Tips for Property Owners to Avoid a Wild Animal Attack
People move to Arizona for a variety of reasons: great weather, mild winters, beautiful landscape, an abundance of jobs, and a reasonable cost of living. The reality of living in Arizona, however, is that you also have to contend with rattlesnakes, lizards, spiders, killer bees, bears, mountain lions, and scorpions. Over 100,000 people die annually from snake bites alone.
And the risk of a wild animal attack extends beyond just yourself. If you are a homeowner or member of a homeowner association (HOA), you could be liable for a wild animal attacking someone if it occurs on your property and you failed to take reasonable precautions to avoid it. As human populations increase and natural habitats shrink, wild animals are more likely to injure people or destroy property. So, what can you do? First, it’s essential to understand what ordinary negligence is.
What is Ordinary Negligence?
First of all, in almost all scenarios, a person must take reasonable care to not cause harm to other individuals. Those actions are typically referred to as a “duty of care.” This can vary, depending on the type of relationship between the two parties. For example, a driver has a duty of care or responsibility to drive safely to not cause harm to other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
If you fail to take reasonable precautions and it causes injury or harm to another person, you could be liable for ordinary negligence. Even if you didn’t mean to cause harm and it happened anyway, it doesn’t mean you can’t be held legally responsible. There have been many cases where someone has been held liable for ordinary negligence even when their intentions were not to cause harm.
Ordinary Negligence and Wild Animal Liability
How does ordinary negligence pertain to property owners and wild animal liability? Many communities in Arizona are located in an area where you could come into contact with a wild animal, whether it be snakes, bears, or mountain lions. An owner of a property or a homeowner association (HOA) has a responsibility to use reasonable care to ensure the property is safe for visitors.
Homeowners must take reasonable action to maintain their property, including removing items that attract dangerous animals, and keeping long grass trimmed that may otherwise conceal snakes, scorpions, spiders, etc. The responsibility lies with the property owner to discover dangerous conditions and protect those who enter the property. If you fail to do anything to warn or protect visitors or mitigate the threat through reasonable actions, you could be found negligent.
HOAs and Ordinary Negligence
In addition to property owners, Homeowners Associations (HOAs) also have a responsibility to maintain common areas in their communities. A duty of care extends to HOAs because they have to provide a safe environment for residents and visitors. HOAs could be held liable if they did not provide reasonable care to prevent harm, including adding clearly marked signs signaling the danger of an animal, securing trash, or providing timely disposal of food sources that may attract wild animals to the premises.
Taking precautions now can go a long way toward eliminating or mitigating incidents with wild animals on your property or communities.
Contact Bache & Lynch if You’ve Been Injured from a Wild Animal Attack
Have you been injured due to the negligence of a property owner or HOA? If you were involved in an attack involving a wild animal, or wish to discuss the specifics of your case (including who may be liable in the event of an attack) in a free consultation with an experienced Tucson personal injury lawyer, please contact us today.