What happens if someone falls on your property?

What happens if someone falls on your property?

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What happens if someone falls on your property?

What happens if someone falls on your property? They may seek legal help, and you could be liable for their injuries and damages in certain instances. Someone falling and suffering an injury on your premises can be stressful and worrying. You may be concerned about being liable for the individual’s costs, such as medical bills and wage losses.

However, property owners are not automatically responsible when someone is hurt on their premises. Several conditions have to be met before a property owner is considered responsible for a slip and fall accident.

If someone slipped and fell on your property, an experienced slip and fall lawyer at Morgan & Morgan can help you learn about your rights and obligations. Contact us today for a free case review to learn more.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Depending on the type of property you own, you are generally responsible for maintaining the premises and removing any hazards for tenants, visitors, and guests. Failing to do so could expose you to liability, and injured victims may file a personal injury lawsuit against you. Dangerous conditions on properties can include:

  • Recently mopped and wet floors
  • Bulging carpeting
  • Missing or broken steps
  • Missing handrails
  • Lack of adequate lighting
  • Cables, boxes, and other clutter on the floors
  • Food and liquid spills
  • Ice and snow accumulations on walkways
  • Cracks and potholes on sidewalks
  • Uneven or broken floorboards
  • Lack of warning signs

If you, as a property owner, take reasonable care to remove hazards or place warning signs, an injured individual may find it tough or even impossible to sue you for compensation.

Injuries in Slip and Fall Claims

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults can be in particular danger of suffering significant and disabling injuries in slips and falls. The greater a person’s injuries and damages, the higher the amount they could claim for compensation. What happens if someone falls on your property is that they could sue you for their injuries and expenses, provided they have a valid claim. Common compensable injuries in slip and fall claims include:

Bone Fractures

The forces involved in a severe slip and fall can cause broken bones, particularly in the wrists, arms, ankles, and legs. The elderly may be susceptible to suffering more significant bone breaks, such as those of larger bones or the hips. Broken bones can require surgeries and long-term recovery, leading to substantial financial losses for victims.

Head and Brain Injuries

Head and brain injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussions can occur when an individual hits their head in a severe fall. Concussions and TBIs, when minor, may heal relatively quickly. However, significant head and brain injuries can have lifelong consequences such as permanent cognitive damage, seizures, and others. 

Facial and Dental Injuries

Individuals hitting their heads in a fall could suffer significant facial and dental injuries, such as cuts and broken or lost teeth. Other common facial injuries in falls include:

  • Abrasions and lacerations
  • Broken jaw
  • Fractured eye socket
  • Chipped or broken teeth
  • Broken nose
  • Eye injuries

Significant facial injuries may require plastic surgery and comprehensive dental treatments.

Neck and Back Injuries

Neck and back injuries can be common in severe falls, such as hitting the spine when falling down a flight of stairs. The spinal cord can be damaged due to a sudden blow to the spine. Vertebrae in the neck and back may also fracture or herniate. Spinal cord injuries can be severe and could cause permanent paralysis.  

Soft Tissue Injuries

Sprains, strains, and bruising can occur even in minor falls. While such injuries are typically mild or moderate and can usually heal on their own, they can cause considerable income losses and medical bills.

If someone slips and falls on your property due to a hazard, they could claim compensation for the above injuries and others suffered in the fall.

Someone Slipped and Fell in Your House

Owning or leasing a commercial property comes with many responsibilities. Business owners generally have a greater obligation to protect guests and patrons from danger than homeowners.

So what does the law say if someone falls in your private home? Generally, all property owners, including private homeowners, are responsible for keeping any spaces that visitors could enter free of danger. However, if someone was trespassing on your property and got hurt, you are most likely not responsible for their damages.

The Person Was Trespassing or Uninvited

While state laws can vary slightly, you are generally not responsible for a person’s injuries and financial losses if they come to your property uninvited or trespassed. However, consider speaking to an attorney if a trespasser is hurt on your property and threatens to sue.

You Invited the Person to Your Home

If you invite an individual to your property, such as a friend or neighbor, you generally have a duty of care over them. If they then suffer an injury due to a hazard at your property, such as missing handrails, broken floors, or another danger, you could be considered negligent and responsible for their damages. In other words, if you have guests in your house and fail to fix any dangers or do not tell them about potential hazards, they could hold you to account for their damages if they slip and fall.

Not all Falls Qualify for Compensation

Nobody expects homeowners to pay for damages guests incur when tripping and falling due to their own inattention or wearing unsuitable footwear. However, premises liability injury claims involving private homes can be complex, and there can be gray areas. If someone experienced a fall and injury at your property and is trying to sue you, you should contact your homeowners’ insurance and an attorney immediately. Morgan & Morgan’s slip and fall lawyers are here to help you understand your rights.

