Chances are, when you are in your own home, you are not thinking about possible injuries to yourself or others. But did you know, personal injury claims against homeowners are very common? If someone is injured on your property, a lawsuit may be filed to cover the cost of medical treatment, bills, and/or pain and suffering.
Are you covered in case of an accident?
Let’s start with a few basics. Personal injury law (also known as tort law) allows an injured plaintiff to seek compensation when a negligent or intentional act causes harm. Homeowner insurance policies generally do carry some level of liability protection against personal injury claims, including property and in some cases, expenses related to bodily injuries. Homeowners are encouraged to review their insurance policies and speak with their agents to make sure they are covered in case of an accident at their home.
Each year, Dale E. Anstine Law Firm sees a wide variety of personal injury cases that fall into the “home liability” category. So, it’s important to understand the types of accidents that can occur and how to protect yourself as a property owner or guest. Here are some of the most common injury claims:
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall injuries are the most commonly reported personal injury claims, following car accidents. Uneven stairs, loose carpeting, icy sidewalks and driveways are frequent causes for slip and fall injuries in and around the home. If a guest loses their footing on a section of loose carpeting a homeowner didn’t warn them about, the homeowner could be held liable. The same goes for a door-to-door salesman who slips on a known icy patch on the driveway.
Pennsylvania is a “strict liability” dog bite state, meaning dog owners are responsible for any injuries sustained, even if Fido has never bitten or acted aggressively before. However, if the person bitten is trespassing when the bite was sustained, different liability rules apply.
Falling Trees & Branches
In neighborhoods with large mature trees, falling branches during periods of snow, ice or heavy winds can be the cause of substantial damage to both person and property. Prevention is worth a pound of cure; maintain all the trees on your property and trim back any branches that extend over your property into public streets and sidewalks. Also, keep sidewalks clear of any fallen debris to prevent potential slip and fall injuries.
Independent contractors like housekeepers, handymen and landscapers may not be required by law to carry workers’ compensation coverage. If they sustain an injury while performing services, the property owner may be sued for compensation of their medical bills.
If you or someone you love is injured at the home or property of another, reach out today for your free consultation. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7 and there’s no fee unless we win for you.