Visitor Question

Filing a claim after I fell and broke both ankles at a home for sale?

Submitted By: S (San Diego, California)

I am a self-employed business owner that does work for Real Estate Agents. They hire me to enter a home that they have under contract to sell. I go through home and yard to measure and take pictures, then later do work at my own home with that information.

While at a new client’s site (Southern California), I tripped and fell on a small step leading to the side yard. It was less than 6 inches and nothing at all obvious that caused it. The home was vacant. The Agent had just gone out and come back in the same door with no problems. No hazard, no apparent negligence, etc.

When I fell, I ended up with both ankles broken, plus more bones in my feet. I am in casts, using a wheelchair and not able to work. I’ve already contacted my own Business owner’s insurance company and I am not covered for anything in this instance. I do have medical insurance. I do not currently have any self-employed workman’s comp for myself.

  1. Whom do I contact to try to make a no-fault accident claim with the homeowner: the real estate agent, or homeowner directly? Could the Agent’s contract with the Homeowner be impacted?
  2. It’s been 1 month since the accident. What happens if the home gets sold in the meantime?

Any other advice would be so welcome. Thank you!

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.

Answer

Dear S,

There are three types of classifications for people who enter onto others’ property. They are:

  • Invitee
  • Licensee
  • Trespasser

An Invitee is a person who gives some material benefit to the property owner, or to the person whose care the property was in. For example, in this case the homeowner hired the real estate agent to sell the property. It can be fairly implied you were also hired to afford a material benefit to the homeowner. As a result, you would be classified as an Invitee.

A Licensee is person who is allowed to enter a piece of property by permission of the owner, but does not provided a material benefit to the property owner. For example, a social guest at a party, visiting friends, etc.

A Trespasser is a person who is not invited onto the property and knows, or should know his or her presence is not permitted.

As an Invitee you can seek reimbursement for your medical bills from the property owner and the real estate agency. However, to succeed in your injury claim will require you to show the property owner and/or the real estate agency was negligent. Based on the facts, there is no evidence of negligence.

If the home is sold, the new homeowner will have no liability. The prospective homeowner would only be liable for your injuries and resulting costs if you were injured after the homeowner took possession of the property, and displayed negligence. Obviously that isn’t the case here.

Learn more here: Homeowner 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 with your claim.

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