Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, even at private residences. This usually only becomes an issue when guests are invited over or when people are working on a property and sustain a slip and fall injury. The question becomes, though, who is responsible for paying the medical bills and other expenses of the slip and fall accident victim?
Whether or not the homeowner’s insurance company will cover these slip and fall losses will depend on the circumstances surrounding the particular accident claim.
What Type of Insurance Does the Property Owner Have?
In almost all circumstances, homeowners are required to have insurance on their property. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, you should ask the homeowner whether or not they have insurance. The vast majority of homeowners insurance policies in West Virginia have at least a $100,000 to $300,000 injury liability policy. These types of insurance policies specifically cover medical and legal expenses related to liability lawsuits.
Can You Prove Negligence?
In West Virginia, slip and fall accidents are going to be considered premises liability claims. Premises liability law seeks to hold property owners accountable for preventable incidents that occur due to their negligence. In order to successfully recover compensation for slip and fall at another person’s home, you will have to show four basic elements:
- That you were lawfully on the private property when the slip and fall injury occurred.
- That the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about a dangerous condition on the property.
- That the property owner failed to fix the condition or warn guests about possible hazards when a reasonable and prudent person would have done so.
- That the property owner’s neglect to maintain the premises or warn about the hazards caused your injury and that you sustained compensable losses.
We will find that homeowners will typically only be liable for slip and fall injuries if they negligently contributed to the incident. Insurance carriers will want to investigate the evidence related to the claim in order to determine whether they will pay for the expenses and how much they will pay for.
Holding a Homeowner Liable for Injuries
If you or somebody you love has sustained a slip and fall injury on another person’s private property, you will want to begin gathering evidence immediately. If possible, take photographs of the dangerous property defect as well as the injuries. As soon as you leave the scene of the incident, you can be sure that steps will be taken to rectify the defect, and this could result in evidence being destroyed.
You need to notify the homeowner that you fell and were injured and get the name of the homeowner’s insurance company. If there were any witnesses who saw what happened, you need to get their names and contact information as well. Seek medical care immediately.
How an Attorney Can Help With West Virginia Comparative Negligence
You will want to file a report with the homeowner’s insurance carrier as soon as possible. Failing to do so quickly could result in your losing the ability to recover the compensation you are entitled to. You may need to speak to a skilled premises liability attorney in West Virginia for assistance with this process, particularly if the insurance carrier denies the claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement.