Someone got hurt while on your property:
If a visitor, delivery person, mailman or anyone else suffers an injury while in your home or on your property the liability coverage that is part of your home insurance policy will pay for any court settlement, and cover your legal fees if you are sued.
When you discover that someone has been injured:
If someone gets hurt on your property, before you even think about your liability or insurance:
- Ask if the person is OK. Try to assess how serious the injury is.
- Call 911 right away if the person is unconscious, if there is significant bleeding, or if they’re not breathing for any reason. Apply first aid/CPR if appropriate and if you are qualified to do so.
- If it seems like a major injury, don’t try to move them.
Once 911 has been called or it’s been determined that an ambulance is not needed:
- If the person is breathing normally, and has no signs of a serious head or back injury, help them get comfortable until help arrives. Offer ice for swelling. Help them elevate injured limbs.
- Feel free to apologize. In Ontario, an apology is not an admission of liability and won’t affect your insurance. Try not to admit fault.
- Try to get photos of the injury and the area where the injury took place.
- You don’t need to offer your insurance details unless someone asks.
- If you’ve called 911, let the paramedics take over when they get there.
- Call your insurer as soon as possible to let them know what happened, even if the injured person hasn’t mentioned legal action.
What can happen after the fact?
Depending on the severity of an injury and how well you know the injured person, they may not take any legal action at all. Even if they’ve suffered a broken limb, if they don’t need to miss work as a result and they don’t suffer ongoing disability or pain as a result, they may just get patched up at the hospital and leave it at that.
On the other hand, if someone dies as a result of an accident in your home, or if they suffer long-term effects including ongoing pain and lost wages, they may take legal action even if they are related to you.
If an injured person decides to hold you financially responsible, let your insurer know right away. They will help you arrange for legal counsel if needed, walk you through the legal process and pay damages if it comes to that.
What Else Does Liability Insurance Cover?
The most common homeowner liability claims are related to injuries suffered on your property, however, your liability coverage can also protect you if your child accidentally damages someone else’s property, if someone gets drunk at your house and then hurts someone with their car, and a host of other scenarios where someone might blame you for an injury or loss.