Do I Bring a Claim Against a Friend if I’m Injured at His Home?

Do you bring a claim against a friend? You are at a friend’s house down the street when his or her normally friendly dog bites you or, worse, one of your children, causing serious injuries.  Or the neighbor has a stair that is cracked leading up to his or her front porch that the neighbor knows about but has not marked with caution tape or demarcated in any way to warn visitors about the hazard posed by the broken step. The step crumbles beneath you as you are walking up to her front door for a play date one day, causing you to fall and shatter your kneecap.

You have a serious dilemma.  Your friend apologizes profusely but, in both cases, you have medical bills for yourself or your child that run into the thousands of dollars in addition to missed work and other damages.  In either circumstance, it is clear that it was not your own negligence but that of your neighbor that caused your injuries and losses. Therefore, under Florida law, and as awkward as it may be, your friend is legally responsible for your injuries given that it was your friend’s negligence that caused them in the first place.

This is an incredibly awkward situation given that the person whose negligence caused your injury is a friend, but you don’t want to do anything to ruin your friendship.  However, at the end of the day, you still do not want to be stuck with tens of thousands of dollars of medical expenses and other bills or damages simply to spare your friend’s feelings.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, we have seen similar scenarios many times during our 150+ years of representing victims of someone else’s negligence in Florida.  One of the best ways to ease some of the awkwardness in the scenarios described above is to keep in mind who is also actually paying for your damages as a result of your neighbor and/or friend’s negligence.  Your neighbor is almost certain to have homeowner’s insurance, which will likely ultimately be the source of any settlement or payment you receive for your injuries as a result of your friend’s negligence. This comes as a surprise to many people, but homeowner’s insurance provides liability protection to the homeowner in a wide variety of scenarios, including both of those described above.

A Claim is Generally Paid by Homeowners Insurance

One thing that can make these types of situations much less awkward is to understand that, even if your attorney is unable to resolve the matter with your neighbor’s insurer before it comes to filing a lawsuit, you will indeed be filing a lawsuit against your friend but that the real party who is holding the money to pay your personal injury claim is your neighbor’s insurer.  Therefore, it is important to keep in mind who actually will be paying for your injuries and other damages suffered as a result of your friend’s negligence.  Even if it is a claim against a friend, it is really his or her homeowner’s insurance that will pay up in either scenario above.

The Liability Protections under Homeowner’s Insurance

One of the least understood parts of homeowner’s insurance is the liability portion of the coverage provided under homeowner’s insurance.  Homeowner’s insurance serves not only to cover things like a burst pipe or damage from a hurricane but is also available to provide liability protection to a homeowner in the event a dog bites someone at the homeowner’s residence or some third party is injured in some other way by the homeowner’s negligence.  The average homeowner’s policy provides protections for the homeowner against a wide range of situations in which the homeowner may have been negligent, which caused injury to a person visiting the person’s home.

It is also very common for a homeowner to have a claim made against his or her homeowner’s insurance when someone is injured in his or her home. This could be something like one of the two situations described above or something much more serious, like a person drowning in a homeowner’s pool.  What these situations have in common is that they all involve a person being injured on the homeowner’s property and the homeowner’s negligence potentially being a cause of those injuries. You generally are not bringing a claim against a friend

Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A.

If you were injured, then you have the right to seek compensation for those injuries.    This is true whether the person that injured you through his or her negligence was a good friend or a complete stranger and regardless of where or the circumstances under which those injuries took place.  At Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A., our experienced personal injury attorneys have more than 150 years of combined legal practice representing victims of another person’s negligence in Florida. If you were injured at someone else’s home as a result of the homeowner’s negligence, you have the right under Florida law to receive compensation for your injuries. Therefore, if you, a family member, or a loved one have been injured by someone else’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.