Visitor Question

Walked Into a Tree Branch on Homeowner’s Property…

Submitted By: Hattie (Columbia, SC, USA)

An ex-family member was leaving the homeowner’s house at dusk. Instead of walking down the walkway or driveway, she walked across the yard. She walked into a tree branch and injured her eye, ending up with an eye infection.

Does the homeowner have any liability for this injury since she didn’t use the walkway or driveway? 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 Hattie,

The homeowner may not be liable or negligent in any way, but homeowners insurance doesn’t require negligence. Homeowners insurance normally pays for persons injured on the homeowner’s property regardless of fault.

It will depend upon whether the ex-family member wants to pursue a claim against the property owner. If she wants to purse a legal claim she won’t have to file a lawsuit. At least not initially.

To file claim with the homeowner’s insurance the ex-family member will have to have the name of the homeowner’s insurance company. There are two ways for her to get that information. The first option is see if the homeowner will cooperate and voluntarily offer the information.

The second option will be to to consider filing a lawsuit against the homeowner.

Hopefully it won’t come to that, but if the homeowner doesn’t want to be bothered by helping the ex-family member, the possibility of a lawsuit will have to be seriously considered.

The voluntary claim, just like the lawsuit, will have to have as a basis medical bills. If the ex-family member’s eye was injured seriously enough to require medical attention those bills may be used in her claim.

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: January 29, 2012

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