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Pursuing Personal Injury Claims under Homeowner’s Insurance Policies

Home Personal InjuriesHomeowners Insurance can cover a variety of bodily injury that someone who does not own the home or is not a family member suffers. The homeowner would have personal liability coverage that would kick in once someone begins the claims process. Then, the home insurer would make a payment to the injured person.

The Homeowners Policy Acts as a Personal Liability Insurance

The most common type of injury that would require filing a claim against a homeowner’s policy is when you have fallen on the homeowner’s property and have been hurt in an accident.

Here are some examples of common personal injuries on someone’s property:

  • You are walking on the property owner’s driveway or sidewalk and you slip on ice or snow that they should have cleared.
  • A branch falls from a tree on their property and strikes you.
  • You are bitten by someone’s dog in or in front of their house

All of these can invoke the policy’s personal liability coverage.

Someone is liable for what happens on their property when there are visitors. In most cases, it is the homeowners’ policy that will cover the injuries and damage to your personal property. You would need to file a claim with the insurance and provide them with the facts so they can determine the coverage.

The homeowner’s policy does not just act to protect the policyholders from incidents that occur on their own property. There are numerous other kinds of things that this policy covers.

The most common type of coverage is when someone’s property injures you away from their home. For example, if you have suffered a dog bite, it does not matter where the incident occurred. The homeowner’s policy would cover the injury.

You may be surprised to know that someone’s homeowners’ insurance policy may also cover other types of liability that can allow for payments for things that occur outside of their home. For example, homeowners insurance could cover many different types of property damage that someone can cause such as damage to a hotel room or someone else’s property.

If you are a business owner and someone causes damage to your store, you may be able to file a claim against their insurance for the damage. Even if someone slanders you in a social media post, their homeowner’s insurance would pay the damages in a libel lawsuit.

The homeowners’ insurance policy will cover things just as an umbrella policy would since, for many purposes, they are largely the same. Any type of compensation that you could receive in a personal injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover from the homeowner’s policy.

This includes damages for things such as:

  • Medical bills and any other medical expenses such as home care and rehabilitation
  • Lost wages if you are unable to work and miss time
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma that you have suffered from the injury
  • Wrongful death damages if someone was killed in the accident

The basic homeowner’s insurance policy does not have very high coverage limits for personal liability. As an injured victim, your best hope is that the responsible party has additional coverage beyond the minimum amount of insurance. It is in their interests to have adequate liability insurance and maybe even extra personal injury insurance.

Even if they have minimal coverage, you are not out of luck as an injured accident victim. You can always file a personal injury lawsuit because the homeowner’s liability is not capped at their policy limits.

You can go after their personal assets to provide you with financial compensation for your injuries. It is in the homeowner’s best interests to have extensive liability coverage because it protects them.

How to File a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim

Here are some of the steps that you would need to take to file a claim against someone’s homeowners’ policy:

  • The first thing that you need is the policy information. The hope is that the responsible party would willingly give you the information. It is in their best interests to do so because they cannot escape liability by simply refusing to tell you their policy details. You should take reasonable steps to obtain this information first.
  • If the homeowner will not give their policy details, you can go online and find the name of the property owner if the accident happened on their property. Then, you could file a personal injury lawsuit against them.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney to help assess your situation and represent you in dealings with the insurance company. You should also file a police report about the incident.
  • It is more likely that the homeowner will take your contact information and give it to the insurance company. As next steps, the homeowner’s insurer will contact you through their adjuster. Then, you will provide them with the specific information about the incident along with documentation of the claim as well as any other relevant personal information. You may need to fill out a claim form.
  • Speak to the insurance adjuster when they contact you to investigate your claim. The insurance company will not write a check without the claims adjuster talking to you first.
  • Negotiate with the insurance company to obtain a better settlement offer for your home insurance claim. All insurance companies will try to low ball claims for personal injury coverage so it is important to know when and how to negotiate with them.

Exceptions from Liability Coverage on a Homeowners Policy

One thing that you cannot go after one’s homeowner’s insurance for is a car accident claim. While the homeowners’ policy does cover some injuries away from the home, it is not used as a secondary auto insurance policy.

The only way that you can file a claim against someone’s homeowners’ policy is when there is damage to your vehicle that occurs on their property. Other than that, you must file the claim with your insurance or the other driver’s insurance when you have suffered injury from a car accident.

In addition, if the homeowner acted willfully, their homeowners’ policy will not cover them for the damage that they have done. For example, if they have deliberately created the condition or attacked you on their property, you cannot file a claim against their insurance but would need to legally act against them directly.

To obtain legal advice about personal injury coverage and home insurance claims, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC. They will review the policy, the terms of use and any supplemental terms to help an injured person file a claim.