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Liabilities Outside Your Home

feldman_amy Amy Feldman
Amy E. Feldman is a business commentator and legal business...
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By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - We know you can be sued for an accident that happens in your house. But what about outside your house?

And you thought your family gatherings were misery fests…

A Rahway, New Jersey woman was hosting a family picnic at her house when a relative left the house to go fetch cigarettes from her car on the driveway. Because the steps out of the house were not standard size, the cigarette fiend (aka Aunt Phyllis) missed a step to the sidewalk and injured her wrists requiring surgery. But rather than either feeling embarrassed or vowing to give up cigarette smoking, Aunt Phyllis sued. And despite the fact that the accident occurred outside the house and she fell onto the municipal sidewalk, the Court has held that the jury will decide if the hostess or, as Aunt Phyllis likes to call her, the Defendant, knew about the fact that the step outside could pose a danger and should have warned anyone who came – and left – her home about it.

It’s a lesson to all of us: never host a family gathering. And make sure you are aware of the hazards in and around your home and either fix them or warn people about them.

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