If my son was injured on my neighbor’s property, can we still sue for this injury if they have no homeowner’s insurance?

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If my son was injured on my neighbor’s property, can we still sue for this injury if they have no homeowner’s insurance?

A saw blade he was using came apart cutting his face leaving him with a 10 inch scar on his face. It almost cut his ear off leaving it deformed.

Asked on November 3, 2010 under Personal Injury, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

A common misconception is that you can only sue someone who has insurance. You can sue anyone at fault (see below) in causing you injury--insurance just provides a mechanism for payment. As long as the person being sued has sufficient income or assets, you can sue with a good expectation of recovering most or all of your damages, notwithstanding the lack of insurance. So the quuestion is, could you neighbor pay a judgment against him/her/them?

Note that you may not have a cause of action, though. Someone is only liable if they were at fault. Fault depends on either an intentional bad act (assault, defamation) or negligence, which is carelessless. If the neighbor knew the saw blade was rusty, old, damaged, loose in its handle, etc., and let your son use it, he might be liable; but if the neighbor did nothing wrong, then it's difficult to see why the neighbor would be liable for the saw blade coming apart. A better bet might be to consider suing the blade's seller  or manufacturer on the basis of product liability. You should discuss this matter with an attorney. Good luck.


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