If you were injured at someone else’s house at a party, as an overnight guest, or while stopping by, you might be entitled to compensation from their homeowners insurance for any medical bills and other damages caused by the accident. However, the process of how to get that compensation isn’t always clear or easy. Our Baltimore premises liability lawyers at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice explain how to sue for injuries and how to include the defendant’s homeowners insurance in the case.
Do You Sue the Owner of the House or Their Insurance Company in Maryland?
When you are injured at someone’s house, you usually sue the owner of the house for the injuries. The homeowner is the one that owes you a duty to prevent slip and fall accidents by clearing up spills and icy sidewalks or a duty to prevent burn injuries by safely enclosing appliances and fireplaces. In any case where someone’s negligence caused your injuries, you sue them directly, but other parties (like insurance companies) might still be involved in the suit.
In the case of a homeowners insurance company, the agreement between the homeowner and the insurance company will be what brings the insurance company into the lawsuit. In most policies, the insurance company agrees to defend their insurance customer by providing them with a lawyer if they get sued, and they agree to pay the damages if they lose the lawsuit.
This means that while you won’t directly sue the property owner’s insurance company in a premises liability lawsuit in Maryland, it does mean that they will still be involved in the lawsuit in some way.
Can You File a Homeowners Insurance Claim Instead of a Lawsuit for Property Injuries in Maryland?
Instead of going to court after an injury on someone else’s property, you might try to work the case by making a claim against their homeowners insurance. When you go down this route instead of filing a lawsuit, you might be able to get damages faster and without hiring a lawyer, but you might not get the full damages you deserve.
Insurance policies often cover only the damages that they list in the policy. This primarily includes medical bills to treat an injury and lost wages suffered in the immediate aftermath of the accident – but these damages might not be covered at their full value. There will also be other damages that the victim faces that will not be covered, such as the mental anguish of an injury and the physical pain they experienced. Without coverage for these damages, an insurance claim will usually be too low.
In some cases, the insurance company might even reach out to contact you. They could request documentation to help prove your injuries and the cost of your medical bills. If you work with them, you could be exposing information about your case or setting yourself up for a low-ball insurance settlement.
Talk to a lawyer about your case to make sure that the insurance company is not trying to take advantage of you. In many cases where you are injured at a friend or loved one’s house, they might not even know the extent of what their insurance company is doing, and it might make it hard to talk to them about the case. Get a lawyer to help you avoid giving away any details or evidence that might make the insurance company settle low.
The Process of Suing for Injuries Against a Homeowners Insurance Company in Maryland
When you sue for damages, the case will start with an initial complaint that lays out what happened to you, how the defendant is responsible, and what damages you are claiming. Again, the defendant in your case will usually be the individual homeowner who was responsible for your injuries, though you might have to include the insurance company in the lawsuit as well. When you file these papers with the court, you will also have to serve a copy to the defendant(s) following any local or state procedural rules.
As the case progresses, you will often gain access to court subpoenas to gather evidence that might be under the defendant’s control since the injuries occurred on their property. Your lawyer will also be able to ask written questions and hold depositions where they can get witnesses to testify about what happened to you. As the evidence is exposed and the case begins to build, the insurance company will ideally offer a fair settlement and end the case at this stage.
If the homeowner and their insurance company refuse to reach a fair settlement and the case continues on to trial, you might have to testify in court to get the compensation you need. At trial, your lawyer will present evidence of what happened in the accident and how the homeowner failed to make necessary repairs, failed to warn you of the dangers, or otherwise caused the accident.
Until the jury reaches a verdict and the judge makes the final ruling, the parties can still negotiate a settlement. However, you might be entitled to substantial damages if a sympathetic jury rules in your favor. The decision of whether to settle or press the case at trial is your decision, but your attorney should help you by advising you on the best course of action.
Call Our Maryland Lawyers for Injuries on Other People’s Property
If you were hurt on someone else’s property and faced substantial medical expenses, lost wages, or other damages because of the accident, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today. Our Baltimore personal injury lawyers might be able to help you file a claim against the homeowner and their insurance company to get you the damages you need. For a free legal consultation, call us today at (410) 694-7291.