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

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. 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-client relationship is created with the furnishing of this advice. Attorney licensed in North Carolina only.

  2. 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 educational purposes only. No attorney client relationship has been formed or should be inferred. Please speak with a local and qualified attorney. I truly wish you and those close to you all the best. Jeff

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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 provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

  6. 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 issue. The questioner should not base any decision on the answer and is specifically advised no client-lawyer relationship has been established. Put simply, seek the advice of competent counsel without delay to discuss the particular aspects of the case, factual scenario and historical background. NOTE: There may be other facts and law relevant to the issue. Readers should not base any decision on the;information provided herein and are specifically advised no client-lawyer relationship has been established. Put simply, seek the advice of competent counsel without delay to discuss the particular aspects of the case, factual scenario and historical background WHY: The content herein is provided for educational purposes and should not be inferred as applying only to DWI / DUI criminal defense. In fact, it may be equally relevant to claims of personal injury involving accidents and the consumption of alcohol or more simply, to the daily practice of law. Bill Powers lectures on such issues on a regular basis with the intent to educate, to be fair, to be accurate and to encourage, open, honest and scientific discussion on the subject. Attorney Bill Powers did NOT represent the Defendant in the particular cause of action.

  7. 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 information is opinion only and given free of charge without full understanding of all facts and the law applicable to any question-poster's individual circumstances. The best advice is to take the question from this volunteer forum to a more formal communication with a practitioner in the specialty area indicated by the nature of the claim.

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