How Insurance Works for Premises Liability Claims
Being injured at a friend’s house or your favorite restaurant can make some people feel awkward about pursuing compensation. Most people assume they would have to sue the property owner, who could be a family member, friend, or small business owner, to recover damages. However, many premises liability claims are covered under a liability insurance policy, meaning you will likely file an insurance claim rather than a lawsuit.
California Insurance Policies for Properties
Insurance laws in California are complex. While every driver is required to have a general liability policy for their vehicle, properties are a whole other matter. General liability policies are not required for property owners, but most property owners are advised to have some form of insurance to cover their business, home, or personal property. Generally, if a business owner has an insurance policy to cover fires, earthquakes, or even theft, they will also be offered liability insurance.
Liability insurance is incredibly useful for business owners, as it means they do not have to pay out of pocket if a customer or tenant is injured. These policies are often bundled into the business owner’s insurance policy. Thus, it is not uncommon for a business to have such a policy in place.
But what about homeowners? In California, anyone who mortgages a home must have a homeowner’s insurance policy. These policies are generally split into two categories: property and personal liability. The first will cover damage to the home and is typically required by mortgage companies. In turn, personal liability covers any injuries sustained by a guest. If you are injured at a friend’s or family member’s home, then you are likely covered under a homeowner’s liability policy.
In contrast, renters are not required to have renter’s insurance; however, many apartment owners in California will require tenants to get insurance before signing a lease or include it in the property fees. Again, these policies typically cover property damage, but they can also include liability insurance for safety hazards in an apartment or condo.
What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
Typically, liability insurance policies for property owners provide coverage for any injuries sustained by a guest or tenant. That means if you trip on an uneven floor in an office building, you may be able to file a claim against the property owner’s liability policy if they knew there was a safety hazard. While there are exceptions to liability policies – such as situations where a property owner intentionally injures a guest or tenant – most accidents and injuries are covered if the property owner acted negligently.
Negligence can take many forms on a property, but in our experience, common forms include:
- Poor lighting in parking lots or stairwells
- A lack of security
- Cracks in tiles or flooring
- Unkept carpets that create tripping hazards
- Spills or wet surfaces
- Exposed wires
- Stray animals on a property
- Unsafe pools that have damaged railings or lack depth signage
- Unsafe parking lots
If you were injured due to one of these dangerous conditions and the property owner was aware of it – or reasonably should have known about it – then you may be able to file a premises liability claim against their insurance policy. While most of these conditions are related to businesses, homeowners and renters can also act negligently. If you trip and fell at your cousin’s house because of an unkept staircase, you could file a claim against their homeowner’s insurance policy. In addition, if your friend’s dog bit you, then your injuries can also be covered under their renter’s insurance policy.
While there are exceptions, you may have several options after an injury on someone else’s property, even if that person is a friend or family member. Not all injuries require a lawsuit, and you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim against an insurance policy instead of the property owner.
But the best way you can better understand a premises liability case and recover damages is to contact a Glendale premises liability attorney. If you or someone you loved was injured due to a negligent property owner, then the legal team at Aghabegian & Associates, PC may be able to help you recover compensation in a claim. Our law firm has more than 40 years of collective experience and can thoroughly explain your rights after an injury. To learn more in a free consultation, contact our office at (818) 507-4311.
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