New Mexico Premises Liability
Nearly all socialized human beings have visited friends or family for holidays, reunions, birthday parties, home renovation projects and so on. Not many of us have taken the time to consider what might happen if we were to be injured while undertaking such visits. Nobody relishes the idea of filing a lawsuit against friends or family members but how will the medical bills be paid? Who will cover for your lost time from work or your impaired future earning potential?
Generally speaking, the straightforward answer is the property owner’s homeowner’s insurance company will likely take the brunt of the financial responsibility. Naturally, even this can be awkward when the defendant in such a case is your close friend or family member. That being said, both you and your friend or family member will be thinking and hoping that it is not you who will be left holding the proverbial bill. This is the main purpose for purchasing homeowner’s insurance; accidents do and will happen, it’s just a matter of when and how. Insurance may be required in most real estate closing transactions but we buy it to protect us against precisely this type of “what if.”
If and when you manage to bring yourself past the hesitation inherent in possibly suing your friends or family, you should speak with a local civil attorney to discuss your options. Injuries that occur on one person’s property generally fall under what is commonly referred to as “premise liability” claims and are best pursued against the insurance company by a Albuquerque personal injury lawyer or Albuquerque premises liability lawyer. Premise liability laws generally require that the owner or possessor of a piece of property maintain safe premises for anyone who would reasonably be expected to use, visit or act upon the land owned. Not keeping up with this mandate to maintain safe grounds can lead to legal and financial liability being placed upon the owner in the event of an accident that could have and should have been prevented.
It is vital that any responsible home or property owner understand these laws and how their homeowner’s or property insurance policy works to protect them from future liabilities. Perhaps more importantly, understanding that one’s insurance policy will foot the majority of any bill for damages can help to relieve the inherent tension between friends and family in situations such as these. Almost every type of homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage or protection against most types of unforeseen liability. This liability coverage protects against severe financial loss when liability is attributed to a property owner. This means not only would the expenses for the injured person’s recovery be covered by the insurance policy, but also any expenses associated with additional damage to their own property or any injuries they themselves might have suffered in the same event(s). This same liability coverage will theoretically pay for the medical bills associated and attributed to the injury. This is more commonly referred to as medical payment coverage. This medical payment coverage usually is provided to the policyholder regardless of any finding of legal liability.
Generally speaking, policy limits for such homeowner’s insurance policies usually begin around $100,000, including medical payment coverage at approximately $1,000 per injured person, or per accident/event. Many home or property owners carry higher policy limits as a safeguard against catastrophe. The insurance policy itself is a legal contract and most such contracts contain what are commonly called “exemptions” or “exclusions”. These are pre-described actions, events, or circumstances that the insurance company will not provide liability protection to the policyholder for. Two of the most common and most important of such exclusions are that many homeowner’s insurance policies do not provide coverage for household members that are filing a claim under their own policy against their own policy, and that homeowner’s insurance coverage, like auto insurance or business insurance, does not protect the policyholder from liability for intentional acts that harm others. Any New Mexico personal injury attorney would want to obtain a copy of the homeowner’s insurance policy to make sure that coverage exists.
Should you find yourself injured while visiting friends or family, don’t panic, don’t think that your family dynamics will be severely altered or destroyed as a result of sheer bad luck. If you are a property owner and do not currently possess homeowner’s insurance coverage, change that immediately. Nobody can accurately predict the future but you want to be prepared for the financial and emotional worst and insurance is the best and most efficient way of doing just that. It is absolutely urgent that you speak with a local civil or Albuquerque plaintiff’s attorney immediately should you find yourself the injured party in a scenario as described above. A qualified, experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to take you through the process of filing a claim, step by step, and better ensure that your rights are vindicated. If, on the other hand, you find your self the property owner in the same scenario, take a deep breath, relax and call your insurance provider for help.