If a slip and fall accident occurs at a private residence in California, homeowners insurance may cover it if the property is insured. The key questions are whether there was a valid policy in place at the time and whether the property owner was negligent. A Los Angeles slip and fall attorney can help you find the answers to your questions.
Is There a Valid Homeowners Insurance Policy in Effect?
For a homeowners insurance policy to cover a personal injury, there needs to be a valid policy in place. Usually, there is– in California; mortgage lenders require borrowers to insure the property. Responsible homeowners will continue with coverage even when they own it outright.
However, some insurance companies go to great lengths to deny claims. For example, the carrier may claim that the injury is not covered because of some exclusion hidden in the fine print– or because you had a pre-existing injury. Having an experienced personal injury attorney handling your negotiations can go a long way toward fair treatment.
Was the Homeowner to Blame?
Homeowners insurance is a type of liability insurance– it pays for damages only when the insured is legally responsible. It offers an assurance that there will be money available if the homeowner is found liable, but a claimant still has the burden of proving fault.
A homeowner can be liable for injuries that were caused by their negligence. In technical terms, this means that the homeowner must have breached a duty to the injured person– and that the breach caused the accident. In more practical terms, it usually means that the homeowner either created a dangerous condition on the property or failed to repair or warn of a hazard that they reasonably should have known about.
Some examples of homeowner negligence that can lead to slip and fall liability include spilling oil but failing to clean it up or warn visitors, ignoring a damaged staircase railing, or not warning of freshly-waxed tiles. Each situation is unique so if something does not seem right, talk to a lawyer about possible negligence.
Factors That Can Harm Your Slip and Fall Case
Slip and fall cases are not easy to win; insurance companies are known to raise many defenses to reduce or eliminate payment on a claim. These are some of the more common tactics:
- Comparative negligence – If the company or homeowner can show that you fell because of your own negligence, they may not be liable. If your negligence was the sole cause, then the homeowner is not liable at all. If the homeowner was negligent, but you were too, you can still collect damages, but they will be reduced in proportion to your share of the fault.
- Prior injury – A defendant and their liability insurer are legally responsible for the damages their negligence caused. However, they are not liable for the damages caused by an earlier accident.
- Lack of notice – Even if there was a defective condition on the property, the homeowner might not be liable if they reasonably did not know about it.
Talk to an experienced lawyer to find out how these and other issues may affect your claim. No two cases are the same, but lawyers who handle many slip and fall cases understand how to address these and other tactics that insurance companies use to diminish a claim.
Contact Our Team of Los Angeles Slip and Fall Lawyers for a Free Consultation
It is essential to report your injury to the homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible to protect your claim. However, many homeowners hesitate to file a formal claim, and you may need to file a lawsuit against them to obtain that information. Having a knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer from Salamati Law on your side will make the process much less complicated.