I was staying at my friend’s home out of state when I was injured. She had a sixteen year old dog and there were puppy pads outside the room where I was sleeping.
The dog missed the puppy pad and peed on the floor. I was walking out of the room and slipped on the dog’s pee.
I had a broken patella and needed surgery, and I’m now receiving physical therapy and acupuncture. Their insurance adjuster contacted me and claims I was 50 percent responsible.
I am on Medicare and so far bills have been paid.
It was a tough surgery and I’m still trying to recuperate.
Where do I go from here to make sure all my bills are paid? Am I really 50% at-fault for this, as the adjuster says? What can I do? 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.
California follows the legal doctrine of Pure Comparative Negligence. Pure comparative negligence means a judge, jury, or insurance company claims adjuster can assign a percentage of fault to each party in an injury and/or property damage claim. Learn more about pure comparative negligence/fault here.
In your case, the claims adjuster is saying you were 50 percent at fault. From the facts you present, you don’t appear to have ANY fault. The claims adjuster is representing your friend’s homeowners insurance company and wants to pay you as little as possible.
There must be some reason the claims adjuster is assigning 50 percent comparative negligence to you. Were you intoxicated at or about the time you fell? Before you fell, did your friend tell you to wear slippers, or be aware of possible urine in the floor? If so, the claims adjuster may be relying on that to assign 50% fault to you.
Without more information it’s very difficult to know why the claims adjuster is saying you were 50 percent at fault.
Because of the seriousness of your injuries, you may be able to find an attorney to accept your claim on a contingency fee basis. This means your attorney will not be paid until, and unless he or she settles your claim or wins it at trial.
If the insurance company maintains its position you were 50 percent at fault, and as a result only offers you a settlement representing 50 percent of your medical bills, the insurance company may be acting in “bad faith”.
When there is evidence an insurance company acted outside the bounds of acceptable conduct in handling a legitimate injury claim, a judge or jury can award damages which include payment for the medical bills you already asked for, an additional amount for your emotional distress, and punitive damages. These damages represent compensation over and above the amount available through the insurance policy itself.
Learn more here: Homeowner Insurance Injury Claims
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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