If you own your own home, chances are good that you’ve taken out homeowners liability insurance on it. In many jurisdictions, this step is required by law. Likewise, most business owners use commercial liability insurance to protect their investments and insulate themselves from claims. While such insurance policies are designed to insulate homeowners and business owners from the financial costs associated with physical damage, liability claims and other issues, they’re not intended to absolve them of responsibility for negligent or intentionally harmful actions. If you’re thinking about filing a liability claim against a homeowner or business owner, take a moment to review the basic differences between homeowners liability and commercial liability. Homeowners Liability Insurance Basics Homeowners insurance comes in two basic parts: property and liability. While we could easily devote an entire article to property insurance issues, homeowners liability insurance is fairly straightforward. This guarantee protects homeowners from financial damages associated with injuries, deaths or damages that occur in their homes or on their properties. Liability claims against homeowners often occur after falls that result in severe injuries, or after on-site machinery accidents that can’t be blamed on defective products. Commercial Liability Insurance Basics Commercial or business liability insurance tends to be far more broad in scope. In addition to the physical structures in which the covered entity conducts its affairs, most commercial liability plans cover claims and damages associated with the products and services that it offers. If you file a claim against a business that makes a defective or harmful product, it’s quite likely that its commercial liability plan will cover the cost of any judgment that arises out of the case. Key Differences There are some obvious differences between homeowners liability and commercial liability. Whereas homeowners tend to be held liable for a narrower range of problems, businesses can be faulted for a variety of indirect problems that can be traced back to their products or services. However, business owners often evade personal responsibility for such issues. Any judgment that you stand to receive as a result of a commercial liability claim is likely to come out of the at-fault business’s asset pool. How Do You Know Who’s at Fault? In some cases, it may be difficult to determine the identity of an at-fault party. If you were injured on a residential property that doubles as a business site, the sequence of events that led up to the incident could prove to be consequential. You’d do well to speak to a liability expert before proceeding. If you still have some questions about the differences between homeowners liability and commercial liability, or aren’t sure how to determine the identity of the at-fault party in your specific case, turn to the seasoned liability experts at the law firm of Boteler, Finley and Wolfe in Mobile, AL. To learn more about the services that our firm’s seasoned attorneys can provide, visit us online or call 866-975-7766.
When visitors come to your home, you want them to be comfortable and safe. Unfortunately, accidents do sometimes happen, and the resulting injuries can cause strain on your friendship and finances. Although insurance can help mitigate the cost of an accidental injury claim, you may still require an attorney to protect your interests. It’s best to avoid the situation whenever possible by working to keep your home safe. Here are a few of the most common household risks and ways to avoid them: Falls Slips and falls account for about 40% of all injuries sustained in the home, and they’re the leading cause of injuries to home visitors. Guests may be unfamiliar with the terrain around your home, and safety hazards around the house may increase their chances of slipping. Although you may know that the last step in your stairs is an odd height or that there are extension cords crossing the yard, your guests won’t know to avoid these hazards. It’s best to clear your home of hazards. Pay special attention to clearing debris from walkways, and repair any unsteady or damaged stairs and porches. Animal Bites Dogs and cats have wills of their own, and they sometimes aren’t as friendly toward your guests as you might want them to be. Even a generally friendly animal can have an “off” day, and a stranger could trigger their defensive behavior. It’s important to keep your pets well trained and well socialized to avoid possible bites. It’s also not a bad idea to keep your pets away from guests during occasions that might over-excite them. Tucking them away in a quiet room during a party will be a lot less stressful for everyone. Kitchen Mishaps Dinner parties can be fun, but they can pose risks like burns and cuts to your guests. Reduce the number of kitchen accidents by keeping your knives properly sharpened, turning pot handles inward and encouraging appropriate dress in the kitchen. You might feel a little awkward at first, but a safe kitchen is the first step to safe guests. For more information about home safety risks, you can reference the most extensive study ever completed on the topic, the 2004 Home Safety Council report. Of course, even the most careful homeowner cannot always protect their visitors from themselves. If visitors to your Mobile, AL home have recently been injured, it might be time to contact an attorney about handling the liability claim.
These days, disability insurance is a hot topic of political discussion. After years of low-key operation, federal and state disability programs have been thrust into the spotlight. Despite its new-found prominence in the national discourse, disability insurance remains a necessary source of income for millions of Americans with health conditions that make gainful employment difficult or impossible. Before you file your disability insurance claim in Alabama, review these five little-known facts about the program. 1. Your Claim Won’t Automatically Be Accepted Many workers who suffer long-term injuries or receive psychological diagnoses that preclude gainful employment assume that they’ll automatically be accepted into Alabama’s disability insurance program. This is far from the truth: Recent statistics indicate that only 30% of initial applications for disability insurance are accepted by Alabama Disability Determination Services. That’s lower than the national average. 2. You’ll Need to Meet Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Criteria In Alabama and elsewhere, ultimate decisions to distribute or withhold disability insurance payments often turn on the question of whether a potential recipient can perform “substantial gainful activity.” SGA isn’t exactly synonymous with “working,” but most forms of work do count as substantial gainful activity. If you earn more than a set amount per month, you’ll be deemed capable of performing SGA and won’t be eligible for disability benefits. Current SGA thresholds sit at $1,740 for blind workers and $1,040 for non-blind workers. 3. Unemployment Isn’t the Whole Story Many applicants wrongly believe that currently employed individuals are automatically ineligible to receive disability insurance payments. While unemployed applicants tend to have a better shot at earning disability insurance payments, those who engage in “unsuccessful work attempts” may be considered as well. If you work at a job for less than six months after a prolonged period of unemployment and ultimately leave said job as a result of your disability, you can petition to have your stint categorized as a UWA. If this petition is successful, you’ll remain eligible for disability benefits. 4. Appeals Work While only 30% of initial disability applications are accepted by Alabama Disability Determination Services, a full 62% earn acceptance after applicants lodge formal appeals. If your application has merit, don’t be discouraged by an initial rejection. Instead, talk to a lawyer about appealing the decision. 5. Disability Eligibility and Awards Aren’t Static State and federal agencies are constantly updating eligibility requirements for disability insurance payments. For instance, the late 1990s saw an increase in the length of time for which applicants are eligible for Medicare support. By contrast, recent changes have made it more difficult for some individuals with diagnosed psychological disorders to continue receiving benefits. It’s important to work through these issues with a disability insurance expert. If you’re in the Mobile, AL area and having trouble negotiating your disability insurance situation, consider reaching out to a law firm for expert counsel. At Boteler, Finley & Wolfe, we have years of experience successfully representing disability cases. Let us help you with yours.