Visitor Question

Liability for drunk woman falling and injuring herself at private residence?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

I had a get together at a friend’s house in Philadelphia, PA. An older woman, aged 68 fell off the porch and knocked herself out, injuring her head resulting in an ambulance ride and 14 stitches.

I’m unsure of her medical coverage, but can she sue the homeowner’s insurance for the fall? The reports from the hospital state she had acute alcohol intoxication – 3 times the legal limit. She doesn’t want to cause any problems for the homeowner and only wants the bills paid that are not covered. Can she do this without the assistance of an attorney? Thank you 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.

Answer

Dear Anonymous,

Based on Pennsylvania’s Comparative Negligence Statute, the older woman will very likely be barred from recovering compensation from the homeowner or the homeowner’s insurance company.

Under Pennsylvania’s 51% Comparative Negligence law, a victim in an accident is barred from recovering compensation from another party alleged to have caused the accident if it can be shown the victim’s actions (negligence) contributed to the accident in a percentage of 51% or more.

In this case, if it can be shown the percentage of the woman’s contribution or “comparative negligence” to the accident was 51% or higher, the woman will be barred from recovering compensation. Three times the legal blood alcohol limit of .08% is .24%. Such a degree of intoxication would render most people incapable of standing without falling.

Alternatively, if it is determined the woman’s percentage of comparative negligence was 51% or less, then the woman is entitled to seek compensation, albeit there is no guarantee she will be awarded such compensation.

To read Pennsylvania’s statute on Comparative Negligence see:
Pennsylvania Revised Statutes Section 7102

Learn more here: Alcohol-Related Injuries

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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