What are my rights if after leaving my sister’s house, I tripped on a piece of metal sticking out of the ground on her neighbor’s property?

UPDATED: Jan 22, 2014

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What are my rights if after leaving my sister’s house, I tripped on a piece of metal sticking out of the ground on her neighbor’s property?

It was bottom of the post that they didn’t remove after taking the fence down. I fell flat on injuring my elbow, my right are and my left hand. I was told that because she did not have liability in her home owners policy, she did not have a case. Is this true? Can she sue for pain and suffering and medical bills?

Asked on January 22, 2014 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF the neighbor had been negligent, or unreasonably careless, in not removing the bottom of the the post, it may be possible to successfully sue the neighbor. In determining negligence, a key considertion will be the location of the post--i.e. is it some place, like a on walkway or pathway, where somone would be expected to walk? If it's not someplace that people would be expected to walk, then it may not have been negligent to leave it there. Or even if it had been where or near where people might walk, but was obvious (e.g. stood enough out of the ground that someone would reasonably be expected to see it and avoid it), then again, it may not have been negligent to leave it (since in that case, it would not really seem to pose a hazard), and/or the comparative liability (or carelessness) of the person who tripped on an obvious post may reduce or even cancel out any possible award or judgment (since to the degree the injured person is at fault, he or she cannot collect from others).

You can sue a person without liability insurance; it just means that if you win, there is no insurance to pay, but instead, you have to collect directly from the at-fault person.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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