Visitor Question

Can a homeowner be held liable for bodily injuries in their home?

Submitted By: Linda (Lindenwold, NJ, USA)

For the past 5 months I have been staying at my boyfriend’s one-story rancher home in Lindenwold, NJ.

I own a house as well. Three weeks ago, several of his buddies came over to help him replace the roof.

The township he resides in does allow homeowners to replace their own roof and he did have the appropriate paperwork for construction permits to do the work.

However, while I was in the bedroom folding and putting away laundry, something went wrong and part of the roofing and ceiling came down and landed on me.

I fell hitting my head on the dresser and lost consciousness.

I was taken to a nearby hospital. I fractured my right arm in the incident, have 2 herniated discs in my neck and I am now dealing with a tremendous amount of pain.

My question is, if I were to file a lawsuit for damages against his homeowner’s insurance policy, could he also be held liable for damages personally? Thanks for any information you can give.

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 Linda,

There are some injury cases which can be handled without an attorney. Those include sprains, minor cuts, etc. More serious injuries like yours really require the expertise of an experienced personal injury attorney.

If you attempt to handle your own claim there’s a very high likelihood your net settlement will be much less than it would be if you were represented by an experienced attorney. Your attorney may not have to file a lawsuit. Instead he or she may be able to negotiate a substantial settlement without involving the courts.

Gather all your medical records and go online to make a list of several personal injury attorneys in your area. Most personal injury attorneys will not charge a fee for an initial office consultation. Make appointments with several. Doing so will help you form a clearer picture of the merits of your injury claim and your approximate settlement amount.

The statute of limitations in New York State for filing a personal injury lawsuit is 3 years from the date of the accident. Although a lawsuit may not be required, you should still be mindful of that time period, missing it could mean you get nothing.

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: April 12, 2013

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