Homeowners have the responsibility to ensure that their property is free of any hazards to visitors and occupants – including any object or condition that can lead to a slip and fall. Homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover the cost of medical expenses and other damages in case someone suffers an injury on the property, including slip and fall cases. However, the injured person will need to prove that the homeowner was negligent in his or her upkeep of the property to successfully claim that compensation.
Proving a Slip and Fall Case in California
In the state of California, you can claim compensation under homeowner’s insurance if the homeowner’s negligence was responsible for your slip and fall. You cannot claim compensation if the accident was not a result of an action by a homeowner or due to your own negligence.
For example, if you trip on wet grass on the homeowner’s front lawn after a rainy night, you cannot hold the homeowner liable for your damages. However, if you trip over a broken stair that the homeowner was aware of and suffer injuries, you could file an insurance claim for compensation.
To prove a slip and fall case in California and establish homeowner negligence, you and your personal injury attorney will need to satisfy the following elements when speaking to the insurance company.
- You will need to prove that the homeowner owed you a duty of care. If you were a visitor and not a trespasser, the homeowner has a responsibility to maintain safe premises. The homeowner also has the responsibility to fix any issues he or she is aware of that could lead to an injury.
- Next, you will need to establish that the homeowner breached his or her duty of care to you in some way. This will likely involve proving that he or she knew about the issue that caused your slip and fall and failed to take action to fix it.
- Then, you will need to prove that the homeowner’s breach of care led to your injuries. This element depends on what caused your slip and fall. A broken stair, failing to shovel ice or snow, or unsecure area rugs are all common causes of slip and falls on private property.
- Finally, you will need to prove that you suffered damages that you can claim through the insurance company. These damages must be a direct result of the slip and fall that the homeowner’s negligence caused.
What Damages Can You Claim Through Homeowners’ Insurance?
Homeowners’ insurance policies typically offer two types of claim coverage: liability coverage and medical payment coverage, often referred to as med pay. Through these sets of coverage, you can collect compensation for any medical expenses you incur, lost wages during recovery time, property damage, and more. Speak to your attorney to determine which damages you may be eligible for.
However, you can only claim compensation up to the policy limits that the insurance company sets. If you suffered significant and severe injuries, are grappling with emotional damages, or missed months of work, you may not recover enough through an insurance claim to cover these costs. The insurance company may also offer you a settlement below what you need to recover.
In these situations, it may be best to file a personal injury lawsuit instead of an insurance claim. There are very few limits to the damages you can claim in a slip and fall lawsuit, as compared to the insurance process. Speak to your attorney to discuss your legal options and to determine which pathway is best for you.
Whether you slip and fall on someone else’s property or you are a homeowner facing a lawsuit, having homeowner’s insurance is crucial to ensure that an injured person receives the funds he or she needs to recover. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may be able to claim compensation through homeowner’s insurance for a slip and fall. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your case and to begin the filing process.