The second question is: Is it always better to sue a homeowner than accept an offer in compromise? Of course, the answer depends on individual circumstances. If a homeowner has been injured by someone else’s negligence or misconduct then there is really no way of knowing what would have happened if you had not sued. Therefore, it makes sense to sue.
However, many homeowners who are injured do not know enough about liability law to know whether they should sue or accept a settlement. They therefore try to avoid lawsuits because they fear that if they do so they will be putting themselves at a greater risk. This is a reasonable concern, though perhaps one that is overstated. The key is not to delay. As soon as you are injured by another person or property, you should seek legal advice to determine whether you have a lawsuit viable.
The first step in suing a homeowner for compensation is to determine whether your injury was caused by the defendant’s negligence or breach of the duty of care. This determination can be made with the help of an attorney experienced in filing lawsuits on behalf of homeowners. (The American homeowners association advises homeowners to retain an attorney if they think that they might have a case.) An insurance company representative who has experience working with clients who have suffered injury from negligence should be consulted as well.
Another factor to consider is whether the injury was caused by the conduct of the defendant. For example, it may be more challenging to sue a person who leaves the scene of an accident than it would be to sue a person who leaves the scene of an ice storm. Therefore, some people who are injured often attempt to sue in such instances where their injuries were caused by acts of the defendants rather than the negligence of others. (An example is a person who steps on an icy sidewalk in the winter when the sidewalk is icy and dangerous to walk on.) If you do sue, your attorney will be able to advise you on the amount you can ask for as a result of your injuries.
When you meet with your attorney, she or he will also discuss other potential scenarios that might also entitle you to seek damages. (For example, a person may sue when another driver drives over his or her vehicle without just cause.) (In this instance, the driver should have enough negligence to prevent such an occurrence.) Your attorney will know if you have a case based on the type of accident in which you were injured, the extent of your injury, and the manner in which the accident occurred. He or she will then evaluate your case and recommend whether or not you have a case.
Your next step will be to obtain a settlement. (Keep in mind that you cannot sue after you have suffered injuries if the homeowner does not own the property that was involved in the accident.) (This is why it is usually recommended that you retain an attorney to represent you in a slip and fall accident. You would not have the financial means to pursue legal action against the homeowner.)
If you do decide to sue, you should be aware of your rights. The first is to make sure you were not the negligent party. If you were injured because of someone else’s carelessness, you should be able to collect on your medical expenses and other losses from the person who caused the accident. (You should also bear in mind that most states have a comparative fault law, so you may be able to get additional compensation for injuries that were likely to occur.)
Another right, you should be aware of is your right to compensation for time off work. In a case where you were injured while suing a homeowner, the injured worker may be entitled to time off for recovery that would have been unavailable to him had he not filed the lawsuit. (This is especially true if the workers compensation or the insurance policy was self-insured.) If you are a victim of workplace accidents, you should discuss your case with your attorney about whether you should collect from your employer, as opposed to suing your employer personally, if you are a self-employed person.