What to do if I fell putting up a tree stand on a friend’s parents’ property but they say that their homeowner’s insurance will not pay medical bills, etc. because it was supposedly a hunting incident?

I was helping to put a tree stand up but we were not hunting. Broke a bone in leg and had to have emergency surgery and now am out of work for 24 -26 weeks. Not sure if they are telling truth. What are my choices?

Asked on November 19, 2014 under Personal Injury, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Review your friend's parents' policy with them, if they'll let you (they do not need to let you see their policy if the don't want; and they don't  need to put in a claim on your bahalf, either, if they choose to not do so): if there is an exclusion or exemption for hunting accidents in the policy, then the insurer does not have to pay. Insurance policies are contracts, and the insurer only has to pay in those situations it contracted to pay. If you don't believe your friend's parents or they won't let you see the policy, your only option is to sue them--your friend's parents--for the money, but it is very likely you'd lose anyway: a homeowner is only liable for injuries on his, her, or their land if they were negligent, or careless, in some way. If you fell while putting up a tree stand, it is very difficult to see how your friend's parents would have been negligent in causing, and therefore at fault for, you injury.

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