Should we file a claim to pay medical bills of a man who was injured on our property – when it wasn’t our fault he got hurt?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Aug 4, 2012

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Insurance Question from Cedar Pass, UT

Asked on 08/04/2012

Should we file a claim to pay medical bills of a man who was injured on our property – when it wasn’t our fault he got hurt? A handyman we hired for a completely separate job decided to help us move a fridge (without us asking him), and fell and hurt his knee. Months later, he called us and said he'd had a staph infection/surgery for the injury. Being self-employed, he has no medical insurance and hospital bills totaling $27,000. He has asked us to make a claim on our homeowners insurance to help with his bills. Will our premiums rise? If we use liability, wouldn't we be admitting guilt when it wasn't our fault he was hurt? If we use medical payments, would the $1000 payout even be worth the trouble?

Answer given on August 08, 2012

If someone is injured on your property and he contacted you regarding the claim, it is in your best interests to file a claim with your insurance company. Even though you did not ask him to help you move the refrigerator, you accepted his offer to help and he was injured while helping you. Filing the claim does not mean you are admitting guilt.A liability claim may or may not affect your rates. Most insurance companies do not raise your rates for this, but some might. However, you should report the claim to your company. The adjuster will investigate the claim and determine if there is legal liability for the injury. If the insurance company denies the claim and the man then files a suit against you, the insurance company will defend you in court and if a judgement is made against you, the insurance company will pay the amount determined in court.

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