The Law Dictionary

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If Someone Gets Hurt on My Property in New York, Can They Sue My Homeowner’s Insurance?

Homeowner's insurance covers many different problems that can arise on your property or in your home. In fact, the flexibility of this type of insurance is one of its major selling points. Most homeowner's insurance policies cover the costs associated with events that can be deemed to have occurred "suddenly" or "accidentally." In practice, these include weather events, random occurrences like out-of-control cars crashing through windows, and injuries sustained by guests on your property.

Depending upon the type of policy that you carry, your homeowner's insurance company is liable to protect itself from expensive or dubious claims in several different ways. These might include loopholes that define certain activities as "negligent" as well as coverage exclusions that apply to specific events. For instance, few homeowner's insurance policies will pay out on claims related to water damage in the interior of a home. If your home is inundated with standing water due to a flood or water main break, your homeowner's insurance policy may refuse to cover your expenses. You'll need a flood insurance policy to cover such costs.

Most homeowner's insurance policies contain provisions that may insulate you from liability in the event that a guest or intruder sustains an injury on your property. After all, slip-and-fall litigation is a lucrative sub-field within the broader domain of personal injury law. In the past, homeowners have been sued for five-figure sums by guests who sustained injuries in or around their homes. In the unfortunate event that a guest or worker is killed on your property, you could be held liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars in incident-related expenses, future-earnings losses and punitive damages. In either case, you could also face criminal charges.

Fortunately, your homeowner's insurance policy may cover the costs associated with such a lawsuit. However, your provider won't be happy about taking on this burden. In fact, the claims adjuster who reviews your case is liable to ask you some tough questions about the incident. Your provider may even retain a legal team of its own to sort through the facts of the case. Depending upon the laws in your state, the case's plaintiff may choose to sue your provider directly. If this is the case, you could be dropped from coverage in the event of an unfavorable outcome. This outcome may hinge on the steps that you took to secure your property. If there is any indication that your guest's injury was caused by negligence, you may be held liable for it.


This article contains general legal information but does not constitute professional legal advice for your particular situation. The Law Dictionary is not a law firm, and this page does not create an attorney-client or legal adviser relationship. If you have specific questions, please consult a qualified attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

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