Knoxville Homeowner Insurance Claim Lawyers
Knoxville Attorneys Representing Individuals in Personal Injury Claims and a Variety of Civil Matters
Homeowner Insurance Claims and Recreational Activity Injury Lawyers In Knoxville, Tennessee
When you sustain a serious injury at someone else’s residence, the owner of the residence’s homeowner insurance company may be liable for your damages. If you receive medical treatment for injuries that occurred at someone else’s residence because the homeowner failed to warn you of a dangerous condition on their land or created the dangerous condition of their land, you should not have to pay your own medical bills. Both the homeowner and any other person involved that personally caused your injuries may be liable. It is essential that you speak with one of the attorneys at Barnes Law to help you determine whether you have a viable claim against the homeowner and any other potential individual.
Many people fear filing a homeowner insurance claim because they are family, friends, or work colleagues with the homeowner. Of course, that makes sense because in most instances a trespasser will not have a valid claim against a homeowner. It is important to understand that if the individual knew about the dangerous condition and failed to prevent your injury you should be compensated rather than paying out of your own pocket. Additionally, your family member or friend’s insurance company will be paying any settlement or verdict within their policy limits rather than the money coming directly from your friend or family members’ pockets.
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When Is A Homeowner Liable For Injuries That Occur On Their Land or Property?
As a social guest in an individual’s home, the homeowner must not create an environment that results in an extremely unjustified risk to the safety of the individuals that they invite onto their property. The lack of safety precautions when allowing individuals to engage in dangerous activities on one’s property may cause the homeowner to be liable for having an utter unconcern and disregard for the safety of those on the individual’s property or, in other words, the homeowner will be liable when they act with such a reckless disregard for the rights and safety of the individuals on his or her property that a conscious indifference to consequences will be implied in law. Similarly, dangerous conditions that the homeowner knows about but does not warn you about can cause them to be liable for your injuries such as a broken railing on a flight of stairs.
In short, the lawyers at Barnes Law Firm will discuss your potential case with you to determine if they believe that you can establish that the homeowner is liable because his or her acts constitute as gross negligence or a reckless disregard for the safety of individuals invited onto his or her property.
Recreational Activity Immunity: What Is It and How May A Homeowner’s Insurance Company Claim That They Are Not Liable For Your Injuries?
Unfortunately, the Tennessee legislature passed legislation that provides the homeowner with an affirmative defense or shields the homeowner from liability, unless an exception applies, for injuries that occur on their “land” or “premises” during the following activities:
- Water sports
- White water rafting
- Animal riding
- Bird watching
- Dog training
- Fruit and vegetable picking for the participant’s own use, nature and historical studies and research
- Rock climbing
- Skeet and trap shooting
- Sporting clays
- Shooting sports, and target shooting, including archery and shooting range activities
- Off-road vehicle riding
- Cutting or removing wood for the participant’s own use
In fact, the Tennessee legislature went so far as to say that “nor shall such landowner be required to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such land or premises to any person entering on such land or premises for such purposes, except as provided in § 70-7-104.” The Tennessee legislature’s rationale in passing the legislation was to allow homeowner’s to enjoy the use of their house and surrounding land without having to worry about being sued over any and every potential injury that occurs during activities that social guests voluntarily agree to partake in on the house owner’s land.
Defeating The Homeowner’s Affirmative Defense:
The attorneys at Barnes Law have successfully argued with homeowner insurance adjusters and defense lawyers that the recreational activity affirmative defense did not apply in their clients’ cases. Every case is different, but Barnes Law Firm’s attorneys know what questions to ask you to allege the facts of your case in a manner that defeats the affirmative defense to allow you to proceed forward with your claim and seek compensation for your injuries.
Homeowner immunity does not apply in the following scenarios:
- Defendant is not a landowner;
- The act did not occur on the landowner’s “land” or “premises”;
Land or premises does not include the landowner’s principal place of residence and any improvements erected for recreational purposes that immediately surround such residence, including, but not limited to, swimming pools, tennis or badminton courts, barbecue or horseshoe pits, jacuzzies, hot tubs or saunas.
This means that the homeowner cannot rely on the recreational activity affirmative defense for recreational activities, even those listed above, that took place in the principal place of residence or improvements that are immediately surrounding the residence. Therefore, the affirmative defense only applies to activities that occur in a more remote area on someone’s property in the distance away from the primary residence. In short, this means that you would have a viable insurance claim and lawsuit if a settlement cannot be reached.
- You were not engaged in a recreational activity;
- Landowner was grossly negligent by inspecting his or her land and willfully or maliciously failing to guard against or warn users of such conditions;
Thus, although homeowner’s do not have a duty to warn of forces of nature, homeowners cannot avoid liability by claiming that they did not have a duty to warn their guests of the dangerous conditions that they created. At that point, immunity would be removed, and the homeowner would be liable if you are able to establish gross negligence as discussed above.
For example, if you are invited to shoot guns on someone’s private property where the homeowner created an at-home shooting range the homeowner may be liable if you are injured because they failed to take reasonable precautions or safety measures to ensure that the guests would be safe.
- Injuries to persons that were granted legal purpose to complete the recreational activity on the land has a duty to keep the land or premises safe or to warn of danger for all conditions that are not created by forces of nature;
In sum, homeowner insurance claims are difficult to face on your own. These types of claims are very fact specific that may result in you having a valid claim or the homeowner claiming immunity. Insurance adjusters will inevitably claim that their insured is immune from liability because you were engaged in a recreational activity. At Barnes Law Firm, our attorneys understand the recreational activity statutes and our attorneys will aggressively advocate on your behalf to insurance adjusters and/or defense lawyers that it does not apply in your case. Our Tennessee homeowner insurance and recreational activity lawyers will put in the time and resources in an endeavor to maximize the settlement amount of verdict that you receive.
CONTACT OUR KNOXVILLE TN HOMEOWNER INSURANCE CLAIM and RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY INJURY ATTORNEYS FOR IMMEDIATE HELP
From our office location in Knoxville, we represent victims that were injured in someone else’s household throughout the region, including in Knox County, Sevier County, Blount County, Anderson County and Loudon County.
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