Are You Liable When a Bee Stings Someone on Your Property?

Approximately 2 million Americans have allergies to bees, wasps and other flying insects with stings, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 100 Americans die each year in the aftermath of anaphylactic shock brought on by bee stings. If someone is stung by a bee on your property, might you be held responsible for injuries that person sustains? Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to clarify the issues that are involved.

Proving Negligence

In order to prove negligence in a personal injury lawsuit, three conditions must be demonstrated:

• The plaintiff had the duty to exercise reasonable care, which he or she neglected.
• The defendant was injured by this neglect and suffered damages.
• The injury was the proximal cause of those damages.

Property owners have the duty to warn visitors of any potential hazards on their property. In the case of bee stings, it might be argued that this duty would pertain if the property owner keeps bees as a hobby or is aware of the existence of a wild beehive on his or her property. A warning gives people with bee allergies the ability to modify their own behavior either by avoiding the property altogether or by remaining inside. If a person with a bee allergy is stung but that sting does not take place on the property where a beehive is known to be, it may be very difficult to win a personal injury case since bees travel long distances, and it can be impossible to prove whether or not a bee came from a particular hive.

Not Knowing About Hazards

The popularity of beekeeping as a hobby is on the wane. The city of Las Vegas outlawed the pastime in 1997, citing fears over Africanized honey bees. If you don’t definitively know a hive exists on your property, you can’t warn your guests. That may provide a counter-argument for many owners on whose property bee stings take place.