Is there a law that requires the trampoline to be anchored? 4 Answers as of May 20, 2014

My neighbor's dilapidated, partially erect, unanchored trampoline in his back yard was caught up by a gust of wind on a breezy day (wind approximately 20 mph). It swept over our adjoining fence (thus damaged), hit the corner of my tile roof (thus damaged), went across my front yard and hit my truck and punctured the windshield (2" hole), put two dents in the body and scraped across the hood of a visitor's car also denting it. The trampoline continued to roll into the adjoining fence (thus damaged) shared with my neighbor on the other side of my property. It finally came to rest in his back yard. The trampoline was 15' in diameter and approximately 150 – 200 lbs. My neighbor's insurance agent told me that unless the trampoline owner's manual directed that the trampoline be anchored that my neighbor would not be found to be negligent, thus the insurance company would not pay for damages. However, in the passage of time since purchase, my neighbor does not have the manual nor even remember the make of the trampoline, only that it was bought at a store and we know the manufacturers/suppliers change often.

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James M. Chandler | James M. Chandler
Your neighbor could be found to be negligent. A court or jury could find that your neighbor should have known that because the trampoline was not anchored, a wind could blow it away and cause damage.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
There probably is no law as to that particular item. Most laws are very general so as to include as many objects as possible. But the insurance agent is not telling you the full truth. The law of torts requires that there be no negligence that a person act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances. So the question is whether a reasonable person would have anchored it down. Factors to look at include whether it previously has moved in the wind, how windy the area is and how often it is windy enough to move it, whether when using it it moves when someone bounces up and down on it, how difficult it would be to tie it down, what type of danger it would cause if moved, how close to your property it is, what the manufacture's direction state, etc. What other manufactures state should be done is some evidence of what should have been done. Without knowing the answers to these questions and others, I can not say whether there is negligence or not, but the insurance agent can not either. If you have insurance, make a claim on your policy [there should be no increase in rates because you were not at fault, but check with their underwriting department first] and let your carrier fight it out with his.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Law Ofices of Edwin K. Niles | Edwin K. Niles
Typical insurance response: If there is any way to say no, we'll say no. In my view, it's not a matter of the manual, but of reasonableness. Negligence could be defined as the failure to use reasonable care. It seems to me that this was foreseeable, thus there was negligence. Your only remedy is a lawsuit. Depending on the amount of damages you might consider filing in Small Claims Court.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
Frank Law Group, P.C.
Frank Law Group, P.C. | Brett E. Rosenthal
I believe the neighbor's insurance agent is wrong, unless this is something that is wholly unanticipated than whether the owner's manual specifies anchoring or not, he would be liable. It's the same rationale as a tree from your neighbor's property that falls over your fence damaging personal property or other items on your side. As long as he had some warning, ie. news cast indicated was going to be windy than if something from your neighbor's property is blown from his property and causes damage, than I believe and legally could be liable. Understand it is not a slam dunk, but he (neighbor) has a duty to control his property to prevent causing damage to yours or other neighbors. Also, the insurance agent is not a claims person, so would contact your neighbor's carrier's claims department and report the incident and that you have a property damage claim. The agent is not the person responsible for making that call. Further, assume you have homeowners insurance and if so given you have a first party (contractual) relationship with your carrier, don't do their job for them. In other words, you should submit your property damage claim to your carrier and let them pay it, although depending on your coverage there may be deductible which they may not pay, then let your carrier do its job and go collect that damage payment from your neighbors carrier (subrogate). Your carrier has an obligation based on the contract that you have with them to treat you fairly, whereas, the neighbors carrier does not.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/20/2014
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