accident on property

star9763June 5, 2007

Today a guy was talking pictures of my house. I went outside to ask what he was doing. he explained that my mail carrier had fallen yesterday on my sidewalk. She had tripped on what appeared to to a newspaper bundle binder. My son does deliver the paper but it was a different color. He then said she was sitting out side for quite a few minutes and noone stopped to help her. I asked why she didn't knock on my door since I was home after 12:00.I would of helped her. She was able to walk to her truck but doesn't knock on my door. I find that odd cosidering my house was so much closer. He said she had waited in her truck for someone she knew to come. I was home and didn't notice anyone on the sidewalk. My son was home right after school with his friend they didn't notice anyone and even when they went to deliver the papers. What I am asking here can I be sued for this? It was an accident and that is part of their job to be careful so does that mean everytime they fall doing their job us homeowners have to be careful.I take care of my sidewalk including it is always shoveled when we have snow. What do you all think?


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She was on the job, should go after Workmnen's Comp [or whatever is the equivalent for a federal employee] first. But it does sound like someone might be laying the groundwork for a lawsuit.

Call your homeowners insurance rep right now and get them on the case. Don't wait til you're sued.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 1:25PM
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Sounds like this is what this person is angling for! They may be considering suing the paper delivery service too. I would call your homeowners insurance ASAP.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 4:22PM
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Agree with the other posters. Call your agent right away. If she did actually fall over something, where did it go to? I mean, if your son delivers newspapers, wouldn't he have delivered him BEFORE the mail came for the day? My mail comes after 4:00 usually, and the paper is there first thing in the morning. So, the paper is delivered by 6:00 AM at the latest, way before the paper comes.
Sounds like someone knows your son is a paperboy and sees an opportunity there.
Who was this person that was taking the picture? Did you get their name? Was there an accident report filed with the police? You should ask the police to see if they can get you a copy of whatever report the mail carrier put in with her superior. Who are these people who walked by and didn't help? Did anyone see the incident? Why didn't she leave you a note or why wasn't there a phone call? Sounds a bit like a scam to me.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 5:14PM
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I'm going to fly in the opposite direction and say DO NOT call your insurance company until you know what's happening. Notifying them once you've been served with the lawsuit is fine. They DO NOT need advanced notice. In fact, it WILL work against you if nothing ever comes of it.

Home insurance has become a huge money loser for insurers throughout most of the country. While you'd never see a direct surcharge from a claim that never materializes, you can be assured your company will keep a record of that claim...even if nothing ever comes of it.

Here's what happens, 2 years from now your son accidentally hits one of the neighbor kids while playing a pickup game of baseball in the backyard. His parents want you to pay the medical call your insurer. Perfectly normal, and your insurer will gladly pay the claim. A month before your next house insurance renewal, you get a nice letter telling you you're being dropped for too many if which is the "never happened" lawsuit.


I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to a perspective client who swears their previous claim record is spotless. Lo and behold a claim from 2 1/2 years ago shows up. When I ask them about it I always get the same repsonse..."I just called to ask them about it. I never wanted to file a claim..."

Your duty as an insured is to notify the company in the event of a claim. Right now all you've got is a stranger with a camera. Please don't say anything to your company until you know if your even involved.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 11:16AM
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Spanky67 has a point. After a hail storm I asked my insurer to check out my roof as I can't get up there. I got 2 letters (identical, dated same day) saying my 'claim' had been denied because roof was old (it was;since replaced) & any damage would be less than my deductable. So I guess asking something so innocently has flagged my acct as having filed a claim! Take a wait-n-see approach and try to find witnesses. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 4:02PM
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Federal Worker's comp is available for postal carriers. If the postman sues you, they have to pay back Federal workers comp out of the proceeds. Your insurance company would defend you and drive them nuts, they don't just hand over money. Lose no sleep over this. As Spanky says, wait until it rains before pulling out the umbrella.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2007 at 7:56PM
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First of all, I wonder where that bundle binder is that the postal carrier supposedly tripped on.

