In today’s episode Chuck talks about the importance of having Homeowner’s Insurance and the importance of reporting a claim to that insurance if someone is injured on your property due to your negligence.
Today’s topic is based upon an email that I received. A client of mine got sued. They got sued because their dog got loose and bit somebody.
Now, if you own your house, as a condition of your mortgage, you have to have homeowner’s insurance. So the second that something like that occurs you notify your homeowner’s carrier. Your insurance company. You have to report a claim to get coverage. If you don’t report the claim then conceivably your insurance carrier can deny coverage. So if you get sued it may come out of your pocket.
The first thing you do is you call your insurance carrier and say “Hey my dog got loose and bit a kid down the street.” That way you don’t have to deal with these issues. When you have insurance your insurance carrier, lets say Farmers. Farmers will have their attorneys represent you if you get sued. They will have their adjusters deal with the claim so that it is out of your hands.
You don’t want to make any mistakes in trying to defend yourself and blow it for your defense lawyers down the road or for the adjusters to handle the claim properly by making any admissions to anybody. This includes the police and the attorney for the person who got bit by the dog. You don’t want to allow any recorded statements by yourself with anybody but your own insurance carrier. Be proactive when something happens or you know that you are going to get sued. For instance if there is a huge hole in your yard that you covered with a tarp and some kids run across it and fell into a hole. That’s why you have Homeowner’s Insurance.
If you rent property, like a house. You’d better get renter’s insurance. One, if you get burglarized you loose everything. Two, just because there is a Homeowner’s Policy it doesn’t mean that it’s going to cover anything that happens as a result of your negligence.
Sometimes there are situations where Homeowner’s Insurance won’t cover like you get sued for maybe slander or defamation. Whether it is groundless or not, you get served with a lawsuit you have to answer it within 20 days of getting served. If you don’t then an application for default will be filed against you. Then they can get a judgement against you and start taking your assets. There are certain restrictions but they can garnish your wages. They being the claimants or the plaintiffs.
My point is, always report a claim to your insurance carrier. Get insurance if you rent a property if you don’t have it. Then let them deal with it. If they deny coverage they will tell you to go seek Counsel (an attorney) to help you defend this matter. Then it’s going to come out of your own pocket.
Insurance is one of those things that I hate writing that check every month but it makes me sleep easier. It is something you just have to do, especially in a litigious society like we are. Some lawyers get pretty creative about who they sue and why they sue. You need to protect yourself and your family, your assets, your cars, your job, your house, whatever it may be.
If your homeowner’s insurance has denied coverage for damages caused by your negligence you need an experienced attorney to fight for your rights. Damages caused by negligence can often lead to huge medical expenses or repair bills. Call Chuck today to discuss the specifics of your case at 480-545-0700!