As a homeowner what is my liability if someone falls and hurts themselves on my property?

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As a homeowner what is my liability if someone falls and hurts themselves on my property?

My neighbor fell on my deck going into my home on a slight incline ramp. She has with a pre-existing condition (knees replaced but having alot of medical issues). She needs surgery;she broke her Achilles heel (tendon) and will be laid up for 6 months. How responsible am I?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Personal Injury, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As the owner of the property, you would be liable for your neighbor's injuries due to her fall even if she had the pre-existing condition. 

It would be advisable to contact your insurance company and the insurance company will handle the matter for you.  Your liability would include the medical bills, wage loss, and compensation for pain and suffering.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for any documented wage loss is straight reimbursement.  Compensation for pain and suffering is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your neighbor's injuries and will determine the amount of compensation she receives for pain and suffering.  When she completes her medical treatment and is released by the doctor or is declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary which means no further improvement is anticipated, that would be the appropriate time for her personal injury claim.  If she is dissatisfied with settlement offers from your insurance company, she could file a lawsuit against you for negligence.  If that happens, your insurance company will provide you with an attorney at no cost to you.  The insurance company will handle the litigation.  If the case is settled, no lawsuit is filed.  If your neighbor files a lawsuit against you, she will need to file her lawsuit prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or she will lose her rights forever in the matter.


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