This person came with dog's owner to
search for owner's missing dog on
our property. The person chose to walk
on an area that was not cleared and drew
the place on a map provided to us by her
personal injury lawyer. The place she
fell shown on the map is behind our house
and an area never cleared or walked on
in winter. The front of our house consists of a
heated, brick path that is always cleared and
used by visitors to front door. There is a cleared
tractor path to far le that goes to our wood
pile. She did not fall on that tractor cleared
path that is off to the far left side of house.
The place she fell in the back is never cleared
or ever used as "WALKWAY" path in winter.
ALSO, I read in your website that a person
also needs to use caution and care when
walking on uncleared a
If this person makes a claim simply turn it over to your homeowners insurance policy.
I agree regarding turning it over to your insurance. Let them figure out if there is liability - they are pretty adept at it and will look to you for info. Good luck
This response does not create a lawyer/client relationship and is not legal advice. Give me a call at 509-457-7777 for legal advice.
Easiest to turn it over to your homeowners insurance company to sort out, and don't lose sleep over it.
Your defense will likely turn on the legal status, under Vermont law, of the claimant. Relate these details to your homeowners carrier's claims adjuster. Issues of notice may become primary and your insurance counsel will get into the factual and legal details and then advise you.
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The duty of care a landowner owes to a trespasser differs from that owed to someone who is present upon the land with the owner's consent. See link below for the Vermont Supreme Court's recent decision from July 2014, which discusses this issue.
Last year, the Vermont Supreme Court abolished any legal difference between a licensee and an invitee on your premises. If the injured party was invited onto your property or, you knew of their presence and acquiesced or gave implied permission to traverse the property, you would owe the victim a reasonable duty of care for the pedestrian's safety.
The situation that you describe is extremely fact dependent. A trespasser on your property, under current Vermont law, would not be owed any duty of care on your part.
I suggest you not post further details of the incident on the Internet, but rather call your homeowners or renters insurance carrier and report the incident and the contact from the lawyer to your carrier. Let your insurance carrier investigate the matter, defend you and indemnify you if necessary.
If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.
Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
If the person fell on snow or ice in your yard (not walkway/driveway), you should submit the claim to your homeowner's insurance who will investigate and pay for an attorney for you. The injured person will, under Vermont law, be potentially negligent themselves for choosing to walk across this area and not using proper caution to protect themselves from injury. Often, in slip and fall cases, the injured person's own negligence could bar any recovery. Under Vermont law, if the injured person is 51% or more responsible for their own injury, they cannot recover any money for their injury.
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