Would we be liable if someone fell from our neighbor’s elevated property onto ours?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Would we be liable if someone fell from our neighbor’s elevated property onto ours?

Our next door neighbor’s backyard is 4′-5′ above ours, with a retaining wall

between the two that is only as high as his ground level. There’s no fence or

other restraining feature to keep anyone from falling from his side. If someone

should fall from his yard into ours and get injured, would we reasonably have any

liability in that situation? We feel like there should be a fence but it would have

to be on his property to be effective. There are no particular hazards on our side

of the line, just some shrubs.

Asked on February 28, 2016 under Personal Injury, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You are right that the fence should be on his property; you are under no obligation to build a fence to protect your neighbor from a hazard on/from his own property. d on what you write, as long as you do not allow any hazards to exist on your side of the retaining wall which would enhance the injury from a fall--e.g. no files of lumber or bricks, no debris from construction, no gardening equipment there, etc.--you should not be liable.

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