A standard homeowner insurance policy offers many different kinds of coverage that protect the home itself, but it also protects homeowners and members of the household from personal injury lawsuits for certain acts of negligence that occur on the premises. Most homeowner policies provide a minimum of $100,000 of liability protection, but some people will choose to increase that amount, especially if there is a potentially hazardous construction on the property, such as a swimming pool or tennis court.
Liability coverage under a homeowner insurance policy offers protection for both bodily injury and property damage. But this is usually only for claims involving accidents of negligence that a homeowner would normally be legally responsible for. Some of the most common negligence claims against homeowner insurance policies include occurrences such as dog bites (or other animal bites), slip and fall injures, or poorly maintained trees that fall over and damage a neighbor’s adjoining property. However, even these kinds of claims still require that actual negligence be proven. For example, it might not be your neighbor’s fault that a tree fell; so unless the homeowner was negligent in refusing to cut down a dying tree, the claim would be denied. An attorney can explain whether or not negligence is likely to be proven in any individual case. Sometimes situations that may at first blush seem totally accidental actually prove to have certain unreasonable actions connected to them.
In the event of a stray-dog attack – we wont know who to sue if we cannot identify the dog’s owner.
When considering whether or not to file a claim against your neighbor’s homeowner insurance, you must first determine if your neighbor could be held liable; meaning, did your neighbor fail to do something that caused you to be injured. Just because your injury happened on your neighbor’s property, or that you slipped and fell on your neighbor’s stairs, does not automatically mean your neighbor is responsible. However, not all accidents are truly accidental. Property owners do have obligations (to adequately maintain their premises, to warn of dangers they know -or should have know- about), and their failure to meet them comes with liability.
In many cases so-called ‘Acts of God’ are not covered under the liability portion of the policy. This would include such things as windstorms, tornadoes, floods and other disasters caused by the weather, or any naturally-occurring events that cause damage.
However, some homeowner insurance policies carry Medical Payments Coverage, usually with up to a minimum of $1,000 to $5,000 per occurrence, which does not require any fault or negligence from the insured. In other words: if it was your own fault that you fell and broke your arm at your neighbor’s party, you might not have a valid claim for pain and suffering, but the Med Pay portion of the policy would still cover your medical bills up to the limit of the coverage. However, Med Pay coverage, as well as Liability Coverage, does not apply to the insured, or to the members of the insured’s household. In other words, residents who live in the same house cannot sue each other.
The bottom line is that the laws regarding when you can and cannot sue another’s homeowner insurance can be very complicated. You should always discuss your particular situation with an experienced Miami personal injury attorney. Feel free to reach out to the Florida accident lawyers at the Law Firm of Neufeld, Kleinberg, & Pinkiert, P.A. for a free consultation.