What Slip & Fall Accident Victims Should Know About Insurance Claims
Those injured in a slip and fall accident in Pennsylvania should know that usually an insurance policy will apply to the case and provide a source of financial compensation.
1. Insurance Policies Often Cover Slip & Fall Accidents at Private Homes and Public Businesses
When a slip and fall accident happens, an insurance policy often covers the incident. This is true of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents that occur in the following types of places:
- private residences,
- apartment complexes,
- businesses open to the public (stores, malls, restaurants, etc.)
Many home owners, apartment building owners, and owners of businesses purchase insurance that covers mishaps or accidents that occur on the insured property. This includes slip and fall accidents that happen due to the negligence of the owner.
For example, a pedestrian is walking into a restaurant and trips and falls over broken asphalt in the parking lot. The owner of the restaurant knew about the broken asphalt but failed to take any action, despite the fact that previous customers and a few employees had previously tripped and fallen over the same spot.
Since the restaurant owner has a commercial insurance policy, the injured pedestrian could file a claim under that policy. There are two things to note about these kinds of insurance claims. First, the insurance claim is separate from the legal claim or lawsuit against the restaurant, alleging negligence. Second, the insurance claim is filed with and handled by the insurance company. If the pedestrian succeeds in their claim, they would be able to obtain proceeds from the insurance company under the policy.
The way insurance works in this scenario mirrors the way insurance would work in a slip and fall accident that happened at an apartment building or complex or businesses like malls, stores, etc. In addition, fall accident cases that occur at private residences also work the same way except that these cases would involve home owner’s or renter’s insurance policies.
2. The Amount of Compensation Available Under the Policy Will Vary
All types of insurance policies including home owner’s insurance or commercial insurance will have varying amounts of coverage. Typically, home owners will purchase smaller value policies than businesses like a shopping mall or restaurant. These latter policies are commercial policies which may provide coverage in excess of $1,000,000 per incident. Home owner’s or renter’s insurance policies may provide coverage of anywhere between $100,000 to $500,000 or more, depending on the value of the property.
An injured individual can receive the maximum amount of coverage on the policy. This works in the same way as auto accident claims against negligent drivers. An injured driver files a lawsuit against a negligent driver whose car insurance policy provides coverage for the injured driver’s injuries and damages.
3. Multiple Insurance Policies May Cover the Incident
In cases involving large scale businesses like big box stores, shopping plazas, shopping malls, sports arenas, etc., multiple insurance policies may apply. First, large companies often purchase different, multiple insurance policies. One such policy is an umbrella policy. This type of policy kicks in after other insurance policies are exhausted. This means that a general insurance policy applies first; then, the umbrella policy kicks in.
Second, large businesses like malls, shopping plazas, etc., are often covered by insurance policies purchased by different entities, including property owners, business owners, management companies, etc. For example, a large shopping mall may be covered by anywhere between 2 to 10 insurance policies. The owner of the mall may have its own insurance policy. Various businesses within the mall may have their own policies. The management company which oversees the day to day operations may have its own policy. So, in a fall accident case, which insurance policies apply can get quite complicated. It often depends on where the accident occurred and the contracts between the owner, management company, store, etc.
4. Compensation Claims Include Financial Losses & Pain and Suffering
If a fall accident lawsuit is successful by way of a settlement agreement or jury verdict, the insurance company will end up paying the damages to the plaintiff. Damages include financial losses and pain and suffering. Financial loss claims include medical bills, lost wages and out of pocket expenses.