Bee Happy

Bee Stings Who Is Legally Responsible ?

Bee stings and being stung by a swarm of bees is generally a rare event, but occurrences are becoming more common in the southern portion of the United States. The development of the African killer bee strain during the 1980s has created a problem now that the bees have escaped captivity and gradually moved northward from Brazil.

They are not necessarily larger than standard honey bees, and carry less venom, but the propensity for attacking in swarms presents specific danger for any attacked individual. This is especially true for youngsters with strong dispersion systems. Reactions tend to be more intense for children than the elderly.

Deadly attacks are becoming more prevalent which means more injuries. For instance, one 62 year-old man in Texas was killed by a swarm recently. In another Texas case just this past July, a couple and their horses were viciously attacked by thousands of bees, leaving their horses dead.

The bees have even migrated as far north and east as North Carolina, as one resident has claimed the death of their family dog as a bee swarm victim in a unusal case. In another odd occurrence this past July, a swarm of bees delayed a flight at a North Carolina airport. Fortunately, no one was injured as a local beekeeper removed the insects.

However, incidents raise concerns that Africanized bees can be transported from flights leaving the tropics. In the event that someone on that flight suffered injured due to a bee sting, it may be wise for them to seek the legal counsel of a NC personal injury attorney to regarding who is legally liable in such a case.

Below are tips that may be helpful in the event of a bee attack in a place other than your home.

Seek Medial Treatment Immediately

Bee stings can be much more serious than the average individual thinks. It is important to seek medical treatment immediately because a reaction usually includes significant swelling and associated pain. Anti-inflammatory and pain medication will be needed.

Make sure the medical document explains accurately what occurred and report the incident to the police. The police may not investigate or issue a citation to a possibly responsible party, but the documentation of filing a report can help in any subsequent civil claim.

Identifying a Negligent Party

There is a definite possibility that a civil damage claim may not be winnable for any bee sting victim because the rules of civil court require the plaintiff to prove that the respondent was negligent in a reasonable duty of care responsibility.

Bees are often used by farmers for crop pollination and they normally contract a professional beekeeper to supply the bees. It is a known fact that killer bees will chase a victim up to one mile in a collective attack. Individuals who are purposely implementing bee usage for monetary growth could be found negligent if close neighbors are attacked, but a random attack from a natural swarm of unrestrained bees could be very difficult to prove.

The Burden of Proof

The plaintiff's requirement of burden of proof is key to the process of identifying a negligent party. The plaintiff must first prove that there has been an injury, which is usually done by documented medical records and police reports.

Secondly, the injury must be the direct result of the respondent's legal negligence of a reasonable duty of care. Both must be proven. It is important to understand that general property laws governing responsibility requirements of the owner may not apply.

Posted Property

Bees are not technically part of an owner's property unless the property is designated by physical posting, such as an advertisement or a "no trespassing" warning. This establishes the possibility of a reasonable assumption of risk on the part of the plaintiff. Even though the burden of proof is preponderance of the evidence, this can still be a difficult claim to prove.

There is a possibility that an investigating police officer will issue a citation after an attack and any criminal charges that may be applied to the irresponsible party will be determined by the proof burden of beyond a reasonable doubt.

A criminal filing may work to the advantage of the plaintiff because it can be transferred as material evidence to the civil case. Always be aware that the property owner will probably have insurance protection and any victim should be prepared for a strong defense from the respondent's insurance company.

One other thing is for certain. It will take an experienced personal injury attorney to win any bee sting claim, and it is best to hire a local attorney.

Jamica Bell is a freelance writer and blogger. Having experienced bee attacks first hand, she contributes this article as a way to guide individuals in determining legal liability.


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