When are you liable if someone is injured in your yard?

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When are you liable if someone is injured in your yard?

We live in a duplex. Our dog was out on her staked wire in the backyard which only allows her on our side of the yard. The neighbor has some decently trained dogs and lets her dogs out and one of the dogs came over to our side and got all tangled in the wire. Our neighbor tried to untangle them and ended up getting tangled herself. She fell and was injured. She is elderly and her wrist was broken and her knee is all swollen. She wants us to pay her medical bills. However, I spoke to some people about it who say that we did nothing wrong; our dog was restrained while hers were not.

Asked on June 6, 2014 under Personal Injury, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you would not seem to be liable, or responsible, for her injury. You are not her insurer: you would only be liable if you did something wrong--for example, were unreasonably negligent, or careless, in not fixing some dangerous condition of which you were (or should have been) aware. But in this situation, your dog was restrained in your yard; her dog was not and became tangled; she tried to untangle the dogs herself and tripped. You do not appear to have done anything wrong or to have been careless, and so should not be liable. Arguably, if anyone did anything wrong, it was her: her dog was not restrained, and she came onto your property without permission.


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