I Was Injured at a Friend’s House: Can I Make a Claim?

If you have been injured at a friend’s house – or your child has – then you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim. You can also recover compensation if your property has been damaged.

Occupier’s liability – hurt at a friend’s house

In British Columbia, there is a legal concept known as occupier’s liability. This means that the occupier of a premises is duty-bound to keep the area safe. While not every single risk can be eliminated, the occupier must take ‘reasonable steps’ to prevent injury to others. An occupier can be the person living in the property, the landlord or the strata.

If reasonable steps are not taken and someone (or something) is harmed as a result, then there could be grounds for a personal injury claim. The claim is made against the occupier. This could be your friend. Or, it could be your friend’s landlord or strata. It all depends on the circumstances.

It’s also possible that a contractor working on the property is responsible for your injuries. This is precisely what happened in a case we settled, in which a woman visiting her friend’s house fell through a hatch that had been left open by a service technician. She obtained a settlement of $180,000. Read the slip and fall case study in full.

Does home insurance cover injury to others?

Understandably, you might feel uncomfortable making a claim against your friend or their landlord. However, you can rest assured that these claims are typically made against the occupier’s insurance policy. If your friend is at fault, then this will be their homeowner’s insurance. This will cover the cost of your compensation settlement.

If your friend does not have homeowner’s insurance in place, then the only other option is to pursue the claim directly against him/her. This means your compensation is paid out of their own pocket. If the responsible party does not have enough funds to cover your claim, then it may be difficult to recover an award in full.

Can I file a claim against someone else’s homeowner’s insurance?

You can file a claim against someone else’s homeowner’s insurance if:

  • You have been injured through no fault of your own; or
  • Your child has been injured through no fault of their own; and/or
  • Your property has been damaged

However, you must be able to prove that the other party is at fault. You must also make a claim within the time limit. In British Columbia, this is two years from the date of the accident. There are some exceptions to this rule, including where the injured person is a child.

It is very common to be injured on someone else’s property. The way in which these accidents happen – and the type of injuries that are sustained – vary greatly in nature. Examples include:

  • Slips on snowy/icy walkways or wet floors
  • Trips on stairs, loose cables or carpets
  • Falls from a height
  • Dog bites
  • Property damage from falling trees
  • Pool injuries
  • Trampoline accidents

This is by no means an exhaustive list. If you’ve been injured at a friend’s house and you think someone else is to blame, you could have grounds for a claim.

What should I do if I’m injured at a friend’s house?

If you are injured at a friend’s house, then we recommend that you:

  • Take photos of the scene of the accident
  • Get medical assistance
  • Get the names and contact details of anyone who saw the accident
  • Contact our Vancouver personal injury lawyers for advice

You should be sure that you have a legal basis for a claim, before you contact your friend’s insurance company. The lawyers here at John Mickelson Law Corporation can advise you further. We can verify who is responsible for your accident, and whether you are able to obtain compensation for your injuries and property damage. We can also manage the whole claims process for you. It is important to have specialist legal representation. The insurance company will want solid evidence that your friend (or other party) is responsible, and that you have been injured through no fault of your own. If you do not provide this evidence, then your claim will fail.

Speak to witnesses

If anyone saw your accident, get their names and contact details. This will be easy if you were with people you know. If not, you’ll need to approach any witnesses in the immediate aftermath of the accident. Don’t worry if you forget: it may be possible to ask witnesses to come forward later on.

Make your own record

As soon as you’re able, write your own record of the accident. Write down all the details you can remember – even if they seem incidental. This includes the date, the time, the location, the weather and what you were wearing. Also record how the accident unfolded and the injuries that you sustained.

Keep receipts

If you spend any money because of your accident, then be sure to keep the receipts. This might include expenses spent on medication or travel to see a doctor. Also write down what money you have lost due to your injuries, such as lost earnings, overtime, or bonuses. It could be possible to reclaim all these losses.

Contact our personal injury lawyers

Next, contact our Vancouver personal injury lawyers. We specialise in slip and fall claims and can help you understand your legal position. We will advise if you have grounds to make a claim. This claim would made against the person, organisation or authority responsible for maintaining the area in which you were injured.

Do not accept a compensation settlement without legal advice

The insurance company who represents the party at fault may also realise that you’re entitled to compensation. If so, the insurer may contact you, offering an early settlement of your claim. Do not agree to anything without seeking independent legal advice first. You are likely entitled to a much greater sum of compensation than the one on offer.

Slip and fall claims

If you have slipped and fallen through no fault of your own, then you could be in a position to bring a personal injury claim. This would see that you are properly compensated for the damage that has been caused.

Although you might not be considering legal action right now, you might change your mind in the not-too-distant future. You might find that your injuries are not as minor as you initially thought, and this may have a long-term impact on your physical, emotional and financial health. It is therefore better to protect your position and follow the advice outlined above. This ensures that you keep your options open, allowing you to pursue legal action, should you want to.

To speak to our Vancouver personal injury lawyers, either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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