What should you do if you injure yourself at someone’s home or on their property.? What if you slip on their porch or if you fall on there driveway. What if you slip and fall on their freshly waxed hard wood floors. What if you are invited onto the property to do some work and then you injure yourself. Who is responsible? The homeowner, your company, or are you responsible for your hospital bills & future expenses??
The Accident and Injury Attorneys at the Fort Lauderdale Law Firm of Berman & Tsombanakis, LLC. have experience handing many different types of personal injury cases in Florida. From premise liability cases, such as the examples that you will read below, to car accidents and slip and fall cases. If you injure yourself on another person’s property, the first thing you should do is to make sure that you are okay physically. This may involve going immediately to the emergency room or to your primary care physician. Secondly, it is important to inform the owner of the property that you injured yourself on their property. It is in most cases a good idea to seek the advice of counsel, who will in turn give you advice on how to proceed.
If you are injured on the property of another in South Florida or any part of Florida, it is important to determine if the property owner has homeowners insurance. When there is still a mortgage on the home, in almost all cases, their will be some type of homeowner’s insurance policy. If the homeowner owns the home out right, free and clear of any mortgage, then they may or may not have homeowner’s insurance. Lately, there has been a decline in homeowners carrying insurance because of the higher rates and the downturn in the economy the last 3-4 years. In Florida, many homeowners can not afford to carry insurance. Some are going through foreclosures and therefore they stop paying their mortgage and insurance. When this happens they open themselves up to being liable for any, and possibly all injuries that occur on their property. If they own other property or assets, they may be forced to sale them in order to pay the damages in the premise liability action that maybe filed against them due to any injuries that occur on their property.
In many cases if you are injured on someone’s property and you were on the property working, then your employer may be responsible for your injuries, future loses and hospital bills. This may result in a worker’s compensation claim against the company on behalf of the employee. The company may in turn sue the homeowner if the homeowner was liable in order to recover expenses, bills and other monies that may have been paid to their employee because of the owner’s negligence. In some cases, both the individual and the company will file suit against the homeowner.
Worker’s Compensation claims in Florida are governed by Chapter 440 of the Florida Statutes. Some cases are handled successfully without the need for filing an official lawsuit with the courts. The company’s in house worker’s compensation division and/or counsel will assist the employee with medical bills, loss of income and in some cases will pay them a lump sum for future expenses, pain and suffering. In other cases, the employee will need to file a lawsuit against their job and/or the homeowner and the homeowner’s insurance company, inorder to recover money for hospital bills, lost of income and monies for future pain and suffering, as well as any other medical expenses that may arise.
In some premise liability cases, the injured person is so close to the other party, that they in turn choose not to file a lawsuit against the homeowner. For example, when a person is injured at a family member’s home or the home of a really close friend, many people don’t take into consideration any long term effects the accident may have on them. They do not anticipate, five and in some cases six figure doctor and hospital bills that they may incur. Eventually, most people have no choice but to file a lawsuit when they begin to rack up hospital bills. At this point, there may be crucial evidence that is now lost or intentionally destroyed in attempt to avoid liability.
In some sad and tragic accidents, people die on the property of another. Many times we hear on the news of accidental shootings at the home of another. There have also been cases of people falling off of roofs and paralyzing themselves. As well as, workers falling from trees while performing landscaping and tree removal services. In these cases, the homeowner’s insurance policy may not be enough to cover expenses, future losses, pain and suffering and loss of consortium by the family members. When this is the case the homeowner may be liable for all of the additional damages that may be awarded to the plaintiffs, over and above the homeowner’s policy limits.
The more income and assets you acquire, the more important it becomes to have not just the basic homeowner’s insurance, but additional coverage as well. Regardless of income, homeowner’s insurance is very important. As mentioned above, homeowner’s insurance is becoming more and more expensive. Many people are opting to go without insurance for their homes. In Florida this is risky not just because of accidents, but because of hurricanes and tropical storms. During these times, many homeowners simply can’t afford it and are simply waiting and praying for lower premiums, no major storms and that no one will injure themselves on their property.