What Happens If You’re Hurt in Someone Else’s Home?

When you’re in somebody else’s home, the last thing you think about is getting hurt. Whether you’re invited for dinner, are a contractor doing a home repair, or even if your child has wandered into a neighbor’s back yard uninvited, injury is not on your mind. Unfortunately, accidents do happen, and when that happens and an injury occurs, you’re eventually faced with the question of legal and financial responsibility. Premises liability laws make homeowners responsible for the safety of people on their property, and if they’ve failed to pay attention to potential dangers mean you may have the right to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for the damages you’ve suffered.

When you’re a visitor to someone else’s property and you’re injured while you’re there, the question of legal responsibility is determined in part by which of three different categories you fall into. Those categories are:

  • Guests without payment
  • Business invitee
  • Trespasser

Property owners owe the greatest duty of care to people who are visiting them as guests without payments, though business invitees are also owed a high level of care.  If you’re a trespasser who is injured, you generally have no right to hold the homeowner or property owner responsible for your damages, but invitees of all types do, as they are considered to be present at your express or implied invitation. That’s why homeowners are expected to maintain their property in a safe condition, addressing conditions that they know about as well as some of which they may not be aware or should be. So, if you’re on your neighbor’s back deck and you fall and hurt yourself on a loose plank, it’s a condition that they may not have known about, but they should have – and they can be held responsible for your injuries.

Premises owners have a requirement to not only keep their property safe so that people don’t get injured, but also to make sure that anybody who comes onto their property is aware of a danger that exists. That means that the loose plank on the deck not only needs to be fixed, but also requires a sign or some kind of barricade to prevent a person from stepping on it. A homeowner who has a vicious dog is not only expected to keep their dog away from visitors, but also to put up a warning that the dog bites, and a homeowner who has an “attractive nuisance” like a pool in their backyard is required to erect a fence to keep people from entering and potentially getting hurt. Without that level of warning, the chances of them being viewed as legally negligent are higher.

Filing a lawsuit against a homeowner can be emotionally challenging, especially if they are somebody that you know or have a relationship with. But without taking that step, you will be facing the financial, emotional and physical costs of your injury on your own. If you are uncertain as to your rights or the potential outcomes, contact our office to set up an appointment. We will pay close attention to the details and let you know your options.