Worried about Personal Injury Claim

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  • Worried about Personal Injury Claim

    I have recently been informed by the letting agent I am using that part of the guttering on a house that I am renting had completely fallen away from the top of the house and struck a small child on the head. Obviously I am absolutely mortified by this, what I am worrying about now is the possibility of a personal injury claim by this child's parents?

    Am I liable, Could they claim and how much money is this going to cost?

    Any advice?

  • #2
    If the parents have evidence that the guttering injured their child, then they may have a claim, and there will undoubtedly be a bevy of Personal Injury lawyers waiting in the wings and rubbing their hands gleefully. However, it should be covered by the Third Party Liability cover in your LL's building insurance (in the same way as if your chimney pot is blown off in a storm and wrecks your neighbour's car).

    I think the only way the insurers can wriggle out of this is if they can demonstrate that the guttering hadn't been maintained and had been allowed by your neglect to fall into a dangerously unstable state.

    Can we assume you do have landlord's building insurance?
    'Pause you who read this, and think for a moment of the long chain of iron or gold, of thorns or flowers, that would never have bound you, but for the formation fo the first link on one memorable day'. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

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    • #3
      Is it child-of-tenant or someone else?? Whoever it is, if I were in your shoes, I'd write them a short letter saying you are very sorry for the experience they & the child have been through.

      Sounds like an apology but it isn't, and just might take some sting out of things... You may wish to take advice from insurers before doing this.

      I'd also wish to lay eyes on the child so I can gauge the injury...

      Presumably a trusted tradesperson has been/is going round to fix guttering & report, quietly, back on what happened?? And ask agency to send brief email summarizing all they know (This may well end up in court...)

      Poor wee kid.
      I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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      • #4
        When in doubt do nowt. Beanie - You say a letting agent told you this - this makes me immediately suspicious or maybe this is just my nature.

        Parents (or their solicitor) of said child would need to contact you personally before making a claim and I would wait for that. I take it that the 'letting agent'in question is acting for you?



        Freedom at the point of zero............

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        • #5
          Originally posted by theartfullodger View Post
          I'd write them a short letter saying you are very sorry for the experience they & the child have been through.
          Unfortunately these days you would need to pass that letter by a solicitor to be sure that your way of saying that you are sorry for the experience is not in anyway an admission of liability.

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          • #6
            The tenants in my house have no children,it was a passer by, the child was allegedly walking to school when the incident happened. I have been told that one of the childs parents knocked the door and the tenants in the house told them they were renting the house through the letting agent and to get in touch with them. Which it appears they have done because the letting agent I am using have informed me of their allegations. Which Im assuming are correct because they sent somebody up to the house to remove the piece of guttering which was on the pavement. So do I ring my insurer for some advice or do I just wait it out and hope that no solicitors get in touch, how much proof would they need to persue a case? Really panicking at the mo so any other advice anyone has to contribute would be great. Thanks.

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            • #7
              In your shoes I would rink insurer & also then write to him (they get confused... ) reminding them you were not at that time making a claim but simply alerting them to any possible later one. I would also take some photos of guttering remaining.
              I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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              • #8
                Sorry to go slightly off topic but does third party party liability insurance cover potential injury claims from tenants, as well as others not connected with the renting of the house?

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                • #9
                  Ricco: You need to read YOUR insurance policy: I can't read it from here.... not all policies are the same...

                  Mine, for example, states...
                  Description of Cover
                  Indemnity for amounts you are legally liable to pay up to the Limit of Indemnity stated on your policy schedule

                  Key Benefits

                  • Damages arising out of bodily injury or third party property damage caused by an accident at the insured premises happening in connection with the letting of the premises.
                  - but there are also exclusions...
                  I am legally unqualified: If you need to rely on advice check it with a suitable authority - eg a solicitor specialising in landlord/tenant law...

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                  • #10
                    Thanks. I'm in the process of buying my properties, I'll need to take out insurance soon. I'm pretty thorough as regards reading t&c's but I guess I'm trying to 'pre-arm' myself with as much information as possible, as regards what cover is usually provided.

                    Thinking it through, I'd guess that the insurance co. is the first party, I'm the second (as the policyholder). Any other person is a third party, incuding the tenant. Would that be correct?

                    Is negligence usually covered? For example, landlord forgets to fit smoke alarms, child dies in a fire, landlord is sued for a million...insurance company likely to pay?

                    Thanks again.

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