What are my rights if a shop was being painted and I was accidentally sprayed and had to be admitted to the hospital?

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What are my rights if a shop was being painted and I was accidentally sprayed and had to be admitted to the hospital?

I was having coffee outside of a coffee shop where there was a unlicensed, uninsured painter using aerosol paint for the shop owner. I was sprayed with that aerosol paint and needed 911 assistance. I was taken to the hospital with congestive heart failure and admitted for a few days. The shop owner’s insurer says there is a pollution exclusion to the policy. Could you please explain if this is pollution or an accident?

Asked on February 16, 2016 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The coffee shop is liable for your injury because it occurred on the premises.
When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor, obtain your medical bills, medical reports and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the coffee shop's insurance carrier should include those items.
Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.
If the case is settled with the coffee shop's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the coffee shop's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit based on premises liability against the coffee shop.  You would also have a second cause of action (claim) against the shop for negligence for hiring an unlicensed, uninsured painter.  You should also name the painter as a defendant in your lawsuit.  Your claim against the painter in your lawsuit would be for negligence. The coffee shop is primarily liable. 
If the case is NOT settled with the shop's insurance carrier, your lawsuit must be filed prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.
If the insurance company denies your claim based on a "pollution exclusion",  you should consider filing a bad faith claim against the insurance company.  You were injured on the premises of the coffee shop and the shop is liable.
 
 


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