Can I get in trouble for my friend falling on my property?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Rocky Mount, NC

We had all been smoking weed, and she had to go use the bathroom. She walked fine up the steps into the house, but when she came out, I don't know if she forgot the steps were there or not. She missed the step and fell and twisted her ankle pretty bad. I kept telling her if she thought it were broken we needed to go to the er, but she insisted not to do that.

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Michael Scott Rothrock

    Contributor Level 15

    9

    Lawyers agree

    1

    Answered . Your friend may attempt to file a claim, and if they do so you should notify and contact your homeowner's insurance company. If you are sued over the incident, the insurance company will hire you an attorney to defend the claim. Premise liability cases are notoriously difficult in North Carolina because of our doctrine of contributory negligence. That doctrine holds that if a person's own negligence/actions contributes in any manner to their injuries, they are barred from any recovery.

    This information is provided for general purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. No attorney-... more
  2. F. "Bill" William Powers

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    5

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If this or any other answer is helpful, please let AVVO know.

    North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence state. Ordinary Negligence is the legal standard, as there is no longer a distinction regarding the type of guest on the property.

    Although a claim could be filed, it would be EXTRAORDINARILY difficult to prove and/or survive a Motion for Summary Judgment.

    You may want to advise your carrier of the potential claim. Be advised, drug use in the premises COULD be a basis to deny coverage and/or drop the policy.

    Best of Luck!

    Bill Powers

    NOTE: Although a response is provided to the specific question, there may be other facts and law relevant to the... more
  3. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    6

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    Answered . A personal injury lawyer can represent her and pursue a homeowners claim if there was a defect or dangerous condition.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com
  4. S. David Rosenthal Esquire

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

    5

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    Answered . If the stairs constitute a dangerous condition then you might be civilly liable, but from what you describe it sounds like she is completely at fault. You should notify your homeowners insurance about the incident. It's possible that you have "medical payments" in your policy that will cover some of your friends medical bills regardless of whether you were at fault or not.

    Good luck.

  5. Jeffrey Mark Adams

    Contributor Level 20

    4

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    Answered . Trouble with whom? Unlikely the police will investigate this; but you never know. Contact a local and qualified attorney before you report this to your insurance company; but be sure to report this asap. Hopefully your friend will be fine and will receive "fair" compensation.

    Personal injury cases only; I'm good at it; you be the Judge! All information provided is for informational and... more
  6. David J. McCormick

    Contributor Level 20

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . If your friend files a claim then notify your homeowner’s insurance ASAP. The insurance company will be able to use all available defenses, like the fact that she was high on weed, to try and defeat the claim.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being... more
  7. Robert Matthew Kyle

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . Yes, if you contributed to the reason that she fell. That contribution can come in several ways: failing to take care of your property and allowing a dangerous condition to persist, or even creating the dangerous condition. There are other ways. If you have homeowner's insurance, the claim may be covered, but you are the defendant if it is your house and your policy. Also, I am not sure if she has a claim. Missing a step after smoking weed sounds like a bad party consequence and not a legal claim. There would have to be more to it. Hire someone local for a solid evaluation. My colleagues from NC already seem to have a handle on this. Premises cases in Texas are no easier. Good luck.

    The answer provided by counsel in the AVVO forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The... more

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