“My mother-in-law recently had a fall in the garage of our rented home. While leaving our home, she walked out into our dark garage. There is a light, but she did not turn it on. We didn’t know that she didn’t turn the light on until we heard her fall. She fell by tripping over a crate that was against the garage wall.
At this point, I don’t know if she sustained any injuries caused directly by the fall. She has been complaining of various pains including back pain. However, she was complaining of that at our home that very night before her fall. We even let her use our massager on her back while she was visiting. She also has had both knees replaced and already has trouble walking/standing for an extended period of time. She has many other medical problems.
She has been inquiring about our renters insurance, which we have. My husband is checking our policy to see if it covers personal injuries. That fact that she’s inquiring about our insurance before even seeing a doctor lets me know that we may need legal advice. I’m worried that she will try to link her many current medical problems to this for financial gain.
Can you tell me what type of liability we have in a situation like this? Does she have to prove a financial loss due to medical bills or can she sue for pain and suffering, which she casually mentioned? Is she at all responsible for not turning on the light, or should we have made sure it was on before she went out there? Any advice is appreciated.”
There are way too many variables at play for us to be able to answer your question – but the bottom line is that you should talk to a) your insurance company, asap, and b) a personal injury attorney, asap. You should also know that that by law (at least in most jurisdictions) your insurance company may be obligated to provide a *separate* attorney for you, if you indeed become a defendant, because the insurance company may have a conflict of interest with your interests – their goal is to pay out as little money as possible, while your goal is to defend against the claim. This is known as “cumin counsel”; and you should ask the attorney (not the insurance company) about it.