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When Someone Slips on Your Property, Who Takes the Fall?


It’s a nightmare scenario: you’ve just wrapped up a casual get-together at your home when a guest slips and falls in your driveway. That fall could cause serious injury – and your guest could sue you to cover the costs of their medical bills.

Thankfully, your homeowners insurance can help. Here, we’ll explain the hazards that homeowners insurance can cover, the types of coverage you’ll need, and the steps you can take to prevent slips and falls on your property.

What Are Some Common Slip-And-Fall Hazards – And How Can You Prevent Them?

Homeowners insurance typically covers guests’ slips and falls caused by hazards like:

  • Cracked or uneven ground.
  • Icy, wet, or unshoveled walkways.
  • Poorly designed handrails and steps.
  • Poorly lit hallways.
  • Loose nails in floorboards.
  • Rugs without rug pads.

However, your homeowners insurance won’t cover every accident on your property. The personal liability portion of your homeowners insurance is designed to cover you if your negligence created a hazard that caused a visitor to fall (it won’t cover you if you or someone else in your household slips and falls).

Here, negligence is key – it limits the range of accidents for which you can be held liable.

For instance, you’re not liable for hazards on property you don’t own, like a city-owned sidewalk, because you’re not responsible for its maintenance. Similarly, you’re not liable for hazards that you can’t prevent, like your friend’s untied shoelaces or icy walkways during an ongoing winter storm.

The takeaway: if an injured guest decides to sue, confirm that the hazard in question is (a) on your property, (b) a hazard you could have prevented, and (c) the direct cause of the fall.

A lawsuit doesn’t have to happen, though. The right preventive maintenance can help you avoid slip-and-fall claims.

Steps you can take:

  • Install level flooring where possible.
  • Regularly check light bulbs, and replace those that are burnt out.
  • Install pads on staircases and rugs.
  • Check for and repair loose floorboards.
  • Salt driveways and walkways before winter storms – and shovel as soon as conditions allow.

When you make preventive maintenance a priority, you can reduce the likelihood of slips and falls on your property.

Medical Payments Coverage Can Cover Minor Injuries

Imagine that a guest trips over an extension cord in your living room and hits their head. You’re not sure how badly they’re injured, so you call an ambulance to make sure they get checked out as soon as possible.

With medical payments coverage, your insurer can cover associated medical costs. regardless of your personal negligence. This coverage type is designed to cover relatively minor injuries, with a typical limit of $5,000 or $10,000 for expenses incurred within one year of the accident. It’s intended in part to help you avoid a lawsuit.

With medical payments coverage, you can get immediate treatment for your injured guest without worrying about who’s footing the bill. This way, you can keep small problems from turning into big, expensive ones – in other words, the kind that someone might sue over.

To reduce the risk of injury on your property – and insurance payouts – do the maintenance needed to prevent common slip-and-fall hazards.

Liability Coverage Can Cover Accidents Caused By the Homeowner’s Negligence

What happens if a guest faces steep medical bills from a serious injury? Under the right circumstances, your policy’s liability coverage can cover the costs.

In order for liability coverage to cover medical costs, the injured person must prove your negligence. If a guest slipped and fell because you forgot to replace the burnt-out lightbulb in your entryway, you’d be considered negligent – and could be held liable.

Alongside medical expenses, liability coverage can also cover legal fees in the event that you’re sued, regardless of your negligence and the case’s outcome.

Standard liability coverage limits start at $100,000, but increasing your limit is relatively inexpensive. When it comes to your legal expenses, though, note that some homeowners policies may cover your “defense inside the limit” or “defense outside the limit” of your liability coverage. Review your policy to confirm which terms apply.

Medical and legal bills add up, so consider purchasing umbrella insurance to protect against unexpectedly high costs. If the sum of your medical and legal bills exceeds your coverage limit, for instance, umbrella insurance can help cover the remainder. However, you may need to purchase the maximum liability coverage limit before becoming eligible for umbrella coverage.

If a Slip-and-Fall Happens, Talk to An Insurance Agent

No matter how many preventive measures you take to prepare your property, slips and falls can still happen. If one occurs in your home, We Insure can help you understand what to expect next. What’s more, one of our agents can help you get adequate coverage to mitigate the costs of future falls.

Interested in talking to a We Insure agent? We’d love to chat.

The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.

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            [franchise_id] => 297
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            [date_added] => 2023-06-06 18:01:17

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The information contained in this page is provided for general informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations. We Insure makes no guarantees of results from the use of this information.