Visitor Question

Broken Foot from Fall in Relative’s Home…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

I slipped and fell down the stairs in a relative’s home. This resulted in a broken foot that requires surgery.

Can I possibly sue their homeowners insurance company for damages without suing them directly?

This is a very sensitive issue because it’s a close family member and I don’t want to risk alienation. Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

You really don’t have to sue anyone. People think when an injury occurs they have to immediately file a lawsuit. That’s usually not the case.

Because of the nature of homeowners insurance more often than not the people who file claims are family and friends. Those are the people who are usually on the premises the most.

Don’t feel alone. This happens all the time. The best way to handle your claim is to discreetly discuss the matter with your family member. Explain to her the medical costs related to your injury. Ask her for the name of her homeowners insurance company, the policy and telephone numbers.

Tell her you have no intention of suing her. Filing a claim against a homeowner’s policy is not the same as suing someone. Normally these matters are handled by the insurance companies professionally and quietly.

Once you contact her insurance company a claim and a claim number will be created. You will then submit your medical bills, out of pocket expenses, and verification of any lost wages. Once submitted and verified you should be promptly reimbursed.

From the facts you present it doesn’t look like your fall was caused by your family member’s negligence. That being the case the filing of your claim will not be a “black mark” against your friend or family member.

As a result her policy should not be at all adversely affected. Her premiums should not change either.

With some luck and good negotiating you may be able to settle your case with the insurance company for the cost of your medical treatment, out of pocket expenses, lost wages, and even an amount for pain and suffering.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: August 31, 2011

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