Compensation Injured Individuals Could Pursue

If someone slipped or tripped and fell on your property, they could seek a variety of damages, including but not limited to:

  • Current and future medical costs
  • Wage losses and estimated future income loss
  • Out-of-pocket expenses due to the injury
  • The costs of in-home care
  • Awards for pain and suffering

Depending on the severity of the individual’s injuries and other circumstances of the claim, they could qualify for a sizable settlement from an insurance company or the responsible property owner.

If someone wants to sue you for a slip and fall on your property, consider protecting your rights and getting legal advice from our dedicated team as soon as possible.  

Homeowners Insurance Could Pay for Damages

While homeowners insurance does not expressly cover slips and falls, it may step in if the injured individual takes legal action against you. Homeowners insurance would cover legal defense expenses and damages if the injured individual wins.  

How Much Is Homeowners Coverage?

Many homeowners policies include at least $100,000 of liability insurance. However, if the individual who slipped and fell on your property suffered severe or life-changing injuries, $100,000 may not go far enough to protect you against a liability lawsuit.

How Can Homeowners Insurance Help?

What happens if someone falls on your property is that they will most likely file a claim with your homeowners insurance company. Your insurer will then send out an adjuster to investigate the circumstances of the fall and determine whether the claim is valid. In most cases, your insurance company will try to negotiate a settlement with the injured party.

If the claim cannot be resolved with an out-of-court settlement, it may advance into a legal proceeding. Again, your insurance company should cover your legal expenses. Should you lose the case, the insurer is generally responsible for paying the compensation determined by the court.

Contact an Attorney if Your Homeowners Insurance Refuses Help

If your homeowners insurance denies or minimizes the injured individual’s claim, they may sue you personally to pursue damages. Having a dedicated attorney by your side fighting for your best interests could help you avoid having to pay compensation.

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FAQ

Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • How Long Can You Get Sued After a Slip and Fall?

    Injured individuals face time limits when filing a personal injury lawsuit. The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident and injury. In most states, the statute of limitations is at least two years, allowing injured individuals to bring a claim during that time. However, in some states, the time to file an injury claim is only one year. Exceptions are generally rare. Once the statute of limitations has passed, it is virtually impossible for a victim to sue the responsible party and recover compensation. 

  • What Should I Do if Someone Suffers an Injury on My Property?

    Regardless of the circumstances of the accident, your best next steps if someone is hurt on your property are:

    • Offer assistance and call for medical help
    • Contact your homeowners insurance
    • Call an experienced slip and fall lawyer

    The injured individual may assume that you are automatically liable if they get hurt on your property. However, premises liability laws protect not only injured victims but also innocent property owners from unjustified claims. An attorney can help prove that you did not act negligently.

  • How Can Morgan & Morgan Help Property Owners?

    If you did nothing wrong, the law is on your side. That said, if someone was harmed on your property, they might attempt to sue you, even if the accident was not your fault. Therefore, you should take prompt steps to protect your legal rights and prove that you did everything possible to keep visitors safe. An attorney at Morgan & Morgan could help you:

    • Understand your legal rights
    • Build a defense if someone tries to sue you
    • Prove that you took reasonable steps to avoid slips and falls
    • Gather evidence proving that you are not liable

    It is important to note that no property owner can avoid all accidents. Falls can still occur even if you take all the proper steps to make your home or business premises safe. When the worst happens, and someone is severely injured on your property, advice from a seasoned personal injury lawyer can be reassuring and help you react appropriately to any attempts to sue you for damages. 

  • How Can I Prevent Slips and Falls on My Property?

    Prevention is always better than cure. As a home or business owner, you can take numerous steps to make your property safe and protect yourself from potential compensation claims, such as:

    • Tidy your home or business when expecting guests, removing any clutter from floors and walkways
    • Clean up spillages of foods or liquids right away
    • Ensure good lighting inside and outside your property
    • Repair cracks and potholes in your driveway
    • Secure loose rugs and mats
    • Fix bulging carpets
    • Repair cracked or loose floorboards
    • Promptly shovel snow off walkways
    • Ensure stairs and handrails are in good repair

    If you cannot remove a hazardous condition in your home or business, inform any visitors of the danger so they can avoid it. Identifying and eliminating hazards can significantly reduce slips and falls.

  • Contact Morgan & Morgan for Help and Advice Today

    If you want to find out what happens if someone falls on your property, Morgan & Morgan is here to help. While you are responsible for ensuring that visitors to your home or business property do not face unreasonable hazards, you are not necessarily responsible for falls. Moreover, even if you have some fault in an accident, you may be covered by your homeowners insurance.

    Facing an injury claim can feel intimidating and overwhelming, especially if the injured party asks for a significant settlement. However, our dedicated slip and fall lawyers can help you understand your rights and options. Contact us today for a free consultation to find out more.

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