Articles Posted in Homeowner’s Insurance / Injuries at a Home

house%20brick%20two%20story%20close%20up%20of%20window.jpgUnfortunately, children are frequently injured while under the care and supervision of another person. In some instances, the injuries take place at the home of a neighbor, friend, or even family member. Is a homeowner liable for all child injuries that take place in or near the home? The simple answer is “No”. The homeowner is not liable for every incident and every injury that takes place in a home. Like any other case there are typically four factors to consider to determine if a homeowner is liable for injuries sustained by a child:

1. Duty. Generally, a homeowner has a duty to provide a reasonably safe environment for guests and visitors to the home including children. This includes the inside of the home as well as the yard and playground to the home. Furthermore, a homeowner has a duty to reasonably supervise children while at the home as well. The level and extent of the supervision will depend on the age of the children as well as the abilities and or special needs of the children.

2. Breach of Duty. When considering the issue or element of breach of duty, each case must be evaluated on its own facts and circumstances determine if the homeowner breached the duty. It all has to do with the reasonableness of the homeowner’s actions and if it was feasonable and practical to act differently.

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What are the legal rights of a child who is injured at the home of a neighbor, friend, or family member in the State of Florida? In Florida, children unfortunately suffer serious personal injuries when visiting the home of a relative, friend, neighbor, or other person. When injuries are suffered, questions often arise including the following: Is the homeowner legally responsible for the injury sustained by the child? Like many questions, the answer depends on the facts and circumstances of each case. Often times, there is no bright line between an injury that warrants a claim or case as opposed to one that does not. Because of the complexities of these cases, it is often helpful to have advice and legal representation from a Florida Child Injury Lawyer.

Many factors may be considered in determining the viability of the legal claim or case against the homeowner. These factors can include the age of the child, the number of children present, the activity engaged in by the child, the risk and dangers of the activity, adult supervision, and the preventability of injury. The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has challenged on Homeowner’s Insurance, Injuries at Home, Damages, Compensation, Medical Treatment, Medical Bills, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

When a child is injured at the home of a relative, neighbor, friend or another person, the decision as to whether not to pursue a claim is a dependent factors beyond factual and legal ones. Often times the injuries take place at the home of the good friend or relative. Pursuing a case or claim against a good friend or relative can be quite stressful. While there is no legal protection or immunity afforded to a friend and most relatives, it is certainly understandable if a person decides not to pursue a particular injury case for concern or fear that it might affect the relationship. Of course, these concerns and issues must be weighed against the needs of the child, the extent of the homeowner’s negligence, the availability of insurance for medical bills, and the fairness of compensation for such injuries. All factors should be considered when a parent is evaluating or accessing a personal injury claim to be pursued on behalf of the child. Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A. has been representing injured children and their families since 1957. Cases handled by the law firm have included day care centers, schools, homeowners, and businesses.

house%20simple%20graphic%20of%20single%20family%20home%20black%20and%20white.jpgIn Florida, children are the unfortunate victims of injury at the homes of neighbors, friends, acquaintances and even other family members. When a child is injured at the home of another person, the homeowner can be liable for the injuries and associated damages. A property owner / homeowner may be liable for the resulting injuries; however, the homeowner is not always liable. In order to determine the liability or responsibility for a homeowner when a child is injured, there must be an analysis or assessment of the four elements of a negligence case in the State of Florida.

1. Duty. The element of duty refers to the responsibility of the homeowner to maintain a safe and reasonable indoor and outdoor environment for the child. This does not mean that the homeowner is an insurer or absolute guarantor of safety. It only means that the homeowner has the responsibility to take reasonable efforts to maintain the premises in a safe manner. Furthermore, there is a duty to provide reasonable supervision based on the age of the child and activity at that the child engaged in.

2. Breach of Duty. The element of breach of duty refers to the failure of the homeowner to act in a reasonable manner or that the homeowner has acted in an unsafe or unreasonable manner. Either way, the breach of duty refers to the failure to carry out the duty to provide a safe and reasonable environment for the child.

house%20two%20story%20yellow%20with%20red%20roof.jpgWhat if my child is injured at his grandmothers’ house in Florida? What are the legal rights of the injured child in Florida? Children often visit their grandparents at their home. In most instances, the visit is pleasant and the children have fun spending time playing with their grandparents. Unfortunately, at times, children sustain serious personal injuries while spending time at the grandparents’ home. Tragically, some children even die while under the care and supervision of the grandparents.

