When Someone Slips and Falls on Your Property
You’ve heard it before. If someone slips, falls and is injured on someone else’s property, they can sue! But what if the property belonged to you? Are you prepared for a liability claim? Let’s look at the law and how you can be protected and protect anyone on your property with the right insurance policy.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Slips and Falls
Homeowners insurance doesn’t specifically cover slip-and-fall accidents. However, if a liability suit is brought against you, your homeowner’s insurance will step in and cover the cost of your legal defense. It may also cover an eventual payout resulting from such a lawsuit. You will only be held liable if it is proven that the injured person’s fall resulted from your negligence.
What Qualifies as Negligence?
You must keep your property well maintained. Most slip-and-fall claims are a result of:
- Wet floors or stairs
- Freshly waxed floors
- Leaking ceilings
- Poor lighting or visibility
- Overcrowding in walkways or stairs
- Broken pathways
- Items in pathways or on stairs
- Broken railings
- Holes in carpeting or carpets that are frayed at the edge
- Area rugs with no proper grip pad underneath
If you are negligent of these types of situations, you could be held liable for someone’s injuries that occurred on your property, whether at your business or your residence.
They Should Have Known Better!
There is a commonsense factor that comes in to play. For example, suppose you have kept your property maintained, and someone does something stupid, which results in them becoming injured. In that case, the chances are their case will either be dismissed, or their damages will be significantly reduced. Here are some examples:
- The injured party was using a cell phone (or was otherwise distracted) at the time of the accident and not paying sufficient attention to where they were walking
- They were in a part of the property where they shouldn’t have been; for example, they decide to go snooping in your basement without permission
- The dangerous property condition should have been apparent to the injured party. Therefore, wet floor signs are so crucial for a business to post, any time there are potentially slippery conditions
- Reasonable steps were taken to protect visitors, such as blocking off potentially dangerous areas using cones and signage
- The injured party was wearing inappropriate footwear for the circumstance
What to Do If Someone is Injured after a Slip-and-Fall on Your Property
After a trip, slip, or fall in your home or business, if an injured party wants you to pay for their injuries, they will have to file a claim through your insurance company. Be open and honest with all of your insurance information. Hiding information such as the identity of your insurer will only lead to further legal issues.
Next, your insurer will send an adjuster to investigate. They will get statements and develop an understanding of the case.
Your insurance company will pay for your defense and attempt to negotiate as small a payout as possible. If it seems like the person suing you will win, the insurer will want to settle with them out of court.
If the case advances into a legal proceeding, your insurance company will cover any legal expenses you incur. Should you lose your case, they will then pay the settlement determined by the court.
It is important to talk with your insurance agent about how your specific homeowner’s policy covers slip-and-fall injuries. At Hermann Insurance Services, our goal is to get you the information you need to make the right choices for your insurance coverage. You can rest easy knowing we’ve got you covered.