Do I need an attorney if I was injured and my friend's insurance won't cover it? 33 Answers as of July 11, 2013

During a party at a customer/friend's house, I fell and broke my wrist. I have had two surgeries and been off work for most of the year. I own and operate a barber shop. I fell because a Halloween decoration took me off guard (a flying ghost) and I backed up to avoid it and tripped. My customer/friend offered to turn the accident into their insurance company, but the insurance company responded to the claim by saying that their insured was not "at fault" so it won't be paid. Do I need a lawyer or not?

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The Lucky Law Firm, PLC
The Lucky Law Firm, PLC | Robert Morrison Lucky
Yes, you should consult an attorney. It definitely sounds like your injuries are pretty severe and you have some significant damages.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 10/26/2011
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo
Law Office of Mark J. Leonardo | Mark Leonardo
If you want to make a claim you will likely need an attorney. You certainly cannot do any worse at this point. Also, his insurance company should pay the medical pay benefits (usually around $5000) for your medical treatment regardless of fault.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/25/2011
Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Richard Martin
It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny claims made by persons who are not represented by an attorney. The reason is simple, aggrieved lay persons simply do not know their rights and are unable to use the legal system to obtain the compensation they deserve. Insurance companies know this and often will deny paying valid claims. The bottom line? Seek legal counsel to evaluate and inform you of your rights and to make a claim on your behalf.
Answer Applies to: Kansas
Replied: 10/25/2011
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
Yes.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/3/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
If you have a serious injury you always need a lawyer to help with the system. It is not consumer friendly. Remember that you have to prove your friend was negligent . Not that you were injured at his house. To get a successful verdict you must always prove negligence.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 10/25/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Yes. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
    The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
    The insurance carrier will only pay for claims when they believe that the home owner was negligent, as prescribed by the laws. Without knowing more information it would be hard to determine if the homeowner was negligent. From your fact pattern, it appears that you got startled and fell. But what actually caused you to fall. Was there something wrong with the floor or area?
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Yes, you do need a lawyer. You should at least consult with an accident or personal injury attorney for specific legal advice and direction.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC
    Law Office of Sam Levine, LLC | Sam L. Levine
    The first order of business is to rule out that you friend's insurance will not cover your medical bills. Regardless of the issue of liability or fault, if your friend has homeowner's insurance, I would find it hard to believe that there is not at least minimal medical payments coverage to cover at least some of your medical bills related to the accident. It's difficult to comment on the issue liability without knowing more of the facts. It is advisable to speak to an attorney to get sound advice.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    This appears to be what the law refers to as a "premise liability case". One where liability will be determined by examining if there was a defect in the property. You were at a Halloween party, probably drinking, knew there were decorations, the decorations appear to be both open and obvious - a fact which puts you on notice of the presence of decorations and to keep a watchful eye where you are going. So far with the way you've described the facts it's not looking good. If I were you I'd see an attorney to review the case and turn in your medical bills on the owner's medical pay provision to assist with paying some of the medical bills. Under that portion of the policy no liability need be shown. I don't think the question is do you need a lawyer, but will a lawyer be willing to take my case; and for me the answer is no.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield
    The Law Firm of Reed & Mansfield | Jonathan C. Reed
    You sure aren't going to get anywhere without a lawyer. It will even be a difficult case with a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Law Office of Ronald Arthur Lowry | Ronald Arthur Lowry
    Yes. You do need a lawyer. Get one that specializes in Personal Injury (PI) cases and ask him specifically if he does premises liability cases.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/25/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes. You absolutely do need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    Yes, you absolutely need to speak with an attorney about this, for at least 3 reasons. The first is that you are being ignored, so you have nothing to lose by talking with an attorney. The second is that there may be an additional bad faith claim against the insurance company, especially if their insured wants to cover the injury but the insurance company won't let them. The third reason is that you may have a workers' compensation claim if you were there for business purposes.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP | D. Scott Carlile
    If you want to be compensated by your friends homeowner's policy you will need to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    You should talk to a lawyer to see if you have a viable case. Unless you can show that your friend was negligent, you will have a hard time with a case based on the facts you related.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C.
