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Author Topic: Saftey warning signs or not?  (Read 5143 times)
v8landy
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« on: August 10, 2008, 05:44:02 AM »

Hi

I have been trying to find a definative answer on the correct Legal requirement of do you need to put up some sort of sign that states you have bees and that you can not be held resosible for the public being stung.

Via my local assocation I have public liablity insurance, but is that enought?

I am of the mind that "out of sight out of mind" i.e if people do not know the bees are there they will not go looking for trouble, but if they see a sign of bees they will start flapping about at anything that flys past.

A bit like this you tube link (very funny), OK it will not let me post a link. Just do youtube search for "bee keeper just for laughs"



NB I am in the UK.

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SgtMaj
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2008, 06:15:51 AM »

I don't know about the laws in the UK, but here in the US, even if you put up signs, you can still be sued.  Putting up signs simply goes to show the court that you were being a responsible beekeeper, and it shifts some of the responsibility for being stung to the recipiant of the sting, which decreases the likihood of a judgement against you.  Though I tend to agree that it does increase the odds that someone will try to sue.

If you have liability insurance though, your insurance company should be willing to fight the suit on your behalf, and as long as you have more coverage than any claim being made, you would not be touchable by the plaintiffs.  The question is, how much is enough.  Well that all depends on the severity of the injury.  If a person just get's stung 1-10 times and has no severe reaction, less than 10,000 USD would be sufficient coverage, but now let's say someone that's severely allergic to bees gets stung and dies.  In that case, I would want about 4,000,000 USD in coverage.  However, in the state that I live in, the courts here would dismiss any such case, as the person who got stung is at least partially responsible for being close enough to the hive to get stung (as long as warnings are posted).  That's not the case in all states however.  California for example, will figure out the percentage of liability, and split any award by that percentage, so that if the judge decided that a bee sting was worth, say $4,000 and the courts found that the beekeeper was 25% responsible while the plaintiff was 75% responsible, the beekeeper would have to pay the plaintiff $1,000. 

Anyway, that's here, not there.  Just thought I'd share for the benefit of those here, hopefully someone else knows how it works there.
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v8landy
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« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2008, 08:56:06 AM »



8 walkers killed by cows in the last 10 years in the UK. I've never seen a sign "beware of the cows". I would be interested to know what litigation, if any, happened. And yet a cow sign is more important because Joe Public is not aware of the danger, whereas he is already wary of bees.
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BeeHopper
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2008, 09:08:40 AM »

I have warning signs indicating a " Working Honey Bee Yard " for stupid people who don't know what 15 hives and thousands of Bees flying about look like.    grin
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Jerrymac
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2008, 09:50:44 AM »

I was told once by a...  lawyer I think it was..... or police officer huh .... that I should take down my beware of dog sign. It indicated that I knew the dog was dangerous and I would be held more accountable if the dog did happen to bite someone that walked into the yard. No trespassing signs would be better.
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kathyp
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2008, 10:45:10 AM »

i like the big pictures of the revolver that i saw on a ranch fence.  that way you don't have to be specific and everyone understands.  i have never been able to find the signs smiley

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eri
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« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2008, 10:45:35 AM »

Asking an insurance salesperson if you need insurance is like asking a Christian if Christ exists/existed.

If I posted warnings about all the dangers on my property or in my house, I'd need a billboard.

If a law existed that required me to post warning signs about honeybees, I'd do it. If I were in an urban area where curious or delinquent youngsters were likely to traverse my property, I'd fence in the bee yard. As it is, I advise invited visitors to stay 10 feet from the beehive and not to stand directly in front of it.

If anyone can cite case law regarding successful lawsuits against homeowners for bee stings, please do. I couldn't find any, but I'm guessing someone might, and the details of the cases would be enlightening.
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On Pleasure
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2008, 03:10:59 PM »

I was told once by a...  lawyer I think it was..... or police officer huh .... that I should take down my beware of dog sign. It indicated that I knew the dog was dangerous and I would be held more accountable if the dog did happen to bite someone that walked into the yard. No trespassing signs would be better.

That's why I just put 'BEES' on my warning sign.  People can figure out what that means in terms of their risk of danger for themselves.  Although it really doesn't matter in the state of TN.  All I have to prove is that they were partially responsible for their own injuries.  If they are even 1% responsible, the case gets dismissed.  The bigger issue for me though, is that I just don't want any of my neighbors to get themselves stung, because if they don't, then there isn't likely to be any strained relations with them, and they aren't as likely to try and get a beekeeping ban added to the county books.
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« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2008, 04:01:36 PM »

Quote from: v8landy
8 walkers killed by cows in the last 10 years in the UK.
Holy crap. What kind of cows are you people raising over there?
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Hayesbo
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« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2008, 05:40:58 PM »

I have a neighbor that accused me of having bee hives at the house. I don't, my bee yard is 3 miles away on my parents property. I do extract there at the house and it does look like a horror movie for two days after the extraction.

The neighbor threatened to sue if anyone in his family was stung. I sent the message back that he would have to save the offending bee so that we could check it for my apaiary tag to prove it was one of mine. I haven't heard back from him yet. evil evil

best to all,  Steve
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2008, 06:47:30 PM »

Holy crap. What kind of cows are you people raising over there?

