Legal Question in Personal Injury in Georgia

Personal Injury regarding Homeowners Insurance

Last week I slipped on a rug in a person's garage and broke my ankle in two places. As a result I will be off of work for 6 weeks and I am incurring medical expenses. The person had homeowners insurance(state farm) and contacted them.

They said they would cover medical expenses up to $3,000 and that's it. This puts me in dire straits as I do not have short term disability and will have no income coming in for 6 weeks( I work as a chef on my feet).

What can I do? What are my options?

Thanks in advance for any help that you can provide.

Asked on 3/01/02, 10:14 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Craig Hardegree Hardegree Law Firm, P.C.

Re: Personal Injury regarding Homeowners Insurance

Most homeowner's policies in Georgia have "Med-Pay" coverage and "Liability" coverage. These are totally separate. The State Farm policy here probably had a $3,000 Med-Pay benefit. If so, State Farm is only offering to do what they are required to do under the policy. The Med-Pay will take care of bills only (no wages or pain and suffering) up to a certain limit ($3,000 here). To get these benefits, you only have to show that you were on the property and that you were hurt. The balance of the medical expenses, lost wages, pain & suffering, etc., all have to come from the liability portion of the policy. To get to that part of the policy, you have to show that the homeowner was negligent, and that you were not. That is extremely difficult. For example, if the rug was covering an oil slick, and it slid out from under you, you might have a case, but you would still have to show that before you fell, you couldn't have seen the danger if you had been looking. Also, it makes a difference whether you were there for a yard sale, a baby shower, or just hanging with a friend. Slip and fall cases are extremely fact-sensitive in Georgia.

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Answered on 3/06/02, 12:40 am
Hugh Wood Wood & Meredith

Re: Personal Injury regarding Homeowners Insurance

I believe you have answered your own question: "I do not have short term disability." Absent bringing some type of negligence claim(which may be the higher standard of gross negligence in the context of social guests) against your friend, you dont have many options. If you get laid off, perhaps, you can collect unemployment. Not a lot of good legal options. None really. Hugh Wood PS You should be glad SF stepped up to the plate on the medical expenses. Generally, they just tell you to go take a hike.

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Answered on 3/01/02, 10:55 am
Robert Windholz Robert S. Windholz, Attorney At Law

Re: Personal Injury regarding Homeowners Insurance

Your most reliable option would be a liability case against the homeowner, if they were negligent and most importantly if you were not a social guest. If you were a social guest the standard for negligence is greater. State Farm is also very a difficult company.

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Answered on 3/01/02, 11:21 am

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