Slip and Fall Accidents in a Private Residence

Slip and Falls Hazards Abound around the home
Slip and fall claims proceed against the homeowners insurance policy.

It is not uncommon for guests to suffer injuries while at a private residence.  Often times, this will be the home of a friend or relative. These types of accidents are broadly referred to as slip and fall accidents.  However, they can involve all manner of accidents that do not necessarily involve a slip or a fall.  The correct legal term for the claims associated with these kinds of accidents is premises liability claim.

An accident at a private residence raises a host of issues.  First, it may be a little awkward, embarrassing or even intimidating to raise the issue of a legal claim to a friend, family member or other acquaintance.

Once you understand the process,these concerns should be alleviated and you can get to the other issues, first and foremost of which will be figuring out the insurance issues.  An personal injury attorney experienced with premises liability claims will be able to help.

Private Residence Insurance Options for Slip and Fall Accidents

LIke many personal injury claims, compensation is dictated largely by insurance. It is rare that a premises liability suit would go after personal assets above and beyond the homeowner’s insurance.

Keep in mind that the claim is a claim against insurance.  It would be rare that the suit would go after personal assets above and beyond insurance.  Keep in mind also that it is either you or the insurance company that will bear the burden of your injuries and damages such as medical expenses and lost income.

This brings us to the next and perhaps most critical issue which is whether or not there is insurance.  Most homeowner’s will carry homeowner’s insurance.  In fact, this may be required by the terms of their mortgage.  Many renters, if they are smart, will carry renter’s insurance which has liability coverage similar to homeowner’s.

Homeowners Insurance Declaration Page

The homeowners declaration page will outline the coverage, the most important aspect of which is the liabily coverage.

There are a number of important steps in a slip and fall accident.  For our purposes here, the first is to identify any available insurance.  You should put the insurance carrier on notice of possible claims.  You should also request a copy of the declaration page which will tell you what kind of coverage is available as well as the policy limits on each.  This is important for a number of reasons.

First, this policy limits information will give you an idea of what kind of recovery you may expect and whether the coverage will be sufficient to fully compensate you for all your injuries and damages.  Most homeowner’s polices will have a minimum of $100,000 in coverage which should be sufficient to cover all but very serious personal injury claims.

Medical Treatment Options on Slip and Fall Injuries

The most immediate concern is often medical care for your injuries. There may be options under the homeowner’s policy. If not, there may be other possible means as well.

The liability is coverage is important for the ultimate compensation for your injuries.  However, you will likely have more immediate concerns such as getting medical treatment for your injuries. This is particularly so if you have no medical insurance.

You may be able to invoke some benefits under the homeowner’s policy immediately.  Homeowners and renters may have “no fault: medical payment coverage (MedPay coverage) provisions.  No-Fault MedPay would cover your medical expenses up to the coverage limits so that you are able to get treatment immediately without having to first prove fault.  Not all policies have this coverage but it is very helpful if you have no medical insurance or other means for obtaining treatment so it is certainly worth the inquiry.

In the event that there is no MedPay coverage, and in the absence of insurance, it may still be possible to get medical treatment for your injuries in advance of settlement or trial.  There are medical providers that will treat injured individuals on a letter of protection from the person’s attorney.   A letter of protection is a letter from the attorney to the medical provider that agrees to pay the provider from the proceeds of settlement or trial.

Don’t Go it Alone – Seek Legal Guidance

Keep in mind that it is important to seek treatment immediately after the accident or as soon as the injuries are apparent.  Delay in treatment can impede recovery.  A delay might also weaken your claim as an insurance adjuster may argue that the delay in treatment indicates a lack of real injuries.  An experienced injury attorney will be able to help you identify these medical providers so that you can obtain necessary treatment as soon as possible.

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