With winter in full swing, the short, cold days of the season bring rain, snow, and ice – all great recipes for slip-and-fall accidents.
A slip and fall accident can occur anywhere, from outside your favorite restaurant to the right in your home. While many people think about slip-and-fall accidents that occur in public and their ramifications of them, not many think about what happens in a private home when a slip-and-fall occurs.
Everyone must understand their liability if a slip and fall accident occurs in their house. What are they responsible for, and, most importantly, is it something that will get covered by homeowners insurance? Read on to find out what you need to know.
What Liability Does a Homeowner Have?
When people visit your property, you owe what is called a duty of care to them. That means that you owe each visitor reasonable care while also considering why they are on your property in the first place.
If someone falls on your property, then for them to be successful in a personal injury claim against you, they will need to show the following:
Duty of Care
As mentioned, the first thing they must establish is that you owe them a duty of care. Adults have a duty to care for those around them. If someone was trespassing on your property, establishing this might not be as easy.
Next, it must be demonstrated that there was a breach in the duty of care. If, for example, there wasn’t sufficient lighting outside that caused someone to slip and fall, or a pair of skates left on a step that caused the accident, it can be easy to show how the duty of care gets breached.
An Injury Occurred
It’s not enough to show that the duty of care gets violated. It also must be shown that an injury took place. Medical records are often enough to establish this element.
Breach Caused Injury
Now that all the prior details get established, the final piece is a direct correlation between the breach and the injury.
It’s important to note that in New York, there is no distinction between trespassers, licensees, and invitees. However, how the person came to be on your property is relevant in the case, so it’s never something that should be left out, mainly if they were trespassing.
Almost everyone has homeowners insurance, and those who rent often have renter’s insurance. Both types of insurance will usually cover slip and fall accidents that occur on the property, even in cases where it gets established that the homeowner (or renter) was negligent.
However, inexpensive homeowners insurance plans may not provide enough coverage for even the medical bills that must be covered when someone is injured in a slip in fall, especially in severe cases. Homeowners often find that their insurance simply doesn’t pay enough.
It’s also important to note that homeowners insurance does not cover intentional injuries.