A Neighbor’s Child Fell Out of Our Backyard Treehouse, Who Is Responsible for the Injury?
If you have a child’s treehouse structure erected in your backyard, it no doubt allows for hours and hours of playtime for your children. But it is also a major hazard for anyone using the structure, because young children can fall out of treehouses and sustain injuries. In general, no matter how sturdy or safe your treehouse is constructed, there is a likelihood that the treehouse structure is exempt from coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Treehouse Exclusions on Homeowner’s Insurance Policies
That treehouse in your backyard is probably excluded from coverage on your insurance policy. This will not come as a surprise, because a trampoline is also possibly excluded from general coverage as well, due to the nature of being a high-risk structure on your property. You will want to discuss these special coverages with your insurance agent to be sure, and find out if there is coverage limits that meet the needs of your lifestyle. For example, there is a definite dollar amount limit as to the maximum figure that the insurer will pay out towards a covered claim if someone is injured when using these structures on your property.
You should also discuss with your insurance agent how to adjust these levels up to ensure that you have the right amount of added insurance protection for your situation (for example, having grandchildren over once a year to play in a treehouse, or your 5 children playing in the treehouse daily with friends). It may also be possible to add a personal umbrella policy to increase your liability coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy. These coverages go up to $1 million and are worth reviewing in the case of someone seriously injured on your property.
Parental Liability for a Treehouse
If a child falls out of a treehouse on your property, that family may want to bring an action against you for negligence or some other theory showing that you are responsible for paying for the child’s medical bills. By having a treehouse on your property, it is your responsibility to make sure that the structure is:
- Always in good repair
- Free from loose boards on the treehouse floor
- Without lose nails or exposed nails or hazards
- Without any rough edges to give splinters to young hands
- Without any sharp edges where a child could be hurt
- Not in danger of collapsing under the weight of children playing on the structure
Paying for Medical Bills of a Child Injured on Your Property
If a neighbor’s child is injured while playing in a treehouse on your property, you will very likely be the beneficiary of any bills that the child accrues as a result of being injured on your property. There will be a discussion with your insurance company as to whether these bills will be covered under your homeowner’s policy. But, there also may be a case that is brought against you regarding whether you were negligent, or whether the child who was injured had permission to be on the structure or not, there could be many questions related to this issue.
When you have the situation of a child who has been injured on your property from playing in a treehouse or otherwise, call Sarofiem & Antoun LLC, we are here for you. We will discuss with you your liability for any losses dealing with children who may have been injured on your property.