In all the controversy over home mortgages today, it is to be hoped that homeowners are not letting their homeowners' insurance lapse for lack of funds. That can be a big mistake, because even one major injury on their property can cause a homeowner to lose their life savings or even their home.
Reporting Injury to Home Owners Insurance
The first things to do if someone is injured on a homeowner's property are to get proper medical help. The next step is to contact the property owner's homeowners' insurance agent and report the accident. For minor injuries, they may handle the claim over the phone in a series of calls, learning the needs and providing adequate coverage. For more serious injuries, they will probably send an insurance adjuster to take charge.
Once a claims adjuster begins managing a homeowners' insurance personal injury or premises liability claim, the homeowner can generally leave the process in their hands. However, some of the elements to expect include:
- Obtaining a clear report of the accident from both the homeowner and the victim
- Calling in expert witnesses if necessary
- Obtaining testimony from other witnesses
- Gathering any evidence from the accident site
- Obtaining medical records from the injured party's physician or physicians
- Keeping the case open until it is clear that the injuries are healed or that they will be permanent or ongoing
- Settling the Claim
Problems that May Arise
In the best case scenario, the claim will be a simple process of determining the extent of the victim's injury, the cause of the injury, and putting in a final claim for coverage.
However, not all injuries occur according to plan. There can be a number of problems that arise in the process of settling such claims. Those problems may include:
- Disputes over who is at fault
- Disputes over the extent of the injuries
- Disputes over whether the homeowner in some way intended to injure the victim
- The extent of the homeowner's liability coverage
Any one of these problems and more could lead to a legal battle.
Compensation for Injured Party
If it is proven that the homeowner was liable for the victim's injuries, their insurance company may generally be required to pay compensation in one or more of these areas:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death (if necessary)
- Permanent disability
- Punitive damages if the negligence was willful
If the compensation award is greater than the insured's coverage, they will be required to pay the remainder themselves.
When is an Attorney Necessary?
When complications arise and an injury settlement proves impossible, both parties generally require the services of a personal injury attorney to protect their interests. The homeowners insurance company provides legal counsel to defend both their interests. In some cases, that may mean proving that the victim is exaggerating their injury for profit. The insurance company's lawyer has probably often handled such cases and can detect such deception and provide a defense against it, protecting their client and their insurance funds from being taken advantage of.