When you get hurt in someone else’s home, you may wonder, “Can I sue their homeowners’ insurance?” The answer is yes! You can file a premises liability lawsuit seeking damages in some situations. However, homeowners in Florida are not liable for every injury on their property. To win your case, your Florida premises liability lawyer must show that the homeowner was negligent.
Unfortunately, many injured accident victims do not file a claim because they know the individual and do not want to anger or hurt them. In many cases, it may be a friend or a family member whose negligence caused you harm. This can create tension and apprehension.
However, this is precisely why your friend or family member has homeowners’ insurance. The insurance company should pay for damages and injuries you suffered. If you do not file a claim, you will be responsible for paying medical bills and lost wages. If your injuries are severe, your life may change forever, requiring substantial money just to survive.
If you suffered an injury on another person’s property, you have a right to explore your legal options. An experienced Miami premises liability lawyer can help you evaluate those options so that you can choose the best option for you and your family.
What Does a Florida Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Cover?
In Florida, people are injured in many ways, including car accidents and slip and falls in large chain stores. However, sometimes a person is hurt in a friend’s or neighbor’s home. While the injury could result from a mere mishap, there are times when you or a family member gets hurt because of the negligent conduct of the property owner. If that is the case, you are entitled to file a personal injury claim against the homeowner, and their homeowner’s insurance will likely provide coverage.
But what does a Florida homeowner’s insurance policy actually cover?
A standard Florida homeowner’s policy covers the property and protects the homeowner from personal injury lawsuits for specific negligent conduct on the premises. Typically, a policy will provide a minimum of $100,000 liability coverage, though homeowners can increase that amount. This is common if the grounds include something potentially dangerous, such as a tennis court or a swimming pool.
Homeowners with young children sometimes opt for increased coverage because of the likelihood of another child being hurt on their property, especially if they have a trampoline or other hazardous outdoor equipment. Although most homeowner insurance policies specifically exclude coverage for trampolines and other dangerous activities.
Without reading the policy, it is impossible to tell whether a homeowner’s insurance policy specifically excludes certain activities. Fortunately, Florida law requires insurers to provide a copy of the insurance policy within 30 days of a written request. Before filing a lawsuit against a homeowner, we always send a written request to their insurer to confirm whether or not the insurance policy provides coverage for the type of negligence that caused our client’s injury.
Florida Children are Often Injured at a Neighbor’s House
As the old saying goes, kids will be kids. It is not uncommon for a child to get hurt while playing or engaging in normal, healthy activities. When a parent drops a child off at a friend’s, they reasonably expect the homeowner to supervise their child and keep them from harm. However, accidents occur, and children get injured.
Some of the most common ways children get hurt at a friend or family member’s home include, but are not limited to:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Trampoline accidents
- Falling down the stairs
- Unsecured firearm accidents
- Dog bites
- Ingesting poison or toxic substance
Children can get hurt in other people’s homes due to negligence in various ways. Here are some possible scenarios:
- Lack of supervision: If the child is not supervised properly by the host or their family members, they may wander off or engage in dangerous activities that could lead to an accident.
- Unsafe environment: The host’s home may have unsafe conditions, such as loose or broken steps, unstable furniture, or hazardous substances within reach of the child.
- Failure to secure potentially dangerous items: If the host fails to secure potentially dangerous items, such as firearms, sharp objects, or toxic substances, the child may accidentally access them and get hurt.
- Failure to follow safety rules: The host may fail to follow safety rules, such as using car seats or ensuring that the child wears a helmet while riding a bike, which could result in an injury.
- Inadequate warning of hazards: If the host fails to warn the child and their parents about any hazards in the home, such as a swimming pool or a steep drop-off, the child may be at risk of an accident.
If a child gets hurt at someone else’s home due to negligence, consult an attorney to understand the legal options available. If you can file a lawsuit against the negligent homeowner, your attorney will guide you through that process.
Common Homeowner Liability Claims in Florida
A homeowner’s insurance policy covers property damage and bodily injury liability. However, this coverage only extends to claims arising from accidents involving negligence on the homeowner’s part.
Common claims against homeowner’s insurance include slip and fall injuries and dog bites. Additionally, claims can arise if a homeowner fails to properly maintain their property, such as allowing a dying tree to fall into an adjoining neighbor’s yard.
Most commonly in Miami-Dade County, homeowners often fail to clean the algae growth from their outdoor surfaces, such as any outdoor steps, patio, driveway, and pool area. This can result in serious and catastrophic slip and fall accidents.
Every accident and injury on another’s property is unique and needs to be treated differently. A slip and fall accident caused by a broken step is not the same as being bitten by a dog.
