Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. | November 22, 2022 | Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip-and-fall accident can happen anywhere, including in a private home. Your neighbor might bear premises liability if you suffer a slip and fall accident due to a dangerous condition in their home. You might be reluctant to file a claim against your neighbor if it means they will pay you compensation out of their own pocket. So will their homeowners insurance cover their personal injury liability? That depends on the circumstances.
A Homeowner’s Liability
A homeowner owes a duty of reasonable care to all visitors to the property while taking into account the circumstances of the visit. To win a slip-and-fall claim, you must prove:
- The owner owed you a duty of care. That much can be assumed under most circumstances since every adult owes a duty of reasonable care to everyone else. It might not be so clear if you were a trespasser and the owner was unaware of your presence on their property.
- The owner breached their duty of care. This might happen, for example, if the owner fails to change a lightbulb in a dark stairwell or leaves a pair of roller skates in their stairwell.
- You suffered an injury. Your medical records can prove this much.
- The owner’s breach of their duty of care caused your injuries. This element is normally uncontroversial as long as you did not contribute to your own injuries and you sought medical treatment immediately after the accident.
New York has abandoned the old distinction between invitee, licensee, and trespasser. Nevertheless, the circumstances of your presence on the owner’s property are often relevant.
Nearly all homeowners carry homeowner’s insurance, and many renters carry renter’s insurance. Both types of policies typically cover a homeowner’s liability for a slip and fall accident in the home, even if the owner was negligent.
The problem is that the minimum amount of coverage in the least expensive policies is inadequate to pay the medical expenses of a serious accident. Liability coverage typically tops out at $500 to $1,000 for these policies. Some homeowners purchase more than this minimum amount; however, there is no guarantee that the coverage will cover your entire claim.
If the Homeowner Intentionally Injured You
If the homeowner intentionally injured you by pushing you off a porch or down a flight of stairs, their homeowner’s insurance will not cover your injuries.
If the Amount of Your Claim Exceeds Policy Limits
A total of $1,000 isn’t very much for a slip-and-fall accident. If you find that the owner’s insurance policy will not cover your claim, you might have to find a second defendant who is liable for your claim.
An example of this might be the manufacturer of a defective product if the product’s defect caused your slip and fall accident. You definitely need to consult with a personal injury lawyer if you find yourself in this situation.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in the Home
Following is a description of some of the most common causes of slip-and-fall accidents in private homes:
- Failure to maintain: Some owners allow their homes to fall into disrepair. This is especially likely if they are not skilled in home repair and lack the funds to pay someone else to do it. DIsrepair almost always increases the risk of a slip-and-fall accident.
- Failure to remove ice and snow from the home’s walkway. Many cities have municipal ordinances requiring homeowners to keep their walkways clear. The violation of an ordinance makes it easier to prove that the homeowner was negligent if you slip on ice, for example, and injure yourself.
- Liquid on the floor. Liquid on the floor, especially on stairs, is a slip-and-fall accident waiting to happen. Wet floors are common in homes with small children. However, a homeowner might not be liable for the consequences of a spill that occurred 30 seconds ago. The longer the spill remains, the more likely it is to trigger liability if an accident results.
The foregoing represents only the beginning of a long list of potential slip-and-fall accident hazards.
Let a Reputable New York Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Handle Your Claim
You will probably have to negotiate a settlement if you seek compensation for a slip and fall injury. You will need considerable negotiation skills and expertise in personal injury law to reach an acceptable settlement. An experienced New York personal injury lawyer can supply you with both.