Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

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LittleGreenSoldiers
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Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by LittleGreenSoldiers » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:24 am

Walking in my neighborhood this evening I could help but think about parcel delivery and a home owners liability.
Many of my neighbors have many strings of lights out for the holidays. I know extension cords are commonly strong across the lawn, front walk way and driveway. This all coincides with a steady stream of USPS, FedEx and UPS deliveries.
Then I got to thinking about my kids skateboards, soccer balls and scooters all over the place all year long.

Heaven forbid a driver trips over the extension cords, but it does make one wonder if the home owners could be liable?
Is it an insured element of their occupation?

Anyone in the know care to comment?

chevca
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by chevca » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:14 am

In today's world, I'm sure someone, somewhere would try to hold anyone liable for anything they could.

But, the parcel delivery folks, I would imagine it's just an on the job injury for them if they trip over something.

Rupert
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Rupert » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:17 am

Yes, you could be liable. UPS's worker's comp insurance company would likely pay the claim and then seek reimbursement from your insurance company.

Grasshopper
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Grasshopper » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:29 am

Yikes, this time of year UPS is coming to the ranch in the dark, drives through 2 gates and a quarter mile of 2-track. Last week on a freeze warning night he delivered some pet meds right to our door instead of leaving in a bin for late night drops. Gotta love them, at least the rattlesnakes are all sleeping.

likegarden
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by likegarden » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:46 am

We have ice and snow here. In spite of cleaning and salting, all winter someone can trip delivering to houses in my area. They have to watch out.

miamivice
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by miamivice » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:34 am

My understanding is this type of claim would fall under tort liability. I believe there are 3 criteria that must be met:

1) There must be a duty to care
2) There must have been a breach in the duty to care
3) The breach in duty must have caused an injury.

In the case of a delivery person dropping off a package, I think it'd be difficult to establish that there was a homeowner duty to provide a pathway free and clear of hazards (ice, extension cords, skateboards, etc) so a uninvited person (delivery driver, door-to-door salesman, etc) could navigate private property without risk of injury.

I think the amount of liability you carry for this type of claim would be about zero to almost none.

RudyS
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by RudyS » Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:54 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:34 am
My understanding is this type of claim would fall under tort liability. I believe there are 3 criteria that must be met:

1) There must be a duty to care
2) There must have been a breach in the duty to care
3) The breach in duty must have caused an injury.

In the case of a delivery person dropping off a package, I think it'd be difficult to establish that there was a homeowner duty to provide a pathway free and clear of hazards (ice, extension cords, skateboards, etc) so a uninvited person (delivery driver, door-to-door salesman, etc) could navigate private property without risk of injury.

I think the amount of liability you carry for this type of claim would be about zero to almost none.
Seems that if you order something to be delivered, the delivery driver is not "uninvited." IMNAL.

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LittleGreenSoldiers
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by LittleGreenSoldiers » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:00 am

RudyS wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:54 am
miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:34 am
My understanding is this type of claim would fall under tort liability. I believe there are 3 criteria that must be met:

1) There must be a duty to care
2) There must have been a breach in the duty to care
3) The breach in duty must have caused an injury.

In the case of a delivery person dropping off a package, I think it'd be difficult to establish that there was a homeowner duty to provide a pathway free and clear of hazards (ice, extension cords, skateboards, etc) so a uninvited person (delivery driver, door-to-door salesman, etc) could navigate private property without risk of injury.

I think the amount of liability you carry for this type of claim would be about zero to almost none.
Seems that if you order something to be delivered, the delivery driver is not "uninvited." IMNAL.
That's just what I was thinking. Or maybe it's the online merchant that setup the delivery. The shipping contract would be between merchant and delivery company in that case.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:09 am

1. This liability can be controlled by not installing Christmas lights.

2. On a list of potential liabilities this does not seem to me to be the worst.

3. This is why we have insurance.

koozie
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by koozie » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:41 am

I have an umbrella policy just so I don't have to worry about these things.

TwstdSista
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by TwstdSista » Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:49 am

The husband and I just dealt with this issue -- bought sand and salt to keep the driveway and walkway clear. Both for us going out to get the mail, and for the delivery persons who bring us our amazon packages. I personally see it as a liability issue, but I have a legal background and I see everything as a liability issue.

(And yes, we have both homeowners insurance and an umbrella policy)

NextMil
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by NextMil » Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:06 pm

koozie wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:41 am
I have an umbrella policy just so I don't have to worry about these things.
Bingo. Chalk it up to insure so its not a problem until its a problem that you have already accounted for. I wouldn't lose sleep over this.

RudyS
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by RudyS » Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:34 pm

TwstdSista wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:49 am
The husband and I just dealt with this issue -- bought sand and salt to keep the driveway and walkway clear. Both for us going out to get the mail, and for the delivery persons who bring us our amazon packages. I personally see it as a liability issue, but I have a legal background and I see everything as a liability issue.

(And yes, we have both homeowners insurance and an umbrella policy)
IMHO, best answer yet.

Rupert
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Rupert » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:18 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:34 am
My understanding is this type of claim would fall under tort liability. I believe there are 3 criteria that must be met:

1) There must be a duty to care
2) There must have been a breach in the duty to care
3) The breach in duty must have caused an injury.

