Friendly neighbor injured...

by M
(Smithfeild, Utah)

Out neighbor was over and while walking (she didn't trip, step on, or otherwise contact anything out of the ordinary) felt a rip in her foot and twisted her ankle. She went to the emergency room and now is asking if we can make a claim to our homeowner's insurance to help her pay for the injury.

She is not saying we are liable, but was hoping we might be able to help with the bill. Is that possible? Will it negatively effect our premiums? Any info is appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Friendly neighbor injured...":

M (Smithfeild, Utah) :

That will be entirely up to you. When it comes to minor homeowners insurance claims, covered under the "med pay" section of the policy, negligence is not an issue.

In this section of a homeowners policy, unlike car accident or commercial third party clams where negligence must be determined before a driver, store owner, etc., can be found liable, the injured party only has to show she was injured on the homeowner's property. Med pay, or "medical payments," coverage is often $1,000-$5,000. If the claim is higher, it must be filed under the liability coverage.

Whether or not your homeowners insurance premiums will rise if this claim is filed will be entirely dependent on your insurance company and your relationship with them.

For example, if a guest previously filed a claim under your homeowners insurance and that claim was ultimately paid, then it's likely your insurance rates would rise at the next renewal period. In the alternative, if this is the first claim you will make on behalf of an injured guest, then your rates might not rise.

Before determining whether you will agree to assist your guest with an injury claim, you might call your insurance agent and ask if your rates will rise upon filing this claim. Once you've spoken with your agent, or, if you don't have an agent, the insurance company representative, then you can make your decision accordingly.

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

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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