An injury caused by your neighbor's negligence can lead to a sticky situation, both financially and personally. Yet if your injury was through no fault of your own, you don't want to pay out of pocket for your medical bills. The following guide can help you navigate this situation so you can make the right choice when pursuing a case.
Do You Have a Case?
Not all accidents on your neighbor's property make them the responsible party. Generally, you need to be on their property with permission and the cause of the accident must be negligence. This means tripping over their garden hose when cutting across their property may not be covered, but falling because of a broken step while visiting may make them the responsible party. The quickest way to find out if you have a case is to contact a personal injury attorney.
Is a Lawsuit a Must?
Lawsuits aren't necessary, and often these types of cases are settled long before they ever make it to court. In fact, much of the proceedings may be hashed out by the insurance companies, and you and your neighbor will only see the paperwork end of it. You will still want a lawyer, though, to help you go over the paperwork and any settlements before you sign. This way you can ensure that your bills and any loss of income are covered.
Should You Discuss Things With Your Neighbor?
You can't hide an injury suit from your neighbor--their insurance will notify them. Your best course of action is to approach your neighbor, on friendly terms, and offer to keep them abreast of the situation from your side. Don't engage in arguing or fighting if your neighbor is ambivalent to your overtures, though. In this case, let your lawyer handle all correspondence.
What If You Feel Guilty About the Suit?
You shouldn't feel guilty. Keep in mind, even if you decided to allow your health insurance to cover your treatment, your insurance company may still put in a claim with your neighbor's home owner's policy if they think your neighbor was at fault. At this point, the suit and settlement is out of your hands, but it occurs anyway. Your neighbor has homeowner's insurance specifically for reasons like this--for when accidents occur and a settlement is unavoidable.
A personal injury lawyer has experience dealing with sticky situations such as this, so they can often help you navigate both the legal and personal hurdles that occur when you have to sue a neighbor for your injury coverage.
To talk to a professional attorney about such a case, contact a law firm such as Whiting, Hagg, Hagg, Dorsey & Hagg.