Slip and Falls: What policy do you make a claim under?
As a rule, I only accept slip and fall cases that involve broken bones or significant time missed from work. Slip and falls involving only minor bruising are difficult to bring to resolution for both lawyer and client alike. Insurance companies may require the claimant to bring a lawsuit. If there are not a lot of damages, as minor bruising rarely requires much treatment, it may not be worth the client’s time to do this. I will refer those smaller cases to other lawyers realizing how difficult it can be to satisfactorily meet a client’s expectation.
The insurance policy pursued for slip and fall cases depends on where the incident occurred. It is best to call an experienced personal injury lawyer to help guide you through this process. The following is a general guide on policies but should not be considered legal advice. It is best to discuss the specific facts of your case with a personal injury attorney.
The policy to be pursued depends on the classification of the property where the incident occurred. Slip and falls at private residences are covered under the owner’s Homeowner’s Policy. If there is a renter at the private residence, the claim may be covered by Renter’s Insurance, if there is any, or by the Homeowner’s Policy. It is recommended that you try to find out if the homeowner also has an Umbrella Insurance policy. This can cover anything in excess of the Homeowner’s Policy coverage, should it be needed. You will unlikely be able to find this out without filing a lawsuit. It may be necessary if the damages are more than the coverage limits of the Homeowner’s Policy.
If the slip and fall occurs at a business, most of these will be covered by commercial property insurance. The coverage limits for commercial polices are likely higher than Homeowner’s or Renter’s. Many commercial policies also carry no-fault MedPay coverage. This means that the policy will pay for the medical expenses of the injured claimant (up to a certain amount, dictated by the policy) no matter who was responsible. Unfortunately, a lot of commercial property insurers will refuse to honor this coverage if they dispute fault for the incident, forcing you to have to hire an attorney to get your medical bills paid if you don’t have health insurance.
If the slip and fall occurs on Government Property, the claim will be governed by the Missouri Tort Claims Act if it is property owned by the State of Missouri. Claimants only have 90 days to submit a claim under this Act. If it occurs on Federal Property, the claim must be made through the Federal Tort Claims Act. In each instance there are special rules and deadlines for claims against the government which must be strictly followed.