If we have a cable box in our back yard, what is the cable company’s liability for injuries sustained to a person from running into it?

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If we have a cable box in our back yard, what is the cable company’s liability for injuries sustained to a person from running into it?

It is approximately 2 feet tall by 6 inches square and approximately 4 feet out from the fence and 10 – 15 ft on either side from the edge of the yard. It is within the main activity area of the yard. The box is maintained by the cable company in the event there is an issue with the cable transmission. We have 2 kids (5 and 2 years old) that are very active in the back yard. Our oldest has run into the box and been injured, although not seriously. We would like the cable box moved but the cable company wants to charge approximately $1,000 to do so.

Asked on August 24, 2014 under Personal Injury, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

They would seem to have no liability. The box you describe is obvious--it is not a latent or hidden threat that they have a responsibility to guard against because the threat is not apparent to other people to avoid, but rather is an obvious object located in plain site. They have no more liability for it than would the telephone company for your son running into a telephone pole, the utility company for him running into a transformer, or the parking authority for him running into a parking meter at or near a playground. The responsibility rather would seem to be yours--to supervise your children, to build some enclosure around it (if you are allowed to under the terms of the easement or license giving the cable company the right to put the box there), etc.

Note however that the above assumes they have the legal right to have the box there--that is, that they have an easement or license to place it there. If they do not have the legal right (e.g. no easement) to put it into your yard, in that instance, you should be able to force them to remove it--though doing so could take a legal action which could easily cost you more than the $1,000 you would like to save.


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