When I answered an ad for a table, my leg buckled while climbing the steps to the seller's porch. I fell backward hitting my tailbone and slamming my head against paving stones. I also sustained a compression fracture to my left wrist. All this resulted in an ambulance ride to the hospital ER. I can't work because I have cancer. I can't get Medicare until 2014. Approval for Medi-Cal is hung up in an appeal process, so I do not have health insurance right now and my only income is widow benefits.
Given that, more often than not, the reason one's leg (or knee) buckles has more to do with that individual's physiology than anything else, it would be hard to prove any kind of negligence on the part of the home owner causing your leg to buckle. (Unless, there are other facts that you have not included as a party of your question.) So, I would think that you, likely, cannot file a claim against the homeowner's insurance for injuries.
Unless there was a defect in the steps or a danger known to the property owner, a claim for premises liability will not be possible. Sounds like your leg gave out. You could possibly request medical pay coverage under the property owner's insurance policy. I would recommend obtaining a free consultation from a personal injury attorney first.
If the home owner has insurance most policies have a no fault med pay provision that could cover your medical bills up to the limit, which is usually between $1,000-$10,000.
Otherwise you are looking at filing a personal injury lawsuit and trying to prove that there was something about the premises that was dangerous and that the home owners knew or should have know of the danger, and either warned against it or fixed it so it was safe.
if the accident simply occurred because you had a weak knee and it gave out, it will be a very difficult lawsuit.
I suggest you contact an experienced personal injury lawyer to assist you in evaluating your case. In the meantime, take photos of the area and your injuries and write out a confidential statement for your lawyer as to the details of what occurred. Also keep a mileage log of your miles to and from the medical providers as well as your medical expenses and missed time from work.
You can only file a claim against the seller' homeowner's insurance if the seller was somehow negligent. If your leg buckled on its own, there would be no liability on the seller. If there was something wrong with the stairs that caused you to fall, there might be liability. You should consult with an attorney further about this since your injuries appear to be severe, just to make sure. The attorney will be able to explore all the facts with you in greater detail.
If the owner has premises medical coverage it will pay up to the amount of coverage for bills incurred as a result of an injury on the property, irrespective of fault. To get more than that, you have to show the owner was negligent.
The county hospital will treat you and may have an ability to pay program.
I agree with the above responses. If there was a problem with the stairs that caused you to fall, then you would have a potential claim for your damages against the property owner/occupier. However, if the fall was due to your own leg giving out (and not due to a defective walking surface), then you would not be entitled to recover damages from the premises owner/occupier. If you would like more information about slip and fall claims in general, then please feel free to visit our website at www.russellandlazarus.com for more information.
I agree with attorney Deborah Barron's answer. To expand, and not duplicate her answer, it sounds like you have not yet tried to apply for social security disability. You should seek out a social security disability lawyer. You should also check and see if you qualify for any spousal benefits from your husband's social security. If there was some defect in the property (did the stair lack a rail, were the steps not up to Code, etc., then you may have a personal injury case. Seek the services of a personal injury lawyer immediately. Please read the disclaimer at the bottom of this page. Good luck to you. Adam Sorrells, Chico Injury Lawyer.
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