Mad cows.
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octagon
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« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2008, 07:05:01 PM »

I would put up nothing, the bees don't have a GPS and recording system when they leave the hive and how is anyone going to prove the sting is from one of your bees, will they keep the bee and have it and your queen tested for DNA.
 as i've said before, why rock the boat. if they get stung by a non african bee away from the hive, they probably deserved it.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2008, 07:28:04 PM »

I would put up nothing, the bees don't have a GPS and recording system when they leave the hive and how is anyone going to prove the sting is from one of your bees, will they keep the bee and have it and your queen tested for DNA.
 as i've said before, why rock the boat. if they get stung by a non african bee away from the hive, they probably deserved it.

Two things:

Unlike criminal court, in civil court, the plaintiff only has to have 51% likelihood that your actions led to their loss or injury... they don't have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  The fact that you have hives nearby puts that likelihood well over 51%...

Second, they don't have to sue you to cause you all kinds of problems, either.  They can lobby your county board to ban beekeeping in the county. 

Why not act with more responsibility than irresponsibility?  Not acting responsibly will always cause you more grief in the end, than acting responsibly will.
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eri
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« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2008, 08:03:49 PM »

I repeat: If anyone can cite case law regarding successful lawsuits against homeowners for bee stings, please do.

Is it possible to be, in this conversation, reacting more to the FEAR of injury and litigation than the REALITY of either?
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On Pleasure
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And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.
People of Orphalese, be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees.
woodchopper
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« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2008, 08:06:24 PM »

i like the big pictures of the revolver that i saw on a ranch fence.  that way you don't have to be specific and everyone understands.  i have never been able to find the signs smiley


Never mind the dog....beware of owner. Ann and I have that one on the back slider at our house up in Maine. Our bee yard in Maine has a sign as well as warning signs affixed to the electric fence.
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« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2008, 09:24:48 PM »

Quote from: SgtMaj
Mad cows.
No doubt... I mean, we used to sneak out into the fields at night and try to push them over, and they'd chase us around a little bit sometimes - but nobody died. It's hard for me to imagine a cow killing somebody unless you were practically handicapped or doing something abysmally stupid.
Something tells me I'm going to regret posting that comment on an open forum, because somebody is going to show up with a gut-wrenching story about how their entire family was wiped out by rampaging blood-thirsty cows, leaving them an orphan, and my comments are thoughtless and hurtfulcool


Quote from: Hayesbo
The neighbor threatened to sue if anyone in his family was stung.
Comments like that make me appreciate where I live. My neighbors all thanked me for keeping bees (some so much that it was a little embarrassing, quite frankly) and my 81-year old next-door neighbor brought me a chocolate pie last week, because she said my bees had done wonders for her flowers this year.
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octagon
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2008, 10:10:55 PM »

I would put up nothing, the bees don't have a GPS and recording system when they leave the hive and how is anyone going to prove the sting is from one of your bees, will they keep the bee and have it and your queen tested for DNA.
 as i've said before, why rock the boat. if they get stung by a non african bee away from the hive, they probably deserved it.

Two things:

Unlike criminal court, in civil court, the plaintiff only has to have 51% likelihood that your actions led to their loss or injury... they don't have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.  The fact that you have hives nearby puts that likelihood well over 51%...

Second, they don't have to sue you to cause you all kinds of problems, either.  They can lobby your county board to ban beekeeping in the county. 

Why not act with more responsibility than irresponsibility?  Not acting responsibly will always cause you more grief in the end, than acting responsibly will.
didn't know you was an attorney. I could just see them banning bees in our county, what a laugh.do you think they'll put a bounty on them so we can hunt them down in the woods like rabid foxes? get real and stop trying to scare people. we don't need any more regulations. I still stand by what i said. you do what ever you want to.
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v8landy
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« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2008, 06:51:34 AM »

Its not the cows that are the problem in the UK it is the people!

Its the same with the bees.

I do not have a problem with my neighbours and my bees, it was a coment made on a UK site.
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« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2008, 07:03:31 AM »

I think we need to make it clear here that people really need to check their local laws before assuming too much based on what they read on an internet forum. In the US, laws that cover liability, responsibility, and compensation vary radically from state to state. European law (where civil courts don't even have a provision for punitive damages) is fundamentally different as well.

If it's a major concern I'd talk to a local attorney about it, I think - but unless you have genuinely troublesome neighbors I don't think I'd consider it a major concern.
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SgtMaj
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« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2008, 07:31:28 AM »

I repeat: If anyone can cite case law regarding successful lawsuits against homeowners for bee stings, please do.

Is it possible to be, in this conversation, reacting more to the FEAR of injury and litigation than the REALITY of either?

I CAN cite cases where neighbor's of beekeepers have successfully banned the practice of beekeeping in that county.  Isn't that enough?

EDIT: I did find a case for ya... John Black and Alejandro Mercado were successfully sued for $1,591,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 punitive damages after the death of Santos Flores, Sr. who died of anaphylactic shock triggered by a bee sting in 1994.  The case was appealed and the defendants lost the appeal in 2003.  This was in Texas.
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