In most of incidents involving personal injury or death at the home of a grandparent, neighbor, or other person, the injuries are unintentional meaning that the grandparents did not intend to harm the child. As a Florida personal injury attorney, I am, from time to time, asked the question about the grandparents’ liability for injuries caused under their care. It should be pointed out that grandparents and and other homeowners are not absolute insurers or guarantors of the safety of children. However, when a child is injured as a result of the negligence of a grandparent or another person, then a homeowners insurance claim or legal action can be taken on behalf of the injured child. In the State of Florida, grandparents and other extended family members do not have immunity in a civil case when injuries were caused by the negligence of the grandparents. In other words, while a grandparent or homeowner may be close to a child and a wonderful person in general, the laws of the State of Florida including statutes and case law do not extend any kind of immunity to the grandparents if an unfortunate but preventable injury takes place in the grandparents’ home or while under the grandparents’ care.

Like other negligent case, there needs to be an analysis of the facts and circumstances to determine if there is a viable case against the grandparent or other person who is believed to be negligent in causing the injuries to the child. These elements include the following: 1. Duty. 2. Breach of Duty. 3. Causation. and 4. Damages. When dealing with the negligence of a grandparent or other person the cases can be quite complicated and require the services of a Florida child injury lawyer to advise the parent or guardian of the child as to the respective legal rights of the child. The book titled <strong>The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Homeowners Insurance, Damages / Compensation, and other topics. This book can be obtained for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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My child suffered personal injuries at another person’s home is the home owners insurance at public record? This is an excellent question that is often posed to a Florida child personal injury attorney when a child is injured at another person’s house. The child injury may take place at a friend’s house, a relative’s house, or some other person. When this happens, there is often times hesitation or fear of asking the homeowner if there is homeowners insurance or the amount of homeowners insurance. In the State of Florida, public records are not kept as to each homeowners policy that is an effect at any particular time. There is a database for property ownership that is kept by the property appraiser for each Florida county. There is no similar website or database for homeowners insurance in the State of Florida. In order to find out if a person has home owners insurance and the type of homeowners insurance, it is often times necessary to either ask the homeowner for a copy of the homeowners insurance policy or information. Alternatively, an attorney can issue a letter to the homeowner and request that the homeowner forward the letter to the insurance company.

If a homeowner receives a letter from an attorney or another person requesting insurance information, the insurance carrier should be immediately contacted by the homeowner. Under the terms of most insurance policies, the homeowner has a duty to notify the insurance carrier or insurance company when there is a claim or possible claim that may be pursued by an injured person. If a homeowner receives a letter requesting insurance information regarding an insurance policy but fails to timely report this matter to the homeowners insurance company, the homeowners insurance company at a later date may deny coverage because the homeowner failed to cooperate with the investigation. In other words, the insurance company may argue that the homeowner prejudiced the rights and abilities of the homeowners insurance company to investigate the matter and because of this there could be a denial of coverage in the future. Because of the risk in failing to timely notifying homeowners insurance company of a possible claim, the homeowner should immediately report a possible claim or injury to his vizor her homeowners insurance company.

In civil proceedings or lawsuits pursued for personal injuries in the State of Florida, there is no privilege that attaches to the amount of homeowners insurance or the policy information for the homeowners insurance. So in summary, one way or another and accident victim can obtain the home owners insurance information and pursue an injury claim against the homeowners insurance if there is coverage for that particular injury.

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There is a constitutional right to gun ownership in this country. While it is a constitutional right, it is also a legal and moral responsibility to make sure that guns are properly secure and kept out of the reach of children. Gun safety at home is vital to the protection of the parents, children, and any visitors who come to the home. A gun is not a toy to be played with or waved around. Of course, children, especially toddlers, do not always appreciate or even understand the dangers of gun and merely see the gun as a play object or toy. In Miramar, Florida, it was reported that a shooting took place in the home. According to the news story reported by CNN News, Julia Bennett was shot once in the back and died as a result of this gun shot injuries. The victim’s toddler son may have shot his mother accidentally according to the 911 call made by the boy’s father. Miramar Police and possibly other law enforcement agencies will investigate this most unfortunate and tragic death. The investigation may include forensic evidence (gun shot residue) to determine if the toddler did fire the gun. Criminal charges have not been filed but law enforcement and the State Attorney may end up considering charges related to the access and use of the gun by the toddler. Gun owners and home owners should pay close attention to incidents like these and take due care to safeguard guns in the home. See Toddler Shoots Mom Dead, Boy’s Father Tells Florida Police.

