Your Dog, Cat or Cow (Even Your Bees) Could Cost You Millions

Your Dog, Cat or Cow (Even Your Bees) Could Cost You Millions

Our law will generally hold you liable for damages only if someone else can prove that you caused them loss/damage/injury through your “fault” (intent or negligence). That seems fair and logical – if it’s your fault, you pay. If however the loss was caused by your animal/s, you are in a much more dangerous position - you can be sued on a “no fault” or “strict liability” basis - and that’s a sobering prospect. It means that bad behaviour by Maxie the Mongrel, Skollie the Cat, Daisy the Cow, or even (per an old 1926 case) your “domesticated” swarm of…
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Road Rage – Sue, and Report It!

Road Rage – Sue, and Report It!

We live in stressful times, and as our roads become busier and the pressures of modern life mount, expect more and more road rage incidents. YouTube clips of drivers brawling, beside themselves with fury, vehicles forced off the road or tail-ended by apoplectic motorists, shouting, swearing, punch-throwing, windscreen smashing, racial insults – they all make for good viewing stats but what if you are one of the unfortunate victims? Firstly, you may well have a civil claim for damages – ask your lawyer about your prospects. Both your actual monetary losses and damages for any assault and humiliation could be…
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Facebook Defamation – The Truth is not Enough!

Facebook Defamation – The Truth is not Enough!

Pretend for a moment that you are engaged in a bitter dispute – perhaps it’s a fight over money, a family feud or a messy divorce, a disaffected employee or a vengeful neighbour. You decide to resort to Social Media “to tell the truth” about your nemesis. You feel totally safe doing so – after all, our Constitution protects our rights to free speech, the Internet is a bastion of Freedom of Information, nothing said online is “real”, and anyway who can object to you telling the truth? Wrong! A recent High Court judgment in Garbade v Jan Van Niekerk…
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It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt

In a recent decision handed down by the Honorable Judge Kollapen in the Gauteng Division of the High Court of South Africa on 10 September 2015 (BJ Strydom v M W P Strecker and Another), the Court considered the extent of the legal duty on property owners / occupants in ensuring the safety of those visiting their property. The case arose due to a devastating twist of events during a social visit between the plaintiff, his then-wife, their two minor children and the defendants at the defendants’ house. One of plaintiffs’ children, referred to as “B”, had a near-drowning experience…
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Property Owners – Manage your risk of being sued

Property Owners – Manage your risk of being sued

What happens if someone is injured or killed, or suffers some other form of loss on your property? Three recent court cases highlight your risk of liability for any potential dangers that you don’t take reasonable steps to avoid. Case 1:  The landlord, the holiday let and the visitor who fell from the stairs “The lack of protection on the garage side of the stairs below the gate was an inherently dangerous state of affairs ….” (Extract from judgment) Letting out your holiday home to a tenant may be a lucrative option if you are holidaying elsewhere, or if you…
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