Should I Sue My Friend if I Fell and Suffered an Injury on Their Property?
Accidents can occur unexpectedly, even when visiting the homes of those closest to us. Despite the best intentions, hazards such as slippery floors or cluttered stairs can cause falls and injuries.
The idea of suing a friend can feel like you’re jeopardizing your relationship for financial compensation. In a premises liability case where the property owner is held accountable for the injuries you suffered on their premises, you pursue a claim with their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance company. Working with an Appleton premises liability attorney can help you navigate the legal process and protect your rights without damaging your relationship.
Residential homes can have numerous potential hazards that could lead to injuries, including:
- Slip and fall hazards: People can slip from slippery floors, loose carpets, and cluttered pathways. When there are no handrails on stairs, the risk of falling increases because there is no support and stability while climbing the stairs.
- Poor lighting: A lack of adequate lighting can result in dark or shadowy areas. This makes it challenging to see objects or obstacles, increasing the likelihood of tripping over them.
- Electrical hazards: Electrical hazards like exposed wires present a danger of electric shock if someone comes into contact with exposed wiring.
- Structural problems: Structural issues like weak staircases can result in serious injuries because of uneven steps and unstable handrails. If you trip on an uneven step or grab a loose handrail that does not provide stability, you may fall and sustain serious injuries.
- Inadequate maintenance: Neglecting maintenance and failing to address issues like broken tiles or holes in the floor can present potential hazards like trips, slips, and falls.
- Outdoor hazards: Icy walkways and cracked sidewalks can lead to people tripping and falling. Unsecured swimming pools can also pose a significant risk, particularly for children.
- Fire hazards: Unattended candles, a neglected fireplace, or malfunctioning heating devices can lead to burn injuries.
- Loose or unsecured heavy items: Unstable bookcases, TVs, or other heavy items that aren’t secured properly can tip over and cause injury.
Wisconsin homeowners have legal responsibilities under premises liability law. Property owners must manage a safe environment that avoids exposing people to an unreasonable risk of harm. This duty includes identifying hazards, taking action to resolve them, and warning others of potential risks that can’t be immediately rectified.
If a homeowner neglects this duty and a visitor is injured, the homeowner could be legally responsible for the injured person’s medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to the injury.
One of the biggest concerns people have about taking legal action after an accident at a friend’s home is its impact on the relationship. It’s important to remember that if you’re considering filing a personal injury claim, you’re usually not suing your friend. In most cases, you file a claim with their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies provide liability protection for bodily injuries and property damage. This protection means your friend will not have to pay out of pocket for damages like your lost income. The policies also cover medical bills up to their policy limits. You can submit your medical bills to your friend’s insurance company, and they will cover expenses.
If your friend doesn’t have insurance, you may need to take legal action with a premises liability lawsuit to recover the damages you suffered. However, before you seek compensation, document your injuries and gather evidence to prove liability. A Fox Cities premises liability attorney can help you collect medical records, photos of the defective condition, and witness statements to support your case.
The prospect of legal action can be intimidating, particularly when it involves people you care about. That’s why it’s essential to have an experienced and compassionate legal team by your side. At Brian Hodgkiss Injury Lawyers, we understand the delicacy of your situation and are committed to guiding you through this legal process.
A Green Bay premises liability attorney can help explain your options and handle communications with insurance companies while protecting your friendship. Remember, it’s not about blaming your friend but getting the compensation you need for recovery.
Schedule a free consultation today to explore your options.