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In Palm Springs (Palm Beach County) Florida, two teens (Yoanelis Candelaria-Perez) and other girls were charged with felony battery and cruelty towards a child. The story reported in the Orlando Sentinel and other news outlets involved two groups of girls who had a dispute. There was a chase of some kind that ended with an 11 year old boy allegedly being pushed into the street. The Defendants will argue that it was merely an accident and there was no intent or malice involved with the boy who was apparently an innocent bystander. The teen girls will be entitled to legal representation through a Florida Criminal Defense Attorney or the services of the Public Defender’s Office. It was reported that the 11 year old boy suffered personal injuries including fractured ribs, abrasions to her legs and left arm, a collapsed lung, and a wound to his back. See Police: Teen Girls Pushed Palm Springs Boy, 11, into Path of Car.

When there is an injury that takes place away from the home, there still may be a possible homeowner’s claim for the negligence of the homeowner or a resident relative. Each case must be evaluated on its own merits and the homeowner’s policy must be read carefully to determine coverage and exclusions. Most homeowner’s policies exclude criminal or intentional conduct on or off the premises from coverage. Since this is somewhat confusing concept that is evaluated case by case and policy by policy, it is often helpful to have a Florida Child Injury Lawyer evaluate the case, liability, and applicable insurance coverage (if any).

When a person is injured as a pedestrian or a bicyclist, there may be coverage available through an automobile insurance policy as well. Again, the insurance policy and facts must be evaluated to determine eligibility and coverage. When a pedestrian or bicyclist is injured, there may be coverage under a parent’s automobile insurance policy for PIP (Personal Injury Protection), Med Pay (Medical Payments), and / or Underinsured or Underinsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage. Again, these issues can be complicated and confusing. As such, guidance and representation through a Florida Child Injury Lawyer is important and helpful to make sure that benefits and claims are paid pursuant to the policy and Florida law.

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Florida is well known as a tourist State and has warm weather that allows for swimming and beach visits virtually year round. Unfortunately, Florida also is known and has its more than fair share of drownings (both children and adults) year round as well. The Associated Press recently reported that a 4 year old girl (Kimberly Hayward) drowned in a backyard swimming pool in South Daytona. Details of the drowning were not reported including the type of supervision in place, the location of the pool, safeguards in place like fences, screens, pool alarms, and pool fences, or the owner of the house or pool. Regardless, a young life was lost and a family and community will surely mourn her death. See 4 Year Old Girl Drowns in Backyard Pool.

The book titled The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know has a chapter on Swimming and Water Park Injuries. There are also chapters on Damages / Compensation, Homeowner’s Insurance, and other topics. You can get a free book at Free Child Injury Book for Parents.

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In the United States, there is a constitutional right to bear arms. In other words, there is a long history and legal basis for gun ownership in the United States and Florida. With these rights come responsibilities as well. A gun, in the hands of an inexperienced person or a child, can lead to deadly consequences. The Orlando Sentinel – Walter Pacheco, Writer – recently posted a story titled Guns in Young Hands: Consequences Can Be Deadly. The news story had some interesting analysis and information about recent shootings and deaths in the Central Florida area. One incident involved a Cocoa, Florida girl who was accidentally shot when a gun was discharged and sent a bullet through a bedroom wall of a mobile home and into the kitchen area where the 13 year old girl was standing. Gun owners should properly secure all guns away from the reach and use of a child unless the child is being well supervised and the gun is being utilized or handled in a very controlled environment. The Department of Justice reported that over 700 teens died from firearm shootings in 2008 and over 600 died in 2009.

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A 4-year-old boy of Crawfordville, Florida, tragically died on January 15 after a large, wooden pice of furniture fell on top of him. After investigation, the death has been ruled as a tragic accident. The accident occurred in a bedroom of the grandparents’ house. Landon Greene was playing with his 5-year-old cousin when he attempted to climb a 5 1/2 foot tall dresser. Landon’s grandmother, Lavonne Greene, went into the room after her and her husband, Charles Greene, heard a loud noise come from the bedroom where the children were playing. Lavonne discovered Landon under the dresser which was full of clothing. The child was rushed to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead approximately one hour later.

The child suffered a fatal head injury, which was caused by the dresser falling on top of him. To read more on this story please see 4-year-old boy dies after dresser falls on top of him.

Child fatalities caused by household items are more common then one would think. Children climb, jump, and run around large household furniture such as dressers, trunks and television sets. TVs have recently caused a significant amount of child fatalities. Parents and guardians should childproof their homes to the best of their ability and ensure that play areas are safe.