People often make time in the summer to visit their friends, especially for backyard parties. Unfortunately, accidents can happen during those visits that can end up putting a strain on the friendship.
If you're seriously injured at a friend's house, it's important to understand your options. Your injuries could otherwise leave you in bad financial shape as you struggle with medical bills and even experience a period of unemployment while you heal.
If the accident wasn't your fault, your friend has the liability.
Under the rules for premises liability, your friend has a certain amount of responsibility to provide a safe environment for his or her guests.
So, the real questions you have to ask yourself are:
- Was your accident foreseeable?
- Could your friend have prevented it with reasonable actions?
For example, imagine that you fell off your friend's porch because you leaned against a rail that was in bad shape. It gave way, and you hurt your back in the fall. Since your friend owns the property, he or she should have been aware that the rail was rotted or loose. Simply repairing the rail, or even warning you not to lean on it, could have prevented the accident.
Homeowner's insurance is designed for these kinds of problems.
Among the many things that homeowner's insurance covers are accidental injuries to guests and other visitors to a property. While it may be unpleasant to have to bring any kind of claim for a slip-and-fall accident against your friend, it's his or her homeowner's insurance that will actually cover the bill.
If you don't bring the claim, you may be required to pay for all of your medical expenses, plus any lost wages, that result from your injury. In fact, your own insurance may insist that you file a claim so that it doesn't have to foot the bills. If that happens, you'll really be left with few choices in the matter.
These kinds of situations are admittedly delicate, so talk the issue over with your friend. Explain the circumstances you are in, and discuss the role of his or her homeowner's insurance. You may find yourself pleasantly surprised at how understanding your friend is over the situation.