If a family member falls off ofyour deck while putting in exterior door, what is your liability?

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If a family member falls off ofyour deck while putting in exterior door, what is your liability?

My father-in-law was helping me put in a French door. Because of the door location a 10 ft railing had to be temporarily removed. While taking the trim off the old doorframe as he grabbed and pulled some molding he lost his balance and fell off the side of the deck. As a result of his fall, he cracked some ribs and was off work for a month. I feel bad but am I or my homeowners insurance liable for anything?

Asked on November 28, 2011 under Personal Injury, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As the owner of the property, you are liable for your father-in-law's injury which occurred on your property.  You should contact your homeowner's insurance carrier.

When your father-in-law completes his medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared to be permanent and stationary which means he has reached a point where no further improvement is anticipated, he should obtain  his medical bills, medical reports and documentation of wage loss. His personal injury claim filed with your homeowner's insurance carrier will consist of these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of his injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  If your father-in-law is dissatisfied with settlement offers from the insurance company, he can reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit against you for negligence.  If that happens, your insurance carrier will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you and will handle the case for you.  If the case is settled with the insurance company, NO lawsuit is filed.  If the case is NOT settled with the insurance carrier, your father-in-law will need to file his lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or he will lose his rights forever in the matter.


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