Can You Really Be Held Liable For Accidents That Occur On Your Property?

The More You Know?

Recently, a commercial for Farmers Insurance Company has caught my attention (probably because it’s been on so much during the Mavs’ playoff games.) I’m talking about the one where a man is dragged through the fence by his dog like something out of Beethoven, crashes into a BBQ grill, catches fire, then falls into the swimming pool. All the while, J. K. Simmons explains that you can be held liable for any accident that occurs on your property.

 

In a way, the commercial has its merits. It’s certainly a good thing for the public to be informed that they can be held liable if an accident occurs on their property. Our law firm has handled many such cases, the most common ones involving trampoline accidents or dog bites (in fact, a claim can be made against the dog owner’s homeowner insurance in any dog bite case – even one where the attack occurred off their property.)

 

Not The Whole Truth

What the Farmers ad fails to mention, however, is that the homeowner must be negligent in order for a claim to be made against them. In fact, the scenario depicted in the commercial is in no way one where a valid claim could be brought against the homeowner.

 

First of all, it doesn’t really appear that the man who ends up in the pool was actually injured. Second of all, it’s his own dog on a leash that caused the unfortunate series of events to occur. The homeowner did not cause the accident and is in no way negligent; therefore, is in no way liable for any damages. If anything, they could reasonably make a claim against the dog owner’s insurance to fix the hole in their fence.

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