When you're visiting a friend, neighbor, or family member, and you fall, hurting yourself, what's your next step? If the person has homeowner's insurance, you may be able to get a settlement to help pay for your medical bills from the accident. However, there are a lot of rules and regulations regarding personal injury settlements, so make sure you check out these three facts, so you know what to expect.
Not Every Accident Is Covered
You can't just file a claim or lawsuit because you tripped over your own untied shoelaces while visiting someone's property. The accident and injury need to be caused by the homeowner. In some cases, the homeowner may have purposely hurt you, such as shoving you into a fence. This type of accident is usually covered, and you may even qualify for punitive damages if the homeowner was actively trying to hurt you.
However, in most cases, the injury is a pure accident, such as falling down a damaged set of stairs. To qualify for a settlement, you and your personal injury attorney need to prove there was a dangerous condition and the homeowner didn't take steps to correct the issue or prevent injury. It doesn't necessarily matter, however, if the homeowner knew of the hazard or not. As long as the insurance agency or court determines that a reasonable person would have spotted the hazard and fixed it, the homeowner is likely responsible.
You May Be Partially Blamed for the Accident
Even if there was a clear hazard, you may be partially blamed for the accident. For example, if the porch awning collapsed on you because of damage or wear and tear, but the homeowner made no attempts to stop you from standing on the porch or even warning you of the danger, they are likely completely responsible. However, if they warned you and you still went onto the porch, it may now be partially your fault for not heading the warning.
If you are found to be partially responsible, where you live is important because you may not get a single dime. In most states, as long as you aren't more than half responsible for the accident, you still get a settlement for the medical bills. However, they may be reduced because the homeowner is only partially responsible. In some states, however, even if you are only partially responsible, you get nothing.
Visitors and Guests Are Usually Reimbursed for Injuries
According to insurance carriers and courts, when people come to your home, they are separated into different groups: visitors, guests, and trespassers. Visitors and guests are people who have a reason to be on your property. You may have invited them to visit, they may be showing up to visit or they may be there for other reasons (pest control, salesperson, delivery person, etc.). If you were considered a visitor or guest, your claim will likely be approved, if the accident is valid.
Trespassers, however, have no valid reason for being on your property. They may be using it as a shortcut, snooping, committing a crime, etc. In most cases, if you were trespassing on someone's property at the time of the accident, you get nothing. However, if the homeowner purposely hurts you without just cause, they may be considered at fault. In most cases, homeowners can only use violent force when protecting people, not belongings or property.
Getting hurt on someone else's property can be a confusing time, especially if you know them well. However, if their neglect or carelessness caused your injury, they should be held responsible for your medical bills. If you would like more information regarding personal injury claims, settlements or law, contact a personal injury attorney in your area today.Share