Heavy Winds, Trash Can Spills, And Homeowner Negligence Questions
Civil liability law tends to be anything but indecisive or ambiguous in its statutory definitions. Anyone provably guilty of negligence may find themself liable for civil damages. Legitimate questions do arise whether someone was negligent and to what degree. For example, if heavy winds rolled into town on "trash day," could someone face civil actions for injuries caused by garbage spilled by the wind? Circumstances vary, but there are instances where a homeowner becomes liable, in whole or in part.
Trash Spills, Serious Injuries, And Negligence
If winds blow over a trash can and send debris into the street, slip-and-fall accidents, car or bicycle crashes, or other incidents could occur. Persons injured may seek compensation for their injuries, although proving negligence usually factors into any judgments. If a homeowner follows all local rules for putting trash out, and someone knocks the cans over, but the homeowner has no idea what happened, then they did not create the hazard. So, litigation may prove difficult for the plaintiff. However, when the homeowner engages in egregious or avoidable behavior, negligence claims may be reasonable.
Expecting the Heavy Wind Storms
If a homeowner knows that heavy winds will be arriving, then they may be considered negligent. Local ordinances may say homeowners can put trash out in the evening and before 10 AM. Putting trash out at 8 PM on a night of potentially heavy winds could be reflective of an avoidable decision. The same could be true when the homeowner knows winds tend to knock trash cans over.
The "Packaging of the Trash"
Why did the trash and debris fly all over the street? While the wind may have knocked over the trash can, the way the homeowner packed the trash could affect results. For example, dumping loose trash into a three-foot-high trash can until the can is entirely full may be indicative of lack of care and poor judgment. Once tipped over, loose trash ends up spilling out. The wind could carry the trash throughout the street. Placing the refuse inside a trash bag would prevent problems, as the debris would be inside the bag. Also, a well-fitting lid could keep the bag and trash in place. And did the homeowner make any attempts to clean up the spilled trash?
Numerous questions may come up. If a personal injury attorney can prove negligence, the defendant or the insurance company might need to pay. Contact a personal injury lawyer for more information.