If you own residential real estate, such as a home, townhouse or condo, you should be aware that if someone gets hurt on your land, you can face personal injury liability. Just as when someone gets hurt in a business, a homeowner is obligated to make sure that his or her land and home is reasonably safe for anyone invited there. The rules governing this homeowner liability for personal injury are called premises liability laws.
Under premises liability laws, a duty is imposed on those who own any type of property, whether residential or commercial. The nature of that duty depends on what the property is used for and on why people are coming to it. There are three major categories used to define the duty of a property owner:
If you find yourself facing liability because someone got hurt at your home, this is the body of law that will govern to determine whether you were negligent and breached your duty and are thus liable. In most cases, your homeowners insurance policy will cover you for your liability, so they'll be better able to explain the law to you.
If you are facing personal injury liability as a result of something that happened at your house, your homeowners insurance company will likely cover the costs of legal fees to handle any claims. This means you shouldn't have to take much action yourself, other than notifying your insurer of the accident, and letting them take it from there. If you're a landlord, then your liability coverage should work the same way.
If you were injured on someone's property, and suffered any level of significant injury, it may be a good idea to consult with a personal injury lawyer before making a claim of your own. Most lawyers will take your case on a contingency fee basis, so you won't need to front the costs of a lawyer. Instead, your attorney will be paid a portion of the money he or she recovers on your behalf.