What are my wife’s rights to reimbursement for any costs resulting from an accident that caused her personal injury?

My wife cooks at a social club that we belong too; she is not on the payroll. The other day she was looking for something and someone told her that it was in another room. When we she into the room she was looked for a light switch. However, the next thing you know she fell down 15 concrete steps. She received a concussion and suffered bulging discs and ligament damage in both wrists. Come to find out that the president of club said that was an emergency exit. There are no lights in this stairwell Do we have the right to ask this club to pay for any out-of-pocket expenses that are occurring right now for me? Also, this club rents a space for the church. Should it have their own insurance or should I go to the church for this issue?

Asked on November 10, 2013 under Personal Injury, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

You can ask the club and/or the church for compensation; if they choose to not pay it, you will have to sue them to try to recover the money. The club or church would only be responsible to the extent they were negligent, or unreasonably careless, in creating an unsafe condition; so, for example, if  it would be considered unreasonably safet to have no lights in a stairwell (which may well be the case), they could be liable. Their liability will be reduced by any negligence, or carelessness, on your wife's part--for example, should she not have stepped into a dark space where she did not know the area? If a court felt that your wife was, say, 25% at fault and the club and/or churc 75% at fault, whatever your wife would have recovered at trial will be reduced by 25%.

Yes, the club *should* have its own insurance, but that doesn't mean that it did; similarly, the church *should* have insurance, but again, that doesn't guarantee they do. In any event, all you can do is ask either or both compensation and, if neither the club nor church will pay, sue them.


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