    The Kelly Law Firm, P.C. | L. Todd Kelly
    Probably. Most insurance companies will deny personal injury claims until faced with the law. Thanks,
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    The fact that insurance company said no does not mean friend is not liable and insurance will not ultimately pay. You need a personal injury attorney to send demand letter and possibly file suit.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC
    Chalat Hatten Koupal & Banker PC | Linda Chalat
    You should retain a lawyer to pursue a premise liability claim. This type of case is very fact-dependent, the successful claims have strong documentation as to the facts of the accident and the injuries suffered. When an accident occurs because of a known condition, such as a leaking water line of which the landowner is aware, then there is a better argument to be made concerning landowner liability. And if the accident victim is immediately treated by EMT personnel or personal physician, then it is easier to prove an injury from the accident. You may have a strong argument if the placement/operation of the ghost was unreasonably dangerous. As for your injuries, you can seek reimbursement for your past and future medical expenses, and your loss of income, and compensation for your possible permanent impairment. Most personal injury lawyers will offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and answer your questions. And this type of case is frequently handled on a contingency fee basis, you only pay attorney fees if the lawyer collects on your behalf. Please keep in mind that there is a two year statute of limitations for premise liability claims in Colorado, you must bring suit within two years of the accident or lose your right to do so. Other time limitations may apply. Good luck with your recovery.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    If you want to proceed, you will certainly need to get a lawyer. Insurance companies will never voluntarily pay questionable liability cases voluntarily.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    You do need to retain a personal injury attorney. The success of your case will depend on whether it can be shown your friend was somehow negligent toward you in failing to warn you of the ghost decoration or a defect or condition of the apartment which caused you to trip and fall and whether you were also somehow negligent in failing to take care.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    To pursue this claim you should have an attorney. Since fault is in dispute an attorney with experience can work to convince the insurance company of a theory of fault and convince them to settle, or in the alternative bring suit on your behalf.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A.
    Kelaher Law Offices, P.A. | James P Kelaher
    If they are not willing to voluntarily compensate you, then you need an attorney. Also, your friend's homeowner's insurance probably has medical payments coverage that should pay at least some of your medical bills regardless of any finding of fault. Ask your friend's homeowner's insurance company if your friend had any medical payments coverage on his policy, and if so, why they are not offering to pay the medical bills under that coverage.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    If you wish to pursue the claim and the damages are substantial you should consult with an attorney. There may be liability for negligence and other causes of action.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A.
    Mishkind Law Firm, Co., L.P.A. | Howard Mishkind
    If the insurance company has rejected or denied your claim you should consult with an attorney. The law concerning responsibility of the owner of the property to you as a guest is limited. Based upon your description of the event it will be difficult to prove that your friend was negligent resulting in your injury. Simply because you were injured on their property does not establish legal responsibility and the insurance company probably has investigated the case adequately and believes that you are unlikely to prevail in a lawsuit. What you should do is determine if your friend's insurance coverage included a medical payment provision. Normally when you buy homeowners or renters insurance it includes medical payment to guests and this does not require proof of negligence on the part of the owner of the property. Unfortunately the medical payment coverage is usually limited and may only be $1000.00 or so but you should demand that they provide you with this information as you are entitled to payment as someone that was injured on their insured's property. Beyond that you should talk to an attorney as it will be extremely difficult and probably a waste of your time to try to pursue this on your own. I must honestly say that based upon your description of the injury your case sounds like it has a lot of problems and is going to be difficult to win. Sorry for the bad news and I hope this helps.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Rothstein Law PLLC
    Rothstein Law PLLC | Eric Rothstein
    If the insurance company won't pay your two choices are: a) walk away and forget about it; or b) retain a personal injury attorney and sue your friend, who will be defended by his insurance company. If you win or settle, the insurance company will pay up to the limits of its policy. That said, it does not sound like you have a good case. You don't get money just because you got hurt. You need to show that your friend was negligent. Maybe there is more to the fact pattern than you have written.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    Probably. If the insurer is denying the claim at the outset, you need to speak to an experienced premises liability lawyer, to determine if your friend has any fault.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley
    Law Office of Christopher F. Earley | Christopher Earley
    Yes, you may need a lawyer as the case sounds a bit complicated, and the insurer has already denied liability.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    Yes. You should hire a personal injury attorney in your area to pursue the claim, assuming the incident is still within the applicable statue of limitations (2 years in Indiana).
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/20/2012
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