Who is responsible for accidental damage to someone's personal property?

Question Details: I have a landscape company and a resident had an under-the-car protection mat lying on the driveway in a condominium community, just outside the lawn area 18-20' off the grass. As I came around the planting bed to turn on the pavement, I noticed the mat but it was too late and got sucked up into my mower, causing part of it to shred. There was no way to see it, nor enough time to stop when it came into view. The homeowner claims that we were negligent and should have been more aware, however I have been in the business 17 years and have never come across such an item nor knew of its existence. It is a dark gray and blended with the drive and it was in the shade. I feel it is the homeowner's responsibility and it is commonly know to assure the area is clear of obstacles when we on the property. She was aware we were servicing the property, as I noticed her, roughly 20 minutes prior to the incident, but was, as mentioned, unaware of her article in the drive.

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