Visitor Question

Homeowner liability for neighbor who entered property uninvited?

Submitted By: Jay (California)

I received a letter from my neighbor saying that she suffered an injury on my property 2 months ago.

According to this women, she was walking in front of my home and my parents’ dog followed her, so she picked up the dog and came onto my property to return the dog.

She said she tripped over one of my pathway lights and fell and broke her nose.

Since she came onto the property of her own will, to return my parents’ dog, am I responsible for her injuries?

My pathway lights are not in the walkway and my walkway was not wet and has no damage. She mainly tripped over her own two feet. Am I responsible for her injuries? Is there a way to fight this? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Jay,

From the facts you present, there is no negligence. For you to be liable for your neighbor’s injuries would require an act or omission by you which constituted a form of negligence.

You have three options:

First: You can give your neighbor your homeowners insurance information so she can submit an injury claim to them (presuming you are insured).

Second: Agree to pay your neighbor’s medical bills out of your own pocket.

Third: Tell the neighbor you don’t believe you were negligent, and as such will not agree to pay her medical bills.

If you decide not to give your neighbor your homeowners insurance contact information, or you decide not to pay her medical bills out of your own pocket, her options are to:

– Pay her own medical bills, or submit an injury claim to her own insurance company

– Retain an attorney to pursue an injury claim against you (because of the absence of negligence, and the relatively low amounts of apparent medical bills resulting from the broken nose, your neighbor may have a difficult time finding an attorney to represent her)

– File a lawsuit against you in small claims court

At this point, the ball is in her court.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: September 15, 2016

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