Visitor Question

Broken Ankle from Slipping on an Oil Leak…

Submitted By: Anonymous (USA)

On Sunday December 11th I slipped in oil and broke my ankle.

Surgery was performed Tuesday evening. I was at a friend’s home when this happened and he called an ambulance immediately. I’ve talked with my local attorney and he said, “If your friend was aware he had an oil leak, then he’s negligent. If he was not aware he is not negligent. These sorts of suits are very difficult to win.”

I have catastrophic health insurance. I pay $677/month for a $10K deductible and a $4K co-pay, so this fall will be very expensive for me. Shouldn’t I expect some sort of reimbursement?

In addition, this friend has always known my health insurance is expensive and he’s always said that he’d take care of me if something ever happened. Should I be able to collect on what I think might be a verbal contract, or do the courts just consider that to be idle chatter between friends?

His children, siblings and cousins all know I am important to him, and I was actually at his home to offer assistance to get him to a meeting we attend together. He needs help as he has 2 club feet, is 80+ and in a walker due to very poor balance.

I’ve never taken advantage of him but do join him for dinners and shopping which he often pays for. (When he pays for my shopping that might mean he’ll pay for Tide, Downey, etc.)

It’s not a full week or month of groceries. Anything you can suggest I ask my attorney is appreciated. 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 Anonymous,


The facts you present don’t make clear if you are presently represented by an attorney. If you are, then you should heed his advice. It would be inappropriate for us to interfere with an attorney-client relationship.

If your friend carried homeowners insurance, negligence should not be an issue.

Most homeowners policies exist to protect their insured. The policies pay out whether negligence resulted in a 3rd party’s injuries or not.

If your friend had a homeowners policy in effect at the time of your injury ask him for the name of his insurance company, his policy number, and the insurance company’s Toll Free telephone number.

Call the company and tell them you want to file a claim. You will be assigned to an insurance claims adjuster who will take your statement and then begin an investigation of the case to be sure it’s legitimate.

The adjuster will then make arrangements to compensate you for your medical bills, out of pocket expenses related to your injury, your lost wages, and possibly an additional amount for your pain and suffering.

On the other hand, if your friend did not carry homeowners insurance, the attorney you spoke with would be correct. To file suit against your friend you would need to show he was negligent. The amount of charitable work you performed for your friend has no bearing on the payments of insurance claims.

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: December 15, 2011

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