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Family and dog in backyardJust because it happens in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you’re liable for the damages. But what is liability? Liability involves a third party who suffers an injury or personal property damage while in your home or as a result of your actions. Let’s look at a few examples.

In Your Home

It’s your job to keep your home in a condition that’s safe for those inside, meaning that it’s in good repair, free of excessive clutter and generally clean. If a guest suffers an injury as a result of your negligence to keep your home safe, then you could be held liable for damages. For instance, if you fail to repair the ripped up corner of a carpeted room, a guest can trip over the corner and break an arm. In such a case, you would likely be held liable since you failed to repair an obvious hazard and failed to verbally warn your guest about the hazard.

However, if a guest drops his or her own laptop on your hardwood and it shatters, you likely won’t be held liable even though it happened in your home. Unless your pet, child or a visible hazard caused the drop, it can’t be considered your fault (and your guest may even be liable for repairing any resulting damage to your floor).

Result of Your Actions

Any actions (yours, your children’s and your pet’s) that lead to the harm or property damage of a third party can result in your liability, particularly around the neighborhood. Such instances usually involve accidents, although dog bites are the number one reason for making a liability claim. Some examples may include the following:

  • A limp tree limb in your yard finally snaps off and falls onto your neighbor’s fence
  • Your child accidentally throws a baseball through the window of the neighborhood clubhouse
  • You back out of your driveway in a hurry and accidentally run down your neighbor’s child’s bike
  • Your dog chews up a swing in the neighborhood park

Because these events are directly tied to your responsibility as a homeowner, neighbor and person, you will likely be held liable for the damages and injuries that result.

However, this only goes for accidents you cause, whether directly or indirectly. If your neighbor’s tree limb falls onto his own fence, he cannot expect you to assume liability for damages that you did not cause.

Does your policy include liability coverage? Call us at 562-984-9445 for more information on Long Beach home insurance.

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