In the case of a delivery person dropping off a package, I think it'd be difficult to establish that there was a homeowner duty to provide a pathway free and clear of hazards (ice, extension cords, skateboards, etc) so a uninvited person (delivery driver, door-to-door salesman, etc) could navigate private property without risk of injury.

I think the amount of liability you carry for this type of claim would be about zero to almost none.
I think a delivery driver would either be a licensee or an invitee. In either case, you have a duty of care. What care (and what class the delivery driver falls into) will largely depend on state law. In any event, you can sometimes be liable even for a trespasser's injuries; so I wouldn't take any chances. Keep the path to your front door free of hazards, particularly non-obvious hazards.

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BrandonBogle
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by BrandonBogle » Fri Dec 15, 2017 3:36 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 9:34 am
My understanding is this type of claim would fall under tort liability. I believe there are 3 criteria that must be met:

1) There must be a duty to care
2) There must have been a breach in the duty to care
3) The breach in duty must have caused an injury.
1. I would say the duty would be to generally (see point #2) keep clear/cared for the walkway and any steps. If the parcel person walks through the yard instead of using the walkway and trips there, I would say snow/ice there (vs. gross negligence) wouldn't matter and they should have walked in the designated walk areas.

2. This is the gray area with winter storms. I would say that if you clean it up not too long after a storm passes, you've met my litmus test. If the snow is still coming down and you haven't done anything, I wouldn't say this is a breach.

That said, IANAL and like others, I have homeowners/renters and umbrella insurance.

miamivice
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by miamivice » Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:37 pm

I think a lot of people are confusing a businesses requirement to provide a safe retail environment for customers versus a homeowners requirement to keep their home and property safe for guests.

There is very little court precedent that requires a homeowner to keep property maintained and safe for guests (invited guests, parcel delivery drivers, and solicitors). Instances where homeowners get sued because of a guests injury are almost unheard of, to my knowledge.

And, even worse, the characters injured in the original post aren't random guests, but rather, employees of a parcel delivery service. These employees are trained in safety, including how to ascertain whether a walkway is safe, based on the existence of extension cords, toys, snow/ice, etc. Their training raises the bar even higher to say that it's their responsibility to not trip, slip, or fall when conducting their business.

I really cannot fathom where UPS could successfully sue a homeowner for slip, trip, or fall incident that occurred on a homeowners property, unless the homeowner did something on purpose (in which case the police would probably be involved.)

We as homeowners are granted the freedom to live on our property as we choose, and the courts are not going to mandate that we keep our front porch clean of our kids toys, or extension cords off the walkway to the house, or the walkway free of ice.

(Note that I'm not talking about the city-owned sidewalk in front of the house that goes parallel to the street. That's a different animal.)

Rupert
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Rupert » Fri Dec 15, 2017 7:17 pm

miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:37 pm
I think a lot of people are confusing a businesses requirement to provide a safe retail environment for customers versus a homeowners requirement to keep their home and property safe for guests.

There is very little court precedent that requires a homeowner to keep property maintained and safe for guests (invited guests, parcel delivery drivers, and solicitors). Instances where homeowners get sued because of a guests injury are almost unheard of, to my knowledge.

And, even worse, the characters injured in the original post aren't random guests, but rather, employees of a parcel delivery service. These employees are trained in safety, including how to ascertain whether a walkway is safe, based on the existence of extension cords, toys, snow/ice, etc. Their training raises the bar even higher to say that it's their responsibility to not trip, slip, or fall when conducting their business.

I really cannot fathom where UPS could successfully sue a homeowner for slip, trip, or fall incident that occurred on a homeowners property, unless the homeowner did something on purpose (in which case the police would probably be involved.)

We as homeowners are granted the freedom to live on our property as we choose, and the courts are not going to mandate that we keep our front porch clean of our kids toys, or extension cords off the walkway to the house, or the walkway free of ice.

(Note that I'm not talking about the city-owned sidewalk in front of the house that goes parallel to the street. That's a different animal.)
It happened in Connecticut in recent past. UPS driver slipped on ice on walkway to house. The big issue in the case was whether the driver was an invitee or licensee. The case settled out of court. The driver was paid, but it's not possible to know how much because of the settlement.

boglerdude
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by boglerdude » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:25 am

"A United Postal Service delivery person who was unable to work again after injuring an ankle on a customer's icy driveway has settled his lawsuit for $1.1 million"

Keep your yards safe, use dash cams and security cams, and have an umbrella.

Call_Me_Op
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Call_Me_Op » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:40 am

Perhaps a more complicated (but related) question is whether a homeowner is liable if someone is injured by a hazard on a public sidewalk adjacent to the home. Any thoughts on this?
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

Yooper
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Re: Home owner liablity questions - parcel delivery

Post by Yooper » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:35 am

miamivice wrote:
Fri Dec 15, 2017 4:37 pm

Instances where homeowners get sued because of a guests injury are almost unheard of, to my knowledge.

Interesting you should say this. I got called in to my insurance agent last week for a review of my policies. When she touched on the personal liability part of my homeowners insurance I asked her, "What's the most common claim you receive?" She said that in all honesty her office has never handled a claim in her 5 years there, however she did hear that years ago there was something about a dog bite. I'm sure there's many of examples to the contrary around the country, but I was encouraged to hear that's apparently not the case in my neck of the woods.

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