Visitor Question

Obese woman breaks chair and is injured…

Submitted By: M (Philadelphia, PA)

An obese woman (300+lbs) came for a visit to my home and she sat on a chair for about 40mins. She got up to get something and sat down back down in the same chair by kind of backing/falling into it. The chair broke and she landed sitting up very hard on her rump. She said her back hurt a bit but left the house walking okay.

If she is hurt can she sue our homeowners insurance for medical expenses? Who would be liable in this situation? 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 M,

If the obese woman has been injured in your home she may contact your homeowners insurance company. This doesn’t mean she will necessarily sue you or your insurance company.

You can’t stop her from doing what she wants to do. The only way you will know if she wants to pursue a claim is when she contacts you and asks you for the name and telephone number of your homeowners insurance company.

You certainly don’t have to give her the information. If you don’t she will have to do some research to get the information. Also, if you don’t give her the information it is always possible she might file suit against you.

That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news…

Just because she may file a claim or lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean she will either recover compensation in a settlement or win after a lawsuit.

To do so she must have real and documented injuries. Just falling down on a chair may not be enough. Claiming her back was hurt will have to be supported by medical evidence.

Remember, anyone can file a claim or a lawsuit. It happens all the time. There is usually little or nothing which can be done to stop a person from wasting everyone’s time.

Remember though, that’s why you have homeowners insurance in the first place. You can be sure the last thing your insurance company, like any insurance company, wants to do is to pay out money to anyone who they believe does not really have sustainable injuries.

Just because a person files a claim against your homeowners policy also doesn’t mean it will be an automatic “black mark” against you, possibly causing your premiums to rise. These things can happen, but normally only if your insurance company concludes you were somehow negligent and your negligence resulted in the person’s injuries.

From the facts you present there is no indication of your negligence.

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: August 30, 2011

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