On May 29, 2017 around 9am my neighbor – a certified electrician – and his adult son came over to my house, at my request, to finish replacing a dusk to dawn light. Soon, the adult son rushed to my door and said call 911, which I did immediately.
They had placed their double length aluminum sliding ladder against my personal electric pole while he, the son, held the ladder. When my neighbor went up the ladder, the telephone pole snapped at the bottom and he fell (due to his weight of over 230 pounds, and the now exposed rotten bottom of the pole).
Emergency services arrived and flew him to a trauma center to be safe. We all had NO PRIOR visible knowledge that that pole was what severely weakened, and rotten. I have $100,000 personal liability coverage, and $1,000 medical to others. Do I need to get a lawyer? What else should I do? 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.
Yes. Seek the immediate advice and counsel of a local attorney. The legal issues involved are too complex, and the consequences too severe for you to attempt to handle this matter yourself.
After a thorough investigation into the injury, your insurance company may decide to offer policy limits, especially if they believe your neighbor’s injuries are serious enough to warrant the full payout.
In the event your policy limits aren’t sufficient to cover the injured man’s injuries, he may seek additional compensation from you personally. That is why you must seek immediate legal representation. If the injured man has very high medical bills and decides to sue you personally, and your assets aren’t enough to cover the additional compensation, you may need to consider bankruptcy.
Under West Virginia’s Modified Comparative Negligence statute § 55-7-13a, if a victim contributes to his or her own injuries, that contribution may diminish the amount of compensation paid to the victim. However, if it is determined the victim’s contribution to his or own injuries is 51% or higher, the victim is barred from compensation from the at-fault party.
After visiting with you, your attorney attorney will further advise you of your options.
Learn more here: Homeowner Liability for Injured Workers
The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.
Best of luck with your claim,
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