request a free consultation

Are Homeowners Ever Liable for Natural Disaster Injuries?

Posted in Safety on February 26, 2016

Natural disasters don’t wait until everyone is safe in a home or public building to strike. You could be watching the game over at friend’s house or need to take shelter during a service call. If you suffer an injury at someone else’s home, you may wonder how you will pay for medical bills, the cost of rehabilitation, and time off work.

Homeowner’s Insurance and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters, including tornadoes, lightning strikes, severe storms, floods and earthquakes, are considered “Acts of God.” No one can foresee or prevent the damage caused by these events. Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance are the first two places many individuals look after a natural disaster, but these two forms of insurance may only offer limited coverage after a natural disaster.

All insurance policies are negotiated using a “standard risk measurement.” Natural disasters often fall outside of those categories, and some homeowner’s insurance policies may not cover any injuries or damage associated with the disaster. Every insurance policy varies slightly. Homeowner’s should look closely to see what types of damage and injuries are covered after a natural disaster.

Many insurers do not cover flood damage, and others may limit the amount of compensation a policyholder or injured individual can collect. Both residents and guests who suffer during an incident may find some financial relief from these types of insurances, but it may not fully cover the associated costs.

When a Homeowner or Third Party Is Liable for a Visitor’s Injuries

Proving homeowner or third party liability after a natural disaster is difficult but not impossible. Property owners are required to reasonably address foreseeable hazards in and around the home. When they fail to do so or to warn visitors of the hazard, they are liable for any resulting injuries. For instance, if a friend comes over for dinner and a heavy wind gust in a storm knocks a tree over, hurting the individual, the homeowner may be liable. If the tree was dead or a hazard prior to the weather event, injury liability lies squarely with the property owner.

An injured individual may also hold a product manufacturer or a construction/installation company liable for an injury in some cases. For example, if a wooden beam falls in a barn during a tornado and a subsequent investigation shows the beam was not reinforced according to building code, the construction crew may shoulder the responsibility for any resulting injuries.

How Your Attorney Can Help

If you suffer an injury after a tornado, flood, mudslide, or other natural disaster on someone else’s property, you may have access to compensation through a homeowner’s insurance policy. In addition to helping you investigate the proximal cause of your injury, your attorney will:

  • Negotiate with medical insurance providers – After a serious injury, your health insurer may try to deny or reduce your coverage. Your attorney can represent you in front of your health insurer.
  • Represent you in front of homeowner’s insurance providers – A homeowner does not have much control over how their insurance provider handles their claim after a natural disaster. Your attorney can help you negotiate your claim with the insurer if the policy included coverage for injuries resulting from an Act of God.
  • Represent you during a lawsuit – In conjunction with negotiation with insurance providers, your attorney will likely pursue an alternative case to prove negligence on the part of a homeowner or a third party.

After a natural disaster, an injury attorney will help you secure compensation through every possible route. You shouldn’t have to suffer with the consequences of an injury that was out of your control. The team at the Law Offices of Aaron A. Herbert PC can help you determine the right course of action to secure the treatment and compensation you deserve. Contact our office in Dallas today for a free case evaluation.