Visitor Question

Broke my back helping a friend…

Submitted By: Stacy (Arab, AL)

I have a friend who has recently gotten a divorce. Because of this divorce, he has become an alcoholic. After his last release from rehab, I called to check on him, and with a very “thick tongue” he told me he was getting ready to go get some more vodka at the store.

I begged him not to drive because of what might happen due to his condition. I asked to wait on me and at least I could drive him so he wouldn’t have a wreck, killing himself or someone else. I told him I would be there in about 30 min, but it was around 1 hour and a half before I arrived.

When I did arrive, his girlfriend had just arrived before me. He was passed out in the kitchen floor. She and I dragged him to the living room and tried to pick him up and put him on the sofa. While doing this I broke my back, with a fracture to my L-4 vertebrae.

After numerous doctor visits and lots of pain, missed work, etc., I’m still battling this situation with the pain and out-of-pocket expenses. My insurance doesn’t cover it. Do I have a case? Any info you can give would be helpful, 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.


Dear Stacy,

To have the basis of a personal injury liability claim, there must be evidence of negligence. From the facts you present, negligence does not exist.

You seem to be suggesting your friend with the alcohol problem should be liable for your injuries and resulting damages. (Damages generally include medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.) But, it doesn’t appear your friend was negligent, just drunk and passed out in his home.

In the alternative, if your friend owned the home and carried homeowners insurance, you would not have to prove negligence, and would likely be entitled to coverage for all your damages other than pain and suffering. Homeowners insurance does not cover pain and suffering.

If your friend was renting his premises and he had renters insurance, there is a possibility, albeit remote, that the renters insurance may cover your injuries and resulting damages.

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: July 17, 2014

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