It's easy to spend so much time at a friend's house that it feels like a second home. But when an accident leaves you injured and possibly facing a lifelong disability, your thoughts can switch to the potential for recovering some of your medical costs instead. Knowing your rights to filing a personal injury claim after getting injured at a friend's house will help you make the right decision.
Increased Burden of Negligence
While you are legally able to sue anyone who owns a home that you visit, including family members, these individuals are not held to the same standard of liability as business owners and other public operators. A person is not required to keep their home to the same safety level as a business must, so you must prove a greater level of negligence when filing a claim against a private homeowner. If there was a serious problem that was known to the homeowner that they didn't warn you about after inviting you in, you likely can establish their negligence in causing your injury.
Awareness of the Situation
Your own awareness of the condition of your friend's property also plays a role in determining the cause of the accident. If your friend warned you about a loose floorboard or a missing step and you were injured because you forgot, it's much harder to establish a clear claim. In some states, even a verbal warning won't cover significant dangers that violate local occupancy and building codes. Check with a lawyer before assuming that your friend's warning was sufficient to free them from liability for injuries.
Homeowner's Insurance Coverage
In most cases, filing a claim through your friend's homeowner's insurance policy is the best way to cover your medical costs and time away from work. Almost all injuries and accidents that could happen in a home or around it will be covered by a good insurance policy. Most homeowners carry these policies since they're required by mortgage lenders. If your friend owns their home in full and has dropped their insurance, a personal injury claim may be the only way to get compensation for your medical costs.
Consideration of Your Relationship
Filing a personal injury claim against a friend is likely to end the relationship, or at least change it significantly. This is the biggest stumbling block many people experience when stuck with high hospital bills from a serious injury. If you've lost a significant amount of income or are dealing with a temporary or permanent disability, you may need to choose between your friendship and finances.
For more information, reach out to a firm like Buckley Law Office.