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Q: I am in the process of moving out of a large home with lots of big, heavy furniture – some of which is on the second floor. Some acquaintances of mine are interested in coming over and taking a couch and a few other pieces from the upstairs but I’m concerned about allowing them to move the furniture for fear of an injury or some other issue that might result in a legal situation. Could I be sued if an accident occurred during the moving process? How should I properly handle this from a legal standpoint?
A: Nobody I know likes to move. It is really nice that you have some friends willing to help you. However, you have concerns about whether you can be held liable if one of your friends is injured during the move. There are two main theories or causes of action under which you could be sued under these circumstances.
The first cause of action is if you are negligent. Negligence can be defined as an act in an unreasonable manner or failure to act in a reasonable manner. So, if while your friends are moving furniture you give instructions that lead to an injury you may be sued for negligence and could be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.). The injured friend would have the burden of proving your negligence.
The second most common way you could be held liable in this scenario is under the theory of premise liability. Premise liability holds that you owe a duty to your invitees to maintain your home in a reasonably safe manner and free of unreasonably dangerous hazards. Here, for example, if your friend falls down your staircase and alleges that the staircase was not up-to-code and presented an unreasonable hazard you could be held liable for the resulting injuries and damages (medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.). Again, the injured friend would have the burden of proof.
As a practical matter, we all do things like having friends over (yes, I do have friends). And, there are certain risks associated with these everyday activities whether we take the time to think about them or not. A very common example is if you give a friend a ride. Suppose you accidently run a red light and cause an accident and your friend is injured. Your friend may choose to sue you for his/her injuries and damages.
If you or a loved one is injured in an accident, it always make sense to contact a personal injury lawyer for advice. Until next month, take care.
Disclaimer: The above information provided by Siesky Law Firm, PC, is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. Application of the law is highly fact sensitive and readers should consult with an attorney on legal matters.
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