Trip and Fall at a Friend's Home...

by Nancy
(West Orange, NJ, USA)

I went to friend's house for a child's birthday party. They have slate steps that were cracked and broken. My right foot went into a crack and I lost my balance. There was no guardrail to grab to keep myself from falling. I had to go to the emergency room where I discovered I sprained both ankles and broke the little toe on my right foot.

She's my friend, but I am seriously compromised. What can I do about my injuries and medical bills without hurting her unduly? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Trip and Fall at a Friend's Home...":

Nancy (West Orange, NJ, USA):

Ask your friend for her insurance contact information. If she has a valid homeowners insurance policy it will undoubtedly cover your injuries and related medical bills. If you aren't willing to ask your friend for her homeowners insurance information there is little else you can do.

That is what homeowners insurance policies are for. If your friend hasn't had recent claims filed against the policy this claim shouldn't adversely affect her policy renewal or her premiums.

If your friend has in place valid coverage and she doesn't offer the information to you, the clear implication may be that she doesn't want to help.

If she doesn't want to help you are left with two alternatives. The first is to pay your medical and related bills yourself. The second is to file a Small Claims Court action against her. Doing so may finally prompt her to give you the necessary insurance information, although that would likely end your friendship.

The problem you may run into when filing a small claims action in the State of New Jersey is the jurisdictional limit of the court. Unfortunately the jurisdictional limit, or "maximum amount" a person can sue for in the State of New Jersey is one of the lowest in the country at $3,000 dollars.

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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