Visitor Question

What if the homeowner is dead?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Everett, Washington)

On 9/9/2015 my 20yr old son slipped and fell bending his back over the side of the tub. There were no non-stick things on the tub or floor, no rugs on the slippery tile. He injured his back severely.

The problem is, this happened in my mother’s house where we were staying and she passed away on Jan 10,2015. Her homeowners insurance was added into her mortgage payment and we were keeping those payments current. Eventually the home foreclosed in May 2016.

Can my son still file a claim? Is it too late? He needs to have surgery, is unable to walk and has been bed bound since it happened. He has herniated and bulging disks in his lower back from it. Prior to the slip and fall he was energetic and self sufficient. The Dr won’t do the surgery until he loses weight, and he can’t exercise in order to lose the weight. It is a very messed up situation.

Any information would be helpful. Thank you. This happened in AZ and we now live back in WA, which is where we originally lived before going there to take care of her.

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,

Standard homeowners insurance policies, called HO-3 polices, do NOT cover injuries sustained by the homeowner or the homeowner’s immediate family members, when the injuries occur on the the homeowner’s insured land.

However, there are exceptions.  Your mother may have paid an additional amount to the homeowners insurance company for a “rider” to the policy. A rider, also known as an “endorsement,” provides additional coverage above and beyond the standard insurance on a homeowners policy. If your mother purchased a rider, it is possible the rider may have covered her, you, and your son for injuries sustained on her property.

Start by looking for her homeowners policy. It may be in your mother’s file cabinet, drawer, safety deposit box, or other place where she may have stored important documents such as birth certificates, stocks, etc.  If you are unable to locate the policy, check with the bank or finance company which foreclosed on the property.

In the event your mother ceased making mortgage payments, the bank or mortgage company may have been making those for her not out of empathy, but rather in an effort to protect themselves from third party injury claims.

For additional information on What is Covered by Standard Homeowners Insurance.

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: October 19, 2017

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