When you are invited into someone's home or property, you assume the visit will be injury free. However, accidents happen. Whether someone hurt you intentionally or the injury was caused by an accident, you may be entitled to a settlement to help pay for your medical expenses. If you've been injured on someone's property, check out these five facts.
You Need to Seek Treatment ASAP
If you've been injured severely enough, you may need to go to the emergency room. However, even if the injury is minor, it's a good idea to get examined by a doctor. The main reason to see a doctor is to ensure you aren't injured worse than you assume. Some injures take time to present, or they may worsen over time. Your doctor will be able to tell you what to expect.
You should also seek treatment soon because it is your responsibility. Everyone has the responsibility to mitigate their injures after any accident as best they can, and if you fail to do so, the other insurance carrier may argue that you worsened your injuries or that you were never injured in the first place.
You May Be Considered Partially Responsible
You aren't always completely blameless in accidents. If you were preoccupied, ignored warnings, or behaved recklessly, you may be considered fully or partially responsible for your injury. This helps protect homeowners from false claims, but it can affect your real claim too.
Typically, if you are found to be partially responsible, your settlement is reduced. Therefore, if your settlement was $10,000, but you were found to be 25 percent responsible, you'd only get $7,500. If you are mostly responsible, you likely won't get a settlement. In a few states, if you are even remotely responsible, you won't get a settlement.
A Formula Determines the Settlement
Trying to get a fair settlement yourself is difficult because most insurance carriers use a standard formula to determine your settlement. They begin by calculating all your medical bills as a result of the accident. They also assign a multiplier to the accident. The worse the accident, the higher the multiplier. The medical bills and the multiplier are combined.
The problem, however, is that even if the accident isn't severe, you may have long-term problems, and it can be difficult to prove this to insurance carriers, making it extremely important to get an attorney, especially if you have severe or long-term injuries.
The Settlement May Include More Than Medical Bills
With the medical bills and multiplier combined, the insurance company then adds any lost income related to the accident and injuries. If you have an attorney in your corner, however, you can also argue for pain and suffering, which can include both physical and mental pain and suffering. Both are difficult to prove, but mental pain and suffering may be much more difficult as it includes loss of enjoyment of life, fear, anxiety, humiliation, etc.
If the case goes to court, you may also receive punitive damages. Punitive damages have nothing to do with your injuries. They are only used to punish the defendant for his or her behavior or neglect that lead to the accident. Punitive damages are usually saved for cases where the defended acted maliciously or extremely negligently.
Some Trespassers Have Rights Too
In some cases, even if you were trespassing, you may be owed a settlement for your injuries. For starters, young children are usually exempt from being considered a trespasser. They don't always know that it is wrong to enter someone's property without permission. If there was something that attracted the child, such as a pool, treehouse, etc., the homeowner is likely responsible.
Even adult trespassers, however, may win a settlement. In many states, if people frequently trespass on a particular property (such as using it as a short cut or to swim in a river, etc.), the homeowner may have a responsibility to warn trespassers of potential dangers, such as traps, guns, etc.
If you've been injured while visiting someone else's home or property, you may qualify for a settlement. Unfortunately, insurance carriers often try to negotiate an unfair settlement for you. If you have been injured and want to file a claim or lawsuit, contact an accident attorney at a law firm like Terrel DoRemus & Associates in your area today.