If a person slips and sustains an injury on his or her neighbor’s driveway, the property owner may be liable for the injuries incurred. Simply put, homeowners have a responsibility to keep the publicly accessible areas of their property safe from hazards. In most instances, this means ensuring that the walkway, driveway, and sidewalk are free from ice, snow, leaves, or any other slippery agents.
The Homeowner’s Responsibilities
At a minimum, a homeowner is required to warn guests of potential hazards before they arrive. If he or she fails to do this, and somebody does slip and fall, then the homeowner could be held liable for the damage.
These laws, however, do not apply to adult intruders. For a person they did not invite, homeowners typically only have the responsibility to refrain from intentionally harming that person.
What Are Damages?
In a lawsuit, damages are the amount of money for which the plaintiff is suing. The exact number is determined based on the losses the plaintiff incurred as a result of the accident, including hospital bills, transportation, and other healthcare accessories he or she paid while in recovery. In addition, lost wages and the amount the victim is owed due to “pain and suffering” also qualify as damages.
Pain and suffering is the amount of money the plaintiff believes he or she is owed because of the incalculable loss of happiness. A good way to think of pain and suffering is the amount a person would pay to not have experienced a painful injury.
It is a common misconception that homeowners only need to keep the sidewalks clear of hazards, assuming that the driveway won’t be accessed by visitors or neighbors and therefore doesn’t require maintenance. However, these homeowners fail to recognize all of the people “licensed” to enter their property.
There are many people besides neighbors who may slip on a driveway. The people licensed to go on a homeowner’s driveway may include mail carriers, delivery people, or drivers. If any of these people were to suffer an injury due to a homeowner’s poor driveway maintenance, the homeowner could be liable for the damage.
Considering a Lawsuit Against a Neighbor
If someone were to consider a lawsuit against a neighbor for an accident incurred on the neighbor’s dangerous driveway, he or she would need to consider a few things before getting started. One major consideration is the extent to which the neighbor’s insurance would cover the suit.
Often, lawsuits are thought to be prolonged and contentious ordeals. however, if the defendant’s insurance is capable of giving the plaintiff the damages he or she needs without financially harming the defendant, a lawsuit may be a short and simple way to reach an amenable conclusion between both parties.
Before starting a lawsuit, it is also important to consider whether anyone was truly responsible for the accident. If the neighbor had done his or her part in cleaning and maintaining the driveway to the best of his or her ability, then he or she is not likely to be liable for accidents that occur on the driveway.