Are Slip and Fall Injuries Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Bill Allen | May 19, 2022 | Slip & Fall Accidents
A slip and fall injury can occur on residential, commercial, and government property. A property owner has a duty of care to maintain safe premises for the people lawfully on their property, including homeowners.
According to Florida premises liability laws, if a homeowner breaches the duty of care, they could be liable for damages. So while you might not want to file a claim against a neighbor or friend, you might not have a choice if you sustain a severe injury on their property.
What Does a Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover?
Generally, a basic homeowners or property insurance policy covers damages to the property. However, it may also cover accidents and injuries that occur on the property.
Typically, a homeowners insurance policy includes medical payment coverage or “Med Pay.” The coverage pays for medical bills incurred when someone is injured on the property. The payments are subject to policy limits and restrictions.
Additionally, the homeowner’s insurance policy covers injuries caused by the owner’s negligence. For example, suppose the owner fails to repair the steps leading to the front door. If you slip and fall on the steps, the homeowner’s insurance may be liable for your damages.
However, as with all other insurance policies, you need to review the policy to determine any exclusions or limitations. Also, the company is only liable for damages up to the policy limits for that specific type of coverage.
Proving a Slip and Fall Case Against a Homeowner
Before the homeowner’s insurance company pays your slip and fall claim, you must prove the legal elements of a premises liability claim. Proving premises liability requires that you have evidence showing:
- The homeowner owed you a duty of care
- The homeowner breached the duty of care
- The breach of duty by the homeowner was the direct and proximate cause of your injury
- You sustained damages because of the homeowner’s breach of duty
If you are lawfully on the person’s property, the homeowner owes you a duty of care to take reasonable measures to avoid causing you injury or harm.
Breaching the duty of care means the homeowner failed to use the same level of care that a reasonable person would have used, given the situation. In premises liability cases, that generally means the property owner:
- Knew about a dangerous condition on the property; OR,
- Should have known about the dangerous condition; AND,
- Failed to correct the danger or provide adequate warning of the danger.
If you prove the elements of a premises liability claim, the homeowner’s insurance company should compensate you for your damages. Damages can include medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages. They can also include your non-economic damages or “pain and suffering.”
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident at Another Person’s Home?
If you slip and fall on another person’s property, you should:
- Report the injury to the homeowner immediately
- Take photographs and make a video of the property
- Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries
- Document your damages and injuries
- File an insurance claim with the homeowner’s insurance company if the homeowner refuses to file a claim
- Do not provide a recorded statement or answer questions on record without legal advice
- Seek legal advice from an experienced slip and fall accident lawyer
Factors that impact how much your slip and fall claim is worth include the severity of your injuries, the availability of homeowners insurance, the strength of your evidence, and whether you contributed to the cause of your injury.
If you are partially to blame for causing your injury, your compensation could be reduced according to Florida’s contributory fault laws.
What Should I Do If the Homeowner Does Not Have Homeowners Insurance?
Talk to a personal injury lawyer about the case. The attorney investigates to determine if the homeowner has the resources to pay your damages from personal funds. If not, an attorney may search for other sources of compensation for your damages.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents at Someone’s Home
There could be any number of hazards on a person’s property that could result in a slip and fall accident. Common examples of reasons for slip and fall accidents include:
- Inadequate lighting
- Wet or slippery floors
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Torn carpet or damaged flooring
- Broken steps and handrails
- Missing handrails
- Exposed wiring or cables
- Uneven or cracked pavement or concrete
- Objects in walkways and on steps
- Broken sidewalks
Most negligence claims in Florida must be filed within four years from the accident date. Even though there are a few exceptions to the statute of limitations, it is best to file your claim as soon as possible after a slip and fall injury.
Contact Our Ocala Personal Injury Law Firm in North Central Florida
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