasser – Is the first class of people who may be on another’s property, but is probably not the type that you will encounter on the Fourth of July Weekend. Generally, a landowner has no duty to may its premises safe for a trespasser and is not subject to liability for any injury to a trespasser Okla. Stat. tit. 76 Sec. 80 Safety of Land or Premises – Liability to Trespasser – Child Trespasser (Oklahoma Statutes (2015 Edition))
  • Invitee – An invitee is one who is on the premises at the express or implied invitation of the owner/occupant thereof for some purpose in which the owner/ occupant has some interest of business or commercial significance, which business may be of mutual interest, or in connection with the owner’s/ occupant’s business. OUJI Instruction No. 11.3 – INVITEE- DEFINED An invitee is one who comes upon the premises of another under the authority of an express or implied invitation. Where a person comes onto the premises of another and there is a common interest or mutual advantage, an invitation is inferred and the term business invitee is often used. McKinney v. Harrington, 855 P.2d 602, 604 (Okla. 1993) One important exception to note for premises liability is that the owner or occupier of land has no duty to protect invitees from or warn them of any dangerous condition that is open and obvious, as such a danger is ordinarily readily observable by invitees.
  • Licensee – a licensee is one who is on the premises of another by permission that is either expressed or implied of the owner/occupant thereof for purposes in which the owner occupant has no business or commercial business or commercial interest. A licensee is one who goes onto the property of another for his own benefit with the implied or the express permission of the landowner. The landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to disclose to the licensee the existence of dangerous conditions known to the owner that are unlikely to be discovered by the licensee; this duty extends to conditions and defects that are hidden dangers, traps, snares, and the like. Thomas v. E-Z Mart Stores, Inc., 102 P.3d 133 (Okla. 2004)

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In most cases when you have people over your house or you go to another person’s house you are most likely going to be considered a licensee, this means that if people are on your property you should warn them of any dangerous conditions on your property that you are aware of.  However, this does not mean that you should not be cautious on your own property or others, gas grill injuries send hundred of people to the emergency room every year.

Call our Lawyers in OKC for a Free Consultation

To set up a free, private legal consultation, call the Oklahoma City attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040. You will not be charged any fees for your initial consultation, and we will keep your information confidential.