Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Injuries Sustained by the Homeowner Themselves?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

As a homeowner, you've probably heard a great deal about your potential liability for any injuries that your guests or workers sustain on your property. If you have a big yard, a long walkway or a blind driveway, you might be especially worried about these issues. After all, hundreds of American homeowners are found to be liable for such injuries each year. To make matters worse, the average homeowner has only a limited ability to "accident-proof" his or her property.

The most common types of private-property personal injuries occur as a result of slips or falls. These incidents are especially common during the winter: Unsuspecting guests or workers who walk on icy, untreated walkways or driveways often slip and seriously injure their hands, arms, legs and heads. Falls are also fairly common during the summer. These summertime injuries are often sustained by contractors or laborers working in elevated positions around the exterior of the house. A wobbly ladder that rests on an unstable surface or a loose rooftop shingle could be enough to cause one of these individuals to lose his or her balance and tumble to the ground. Such injuries can be extremely serious and may result in medical bills that total $50,000 or more.

Fortunately, many homeowner's insurance companies cover these types of costs. If you have a new house that requires a gold-plated homeowner's insurance policy, you're almost guaranteed to have some form of liability coverage. While the injured worker or guest could still choose to bring a lawsuit against you in the event that your insurer denies his or her claim, such coverage would significantly reduce your risk of paying out of pocket for the incident.

On the other hand, few homeowner's insurance policies cover medical expenses associated with injuries to individual policyholders. In other words, you can't hold your insurance company liable for an injury that you sustain on your own property. If you fall off of the roof of your house while performing routine repair work, you'll need to pay for your own medical bills. Of course, your health insurance company will probably pay for a portion of these expenses.

You may be able to recover your remaining out-of-pocket expenses by other means. If you've recently had work done on your roof, you may be able to hold the contractor or roofing-materials manufacturer liable for your injury. This will require you to compile enough evidence to file a formal lawsuit. Although such a course of action involves tremendous risk, you may deem it to be worthwhile.

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