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Is there danger in chucking pumpkins?

Fall has arrived, and with it, the changing of leaves, the harvesting of veggies and the chucking of pumpkins. Many people in Pennsylvania are familiar with pumpkin chucking traditions, and events that involve throwing or launching gourd vegetables often occur on local farms and rural areas. But what happens if someone is hit with a flying pumpkin?

It's not a completely hypothetical question. Pumpkin festivals over the past decade have seen their share of injuries, including ATV injuries and pumpkin-related injuries. The Chunk, a festival that airs on television each year, was sued for $5.5 million in 2011 after a volunteer at the event was seriously injured in an accident involving ATVs. One report indicates that past injuries and lawsuits has even raised the liability costs of such events.

But what about pumpkin throwing events at small farms or in your neighbor's backyard? It's not uncommon for individuals to construct their own trebuchets to launch gourds across the yard.

In many cases, a pumpkin-related accident is likely to be covered under someone's home-owners or business liability policy. It would be treated similar to an accident that occurred on the property such as a slip and fall. Since pumpkin chucking might be argued to be an unnecessary or risky endeavor, though, insurance companies might at first balk at covering expenses associated with any injury.

Whether you are injured in a pumpkin-throwing accident or another fall-festival related activity, understanding how to seek compensation for damages can help you avoid continued financial turmoil associated with the incident. A legal professional can help you identify the correct defendants and lay out the most plausible claim for damages.

Source: Brownielocks, "History of The Punkin Chunkin Competition," accessed Oct. 09, 2015

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