Today, we’re answering a question from a reader who wants to know why it has taken more than a year to find out if a New Jersey homeowner has insurance for a slip and fall. “I’ve been trying to get money for my doctor’s bills without getting a lawyer involved and am worried I made a mistake. Help!” In general, homeowner’s insurance only covers slip-and-falls that are a direct result of the homeowner’s negligence. A lawyer can look at your situation and help determine whether that’s the case.
Take Action Now — Hire a Lawyer
It’s important to contact an attorney right away because you only have so much time to file a suit. Some homeowners stall to try to “run out the clock” based on your state’s statute of limitations, the time in which you can make your case. These statutes vary by state. In New Jersey, it’s 2 years.
How Do I Know if Homeowner’s Insurance Will Cover My Fall?
Your chances of a settlement are higher if you can prove that the homeowner’s negligence caused your injury, such as:
- Broken stair, railing or flooring
- Cracked walkways
- Burned out bulbs or broken fixtures in stairwells and hallways
- Insufficient barriers around pools and water features
If you simply lose your balance or fall for some other reason unrelated to homeowner negligence, then your case would likely not be covered.
Are There Cases Where a Negligent Homeowner Is Not Liable?
With a few rare exceptions, negligent homeowners aren’t liable when a trespasser is injured. That means if a burglar breaks into a house and trips over a loose rug, they can’t sue the homeowner.
Only invitees (professionals asked onto the property, such as a gardener), or licensees (such as social guests) can sue for an injury caused by a homeowner’s negligence.
How Much Can I Collect If I Win the Case?
Your settlement will depend on your medical situation. Medical bills that result from your slip-and-fall injury are the biggest factor in determining a settlement. Other considerations include:
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Expenses related to your treatment such as travel or lodging
Most homeowner’s insurance policies include a minimum of $100,000 liability insurance. That may seem like plenty of coverage, but even minor injuries can lead to medical bills of $50,000 or more. If your medical bills exceed the homeowner’s liability insurance, you should think about hiring a lawyer to sue for the rest of the amount.
Homeowner’s Insurance Rejected My Claim — Is There Anything I Can Do Now?
You don’t have to take no for an answer. You can challenge a “no” decision. Few people pursue this, but those who do sometimes win the second time around. Again, this is an instance where an attorney delivers big value.
Unfortunately, slip-and-fall accidents happen every day. In fact, over a million people go to the ER with slip-and-fall injuries that happen inside homes ever year. The good news is, there are powerful legal mechanisms in place to help you get the settlement you deserve, and not a penny less.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Complete your free online personal injury case evaluation now!
Margot Lester is the CEO of The Word Factory, a content marketing agency based in North Carolina that provides services for international healthcare brands, tech companies and SaaS developers. An award-winning business and brand journalist, she writes for daily and weekly newspapers and business journals, national magazines, in-flight publications and leading websites. Margot is also an in-demand writing coach and organizational communications trainer, helping individuals and teams write more effectively. LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/margotlester.