If you slip and fall inside or right outside of a business, there's almost always a certainty that you have a case. But what if that business is a small one? What if it's someone's home-based business? The situation can become a little complicated.
Where Does the Money Come From?
Usually, a personal injury lawsuit is against an insurance company. If you suffer an injury while at a business, then the business insurance will pay damages. It doesn't matter the size of the business, but their liability limit does matter.
Small business insurance doesn't always cover everything for the business. If they don't have any premise liability coverage, then the business may have to pay damages out-of-pocket. If they do have premise liability coverage, but your damages are more than their coverage can pay, then they have to pay the remainder out-of-pocket.
This same situation can occur at someone's home. If you go to someone's home-based hair salon and injure yourself by slipping at the side entrance, then you may have grounds for a lawsuit. However, there's a good chance the person running the business has inadequate insurance to cover your claim.
There's also a chance the person has no business insurance at all and thinks their homeowners' policy will cover such eventualities. Unfortunately, home insurance almost never has liability coverage when it concerns a home business.
Your Options for Compensation
You still have options for compensation in all of these situations. The problem is that you may not receive as much as you deserve. Some of your options may not garner you anything at all, depending on the situation.
Accept the limit – If there is coverage, but it only extends up to a certain limit, then you should consider accepting the limit. For example, if the business policy only covers up to $50,000, then that's all they can give you. Even if you have a $250,000 case. If the settlement offer is the limit, it's sometimes a good idea to accept it.
Sue the owner – Suing the owner of a business can sometimes earn you more, but not always. If the person doesn't have any real money, then there's nothing they can give you. If the person owns assets that are worth something, it's possible to seek a lien, but that's a whole other process that may require a lot of time and more effort than it's worth.
Go to trial – You can go to court, but the same rules apply. If your judgment is for $250,000 and the insurance company only covers $25,000, then the 25k is all you will see. The rest will have to come from the defendant directly, but that goes back to suing the owner.
Sometimes, the money just isn't there. There are other paths to compensation such as garnishments, liens, and asset freezing. Unfortunately, these types of things take time and money. In some jurisdictions, they're not even options at all and you must simply take what's offered.
You should always speak with a personal injury attorney about your choices. Your lawyer can let you know what avenues are worthwhile to pursue. He or she can also help you to understand why you cannot receive all the compensation that you deserve.