Slip and Fall Accident at a Private Home
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UPDATED: Feb 5, 2020
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If you injure yourself in a slip and fall accident at a private residence, you may be able to pursue a claim against the homeowner’s insurance policy or consider legal action to receive compensation for your injuries. Private homeowners can be liable for slip and fall injuries on their property if the law considers them responsible for the condition that caused the accident. Premises liability law that decides whether or not a homeowner is legally responsible for the hazardous condition can be complicated, and it can be a good idea to consult an attorney before attempting to pursue an insurance claim or legal action.
Premises Liability Law and Slip and Fall Accidents
Premises liability laws consider the relationship between the owner of the home and injured victims in order to determine if the homeowner was negligent and responsible for accidents oh his property. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident while in someone’s home, you are likely at the residence by the permission of the homeowner. This usually means that the homeowner must warn you of any dangers he should reasonably know about, and, if possible, correct any hazardous situations or conditions he could reasonably know about. If your slip and fall accident was the result of a condition the homeowner should have told you about or should have known about, then you may be entitled to compensation.
If you are a trespasser on the home, then the homeowner does not owe you a duty to keep you safe. The only duty homeowners owe adult trespassers is to avoid creating dangerous conditions on which the trespasser could be injured. If your child trespassed on a neighbors property to access an attraction such as a pool, trampoline, or play set, then the neighbor could be liable for injuries to the child. Known as “attractive nuisances,” homeowners are liable for a child’s injuries that occur on objects on property that draw childrens’ attention. Anytime a child is injured in a slip and fall accident, you should work with an attorney familiar with personal injury law.
What to do After a Slip and Fall in a Home
What you do after a slip and fall accident will be critical to the success or failure of your insurance claim or lawsuit. Keep the following tips in mind before you take action to pursue compensation for your injuries:
- Take pictures of the slip and fall accident scene
- Get contact information for witnesses
- Get the homeowner’s insurance information
- Get the necessary medical attention
- Keep track of all costs
It is also critical that you are very careful about what you say after a slip and fall accident. Statements such as “I’m fine,” or “It is ok” may seem common responses after any accident, an insurance company or an attorney can use that type of language to downplay the severity of your injuries and reduce the amount of money you receive. Additionally, you need to be very careful when speaking with an insurance company after a slip and fall accident. You should only provide insurance representatives with the straightforward facts of your injury – do not give information they do not ask for and do not provide your assessment of the situation. Stick to the facts, and consult an experienced attorney for assistance.
Lawsuits Against Homeowners
Beyond the legal process, suing a homeowner can be difficult for personal reasons, particularly if the person is a neighbor, relative, or friend. The reality is, most homeowners have homeowners insurance so when you are suing them, you are likely going to actually be suing the insurance company for compensation. Unless their insurance policy is inadequate or your injury is unusually serious, homeowners may not need to pay for your injuries. While the relationship between you and the homeowner can still be a little touchy, it is important to consider the consequences of not filing a lawsuit– primarily your inability to pay the costs of the injury you suffer.
If you believe you might have a valid legal claim after any injury, it is imperative you consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to protect your right to recover damages. Attorneys familiar with slip and fall accidents and with insurance companies typically offer free consultations that do not obligate you to hire.
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