It isn’t unusual for a friendly visit to a neighbor’s house to end in tragedy. Maybe you climbed their steps when a rotten board gave way, or a part of the ceiling fell and hit you on the head. Or maybe your neighbor’s dog responded to a friendly overture by chomping on your arm. Regardless of how you were injured, you have incurred serious medical expenses and might even have missed work to recover.
As leading Miami premises liability lawyers, we receive many questions from the public. One of the more common is, “If I got hurt a neighbor’s house, can I sue?” The answer is “possibly.” Let’s take a closer look below.
Identifying the Hazard that Injured You
Your first step is to determine what injured you and to document it. Some hazards might be open and obvious like a hole dug in the ground. If you step into the hole, then you probably can’t make a claim for compensation, because the law expects you to avoid hazards you can see. However, if the hazard wasn’t obvious but was something your neighbor should have known about, then you could possibly bring a claim.
A homeowners’ policy will cover injuries caused by the homeowner’s negligence. Negligence simply means the homeowner did not use sufficient care under the circumstances. This is a very fact-based analysis and involves the consideration of many different factors:
- What the homeowner knew about the hazard that injured you. Did they actually know? Was it something a careful homeowner would know about? Or was the hazard completely hidden from view and only something a thorough inspection would uncover?
- Why you were on the property. Were you invited over? Did you just walk over?
- Your own care or lack thereof. Did you mishandle an item and get injured?
Let’s say your neighbor invited you over to visit and had just waxed the floors. If you slip and fall, and the homeowner didn’t give you a warning, then you might be able to bring a claim. By contrast, if you walked onto the property without permission and was injured by a hidden defect, you might not be able to sue.
It’s hard for the ordinary person to analyze negligence on their own. Since these cases are so fact-specific, you should meet with a Miami premises liability attorney.
Making a Demand for Compensation
Instead of rushing to court, you might send a demand for compensation to the insurer first. We can help. Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum has brought many premises liability claims for dog bites, slip and falls, and other accidents.
If you have a question, please call us today at 305-371-2692. We offer a free consultation.