Our experienced Florida premises liability attorney will evaluate each accident and injury on its own merits. No matter what caused the injury, proving negligence is necessary to prevail in a personal injury lawsuit against the homeowner’s insurance policy.
Proving Negligence to Sue a Homeowner’s Insurance Provider in Florida
If you want to win your premises liability or personal injury lawsuit and receive compensation for your injuries, you and your legal team must prove that the homeowner was negligent.
For example, you could fall while walking down the steps from your neighbor’s patio. Maybe you lost your footing and simply slipped. However, your neighbor would be negligent if they were aware that the wood on the steps was rotting and refused to address the poor condition of the staircase.
In some cases, your conduct could relieve your neighbor from responsibility. Perhaps your neighbor had their pool drained and locked the fence surrounding it. If you climbed the fence and fell into the pool, your neighbor might not be responsible for your swimming pool injuries.
Proving liability in a homeowner premises liability case involves demonstrating that the homeowner had a duty of care towards the injured person, that the homeowner breached that duty of care, and that the breach of duty caused the injuries. Here are some steps that your Florida injury legal team may take to prove liability:
- Establish a duty of care: Your legal team must show that the homeowner owed them a duty of care, which means that the homeowner had a responsibility to keep their property safe for visitors. This duty of care may vary depending on the type of visitor (e.g., invitee, licensee, trespasser) and the circumstances of the visit.
- Show that the duty of care was breached: This may involve showing that the homeowner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on their property but failed to fix it or warn visitors.
- Prove causation: You must show that the breach of duty caused your specific injuries or worsened pre-existing ones. This may involve demonstrating that the dangerous condition on the homeowner’s property directly caused the injuries.
- Document the damages: You and your lawyer must provide evidence of the damages suffered due to the injury. This may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses.
Often, whether negligent conduct contributed to an injury is not clear. If you are injured in another person’s home, you should speak with our skilled Florida personal injury attorney. It is not uncommon that an accident that appears just to be an accident results from the homeowner’s negligence.
Steps to Take if You Got Hurt in a Florida Home
If you are injured in another person’s home, there are some things you should do that will increase the likelihood of a successful personal injury lawsuit.
- Seek Medical Care. First, if necessary, seek immediate medical attention. Call 911 or have someone take you to an emergency room if required. If your injury is not severe, you should see a doctor within 24 to 48 hours. The full extent of your injury might not be readily apparent after the accident, especially if you injured your back or neck. Also, connecting your injury to the accident is crucial to prevail in a personal injury or premises liability claim. Any medical treatment delay allows the defense to argue that the injury occurred elsewhere.
- Report the Incident: Report the incident to the homeowner or tenant of the property where the injury occurred. Make sure to document who you spoke with and when. If the incident occurred in a rental property, report the incident to the landlord or property management company.
- Document the Scene: If possible, take photos of the scene where the injury occurred. This can help establish what caused the injury and the extent of any damages. Also, make a note of any eyewitnesses who saw the incident happen or were nearby at the time.
- Keep Records: Keep copies of any medical bills or other expenses related to your injury. This can include bills for hospital visits, doctor appointments, and any other medical care required. Also, keep track of any time missed from work due to the injury.
- Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer: If your injuries are serious or if you believe someone else is responsible for your injury, contact a Florida injury lawyer with experience handling premises liability claims. They can help you understand your legal rights and determine if you have a valid claim.
- File a Claim: If you decide to pursue legal action, your lawyer can help you file a claim against the responsible party. This may involve negotiating a settlement or going to court.
- Do not talk with the insurance provider. If an insurance company contacts you, do not speak to them without speaking with our Florida attorney. The insurance company is not working for you, and their agents will sometimes try to get you to admit that you were at fault so they can deny the claim or offer a far less settlement than you deserve. You do not want to jeopardize your potential compensation by providing a statement or signing a document.
Call Our Florida Premises Liability Attorney for a Free Consultation About Suing Homeowner’s Insurance
Not every injury in Florida occurs in a car accident or a large supermarket. People are often hurt when visiting their neighbors, friends, and family. These types of injuries result in the same costly medical expenses. Furthermore, people hurt in their friend’s homes may not work for a long time, which results in a loss of valuable income.
If your friend or neighbor was negligent, you should not be responsible for your damages. Prosper Shaked is a personal injury attorney who will help you file a lawsuit against an insurance company in Florida to seek the monetary compensation you deserve. Call Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA at (305) 694-2676 to schedule a free appointment to review the details of your injury or fill out our confidential contact form.