I don't have a sidewalk in front of my house, so I am not too knowledgeable about liability with sidewalks.

Keep in mind that you didn't intentionally leave an object on the sidewalk that would cause someone to trip over. You acted with reasonable care. I don't think that you can be expected to be home 24/7 watching over your sidewalk to make sure no object ever ends up on your sidewalk. I'm sure if you saw the bundle binder, you would have immediately removed it.

If the bundle binder belongs to the newspaper service, I think they hold some responsibility for making sure their carriers do not leave an item on a sidewalk or street to cause a person to have an accident.

If the postal carrier was so injured, why didn't an ambulance show up? If she tries to sue for an injury, the burden of proof falls on her to show that her injury was a direct result of the object on the sidewalk.

Definitely call the police department to see if an accident report was filed. But like others mentioned, don't report it to your insurance company until a claim is actually filed.

I don't want you to worry yourself over this.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 7:22AM
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I'm really curious now. What type of bundle binder are we talking about. I was a newspaper carrier from 95 - 2001, 7 days a week and the sunday's were huge (over 100 customers).
The binders were thin strips of plastic, a machine wrapped and sealed the strips, paper thin - 1/4" wide and usually 18" long when cut off.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 9:14AM
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This is a case where having a umbrella liability policy for your home would come in handy. mine covers house,car yard etc... Covers up to $1,000,000 in damages. It is relativly inexpensive. I get sued, the insurance pays. Standard homeowners insurance will not cover $1,000,000 in damages. That is why they sell the supplemental liability policies.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 3:53PM
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My brother received a letter from the post office stating that a letter carrier had injured his back because his "slot" mailbox in the door was too low, that he had to install a mail box. So he istalled one, even though he doesn't like the look of a mail box in front of his house. The house was built in the early 1900s, and no letter carrier has complained until now. Here's the kicker - that letter carrier is no longer his carrier (must be out on comp.) and the post office has been using....the slot in his front door!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 6:09PM
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" does that mean everytime they fall doing their job us homeowners have to be careful.I take care of my sidewalk including it is always shoveled when we have snow..."

Here's another kicker. We get lots of snow/ice in winter and a couple winters ago our local paper ran an article about homeowners and safety, etc. In that article it was stated that if someone such as a newspaper carrier or mail carrier slips/falls and is injured on a shoveled walk the homeowner could be liable because they cleared the walk. If they had left it alone and someone slipped and fell, it just would have been viewed as an 'act of God' kind of thing.

I googled it now, to see if I could find any more about that. See link below, interesting article from Ohio. What a suit happy world we live in.

Here is a link that might be useful: To shovel or not...

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 8:55AM
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Moonshadow-Funny that you mentioned this...I didnt have a chance to read the link right now-but about 25 years ago my parents insurance company was sued because a neighbor down the block fell down on the sidewalk in front of their house right after a snowstorm. The insurance company settled the claim with her (she had broken her wrist)-but let my mom know that the reason they settled was because my dad had shoveled...Had he left it alone, the woman could have sued, but wouldnt have had a chance at all of winning-as you said it would have been considered an act of god.

So-they never shoveled the public sidewalk after that-just down her front stairs to the car in the driveway....

    Bookmark   July 7, 2007 at 8:06PM
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My parents live in an area where everyone has mailboxes on their front door. They are now the only ones with a mailbox on the street and this is because the mail carrier slipped on their icy steps one winter and tried to sue them. Luckily they have home owners so the mail carrier settled with the insurance company.

My parents called the post office and said that if they ever saw a mail carrier on their property again they would sue him/her for trespassing.

My parents live in a modest neighborhood but they do have an expensive car (corvette) and I am wondering if the mail carrier thought falling on their steps would be a good idea.

My parents did not see when this happened. They both work and left in the morning and do not remember the steps being icy.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 2:30PM
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Some cities require that property owners shovel the walk that adjoins their property to keep it clear of ice and snow.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2007 at 6:24PM
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Maybe you should have gotten the picture takers name and number? Just in case this is a scam? I would also consider calling the post office to find out what was going on.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 12:25PM
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