Important Factors to Consider
If you have a slip and fall accident at a private home and are injured, will homeowners insurance cover a personal injury claim? There are several important factors to consider.
The first thing you should consider regarding your slip and fall claim is whether or not there was negligence or fault on the part of the homeowner. Without the presence of negligence, your claim’s chances of success are slim to none. In other words, without negligence, you won’t have a case. Typically, there are four required elements in a negligence claim:
- Duty of care;
- Breach of that duty;
- Damages; and
- A causal relationship between the duty of care and the damages in question.
It is important to note that the duty of care that is owed by a residential homeowner is not the same duty of care owed by a commercial business that invites people onto its premises for business purposes. The duty of a homeowner is a lower duty of care.
In the case of a residential homeowner, the duty of care to person’s coming on the property is to either make the property safe from conditions that the homeowner knows are dangerous or to warn people on the property of the dangerous condition. In a slip and fall claim, a property owner may breach that duty by knowingly having an unsafe and unmarked hazard such as a stairwell — and failing to warn guests about it. If a guest slips on the damaged stairwell, falls, and breaks their arm, the other elements for a negligence claim are present. There is real damage in the form of physical injury, and the direct cause of the injury was a combination of the dangerous stairwell and the failure to warn of said danger.
II. Duty to Warn
If we take the aforementioned example and alter it a little bit, we can see a situation where the homeowner did not act negligently. Consider the above example, but imagine that the homeowner physically cordoned off the stairwell and placed a “Do Not Enter. DANGER!” sign at the top and bottom of the stairwell. If you were a guest in that situation and proceeded down the stairs despite the warnings, the negligent behavior is yours. As a result, in all likelihood, you would not have a slip and fall claim against the homeowner if you ignored their warnings.
If you are not sure whether or not the homeowner acted negligently, consult with an injury lawyer. They will listen to your story and provide a clear answer on whether your claim has a chance of success.
What to Do When You Are Injured at Someone’s Home
If you slip and fall at someone else’s house and you are injured, you should let the homeowner know and retain the services of an injury lawyer as soon as possible so that the lawyer can file a claim. When possible, you should take photos of the condition you consider dangerous. Most importantly of course, before anything else, you should seek any emergency medical care that you need. Time is always of the essence when it comes to your health.
I. Speak With the Homeowner About Their Insurance
If possible, you should speak with the homeowner about their homeowners insurance policy. Most people do have a homeowners insurance policy. As a condition of a mortgage, essentially all lenders require borrowers to get homeowners insurance. That aside, most people who own their homes outright also have homeowners insurance policies. Get the homeowner’s personal information, along with their insurer’s information and the address of the property so the injury can be reported to the insurer by counsel.
II. Report the Injury
Next, through your lawyer, the accident will be reported to the homeowner’s insurer. They will assign a claims adjuster to the case to review your claim. Then, the adjuster determines what they feel the claim is worth. If they offer you a settlement that doesn’t fully cover your damages, your lawyer will continue to negotiate on your behalf. If negotiations come to a standstill, your lawyer can initiate legal proceedings as soon as possible.
III. If You Receive Pushback From the Homeowner
Sometimes, homeowners are reluctant to give their insurance information out. They may want to handle the matter personally, or they may be worried about their insurance rates going up. If a homeowner refuses to provide information about their insurance, your injury attorney will contact them, advising that you are being represented and that they should forward your information to their homeowners insurance company. If the homeowner does not respond after adequate notification, your attorney may need to file a lawsuit on your behalf.
IV. Other Issues To Consider
Even if you cannot prove negligence or fault against the homeowner, in some cases, if you do not have your own health insurance, some homeowners policies will provide some limited medical coverage without regard to fault. You should ask your injury attorney about medical payment coverage.
Petro Cohen Takes Personal Injury Personally
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we take personal injury personally. Our injury attorneys have decades of experience in this dynamic practice area and have handled thousands of personal injury cases with successful outcomes for our clients, fighting hard to recover fair compensation and appropriate medical care for their injuries.
We understand that oftentimes, serious personal injuries, including a slip and fall injury, can be life-changing, requiring extended medical treatment and putting a strain on your finances. We believe that your focus should be on getting better. In fact, we will work with you to make sure you are receiving the proper medical treatment, and obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled.
Susan Petro, who heads the Personal Injury Department and is also the Managing Attorney at Petro Cohen, along with Rich Gaeckle and Mike Veneziani, will handle your injury case, fighting for full and fair compensation. Our attorneys have dealt with a wide variety of serious personal injury claims. Whether your injury resulted from a slip and fall accident or other types of injuries such as an automobile, truck, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, or a construction site accident, we can assist. We have also successfully handled many claims against public entities, dog bite injuries, maritime personal injury and boating accident cases, pedestrian injuries, premises liability claims, and traumatic brain injuries.
To discuss your slip and fall or other serious personal injury cases, contact Petro Cohen, P.C. today by calling us at 888-675-7607 or by emailing us at info@PetroCohen.com