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We live in a community with small yards and restrictions on putting up fences in the yards. Recently, my neighbor assembled a trampoline and I'm sure it's a couple of feet on my property. I'm not worried about a few square feet of yard, since our kids play together all the time, but I am worried that I may be liable for damages if one of our other neighbor kids was hurt on said trampoline. This is in Illinois, USA.

I know trampolines are red-flags, and would not have one in my yard, but since it's obvious who's trampoline it is, how much risk am I assuming with this situation?

EDIT: So technically the lots are organized under a "condo" association, and we most definitely have a HOA. Tramps are not addressed since they would not be considered "permanent" fixtures. My swing and slide playscape did need to be approved. No biggie.

Also, Insurance company informed me that I am not at risk in the current state of things. If it was all on my property or was operated as "my trampoline" it would be a different matter. ( I do intend to get that in writing :) )

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    You should probably ask your insurance provider (homeowner's insurance) and ask what steps, if any, you should take. If it's a liability they will let you know and tell you how to proceed... I would think. – Patrick87 Aug 16 '16 at 18:56
  • Do you have a home-owners association? – mikeazo Aug 17 '16 at 12:10
  • This is a pretty tough question to answer because the liability would depend on the situation/injury; however, as long as you make it clear that it's not your trampoline, on your property without your permission, and ask you neighbor to move it, I think you are fine.The big issues is whether your insurance would cover any claims should someone be injured and seek damages, which is addressed in the edit to your answer. Glad to hear they gave you some clarity. – Mr_V Aug 17 '16 at 15:31
  • +1 for checking with your insurer. Your liabilities are their liabilities, and its their business to know what their liabilities are. If they aren't worried, you shouldn't be worried either. – Patrick87 Aug 17 '16 at 17:21
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    " I'm not worried about a few square feet of yard" but you are entitled to be; and expressing a concern about the encroachment to your neighbor is a direct path to resolving your liability uncertainty. – user662852 Aug 18 '16 at 13:03
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Check out this article on "Attractive Nuisances"

http://realestate.findlaw.com/owning-a-home/dangers-to-children-attractive-nuisances.html

Here are some of the general requirements of something being an "Attractive Nuisance"

  • A potentially dangerous condition exists on the property
  • The landowner created or maintained the potential hazard (this one is important since you did not create nor maintain the potential hazard)
  • The landowner should have known the condition would attract children
  • The landowner should have known the condition could harm children

Generally, a landowner is not going to be held liable for the injuries of a undiscovered trespasser. Consider that word undiscovered. (aka, the landowner doesn't know someone is sneaking in and using the trampoline)

However, if a landowner knows that trespassers have been on his/her land, then these persons are discovered trespassers to whom the landowner owes "the duty of ordinary care to warn of danger."

What all this means? Anyone can always be sued for anything. If the kid jumps badly, lands on your property, gets hurt, they might have a case or the judge might see it your way. Perhaps consider the laws of "Attractive Nuisances" and "Discovered Trespassers".

To note: A lot of people might say that you can't be held liable for something like this, but that is slightly false. As a property owner you CAN be held liable for anything that happens on your property. Including someone trespassing onto your property without your permission, even to commit crimes, and hurting themselves in the process. Many court cases have ruled in favor of the law-abiding landowner, but that's not to say there is a guarantee of this. The best thing to do is always minimize your risks.

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You have another worry: Adverse possession. If it is on your property openly and notoriously for a period of time (depending upon the state) it become your neighbor's property.

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    I don't understand the downvote. Perhaps a suitable note would be called for. – user6726 Aug 17 '16 at 4:21
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    This isn't technically true, right? Adverse possession would also require the neighbor claim the property. If the neighbor doesn't claim a right to the property they have occupied then no adverse possession has taken place even if all of the required elements are there. Also, whether adverse possession may or may not occur does not necessarily address the question in a clear way. – Patrick87 Aug 17 '16 at 13:33
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    I think you're trying to answer the question by saying, "You will not have a liability issue having someone else's trampoline on your property, because soon the property the trampoline occupies will no longer be yours," but you don't say so explicitly, and without that connection back to the original problem, it looks like you're just giving advice about an unrelated issue without answering the question. – apsillers Aug 17 '16 at 15:13
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    You should be concerned because your postage stamp sized lot could get even smaller. You're biggest liability is loss of property. – user3344003 Aug 17 '16 at 16:37
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    Wait, so, I can come and build some lawn furniture on your yard, and I get a free yard? I feel like there's something you're leaving out here, like requirements for the neighbor to discuss certain conditions, and how much time he has to contest the loss of property. – Superbest Aug 19 '16 at 23:47

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