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Firefighter beats insurer in premises liability case

A firefighter who fell through a glass panel while fighting a New Jersey blaze will have the accident covered by the building’s insurer. An appeals court ruled that the insurance carrier must provide coverage for the firefighter in the premises liability case, even though the building owner was responsible for maintaining the roof where the accident occurred. The insurer had argued that the building owner, NSPC, was solely responsible for the accident and attempted to deny the company’s claim.

Official reports show that the firefighter was injured while battling a blaze in the summer of 2009. The victim was fighting a fire at an adjacent building, but he had to climb atop the NSPC building roof in order to access that structure. As he was walking along that rooftop, he stepped on a glass panel and fell through the roof. The victim suffered injuries to his back, pelvis, shoulder, and hip, and he was forced to permanently retire because of these wounds.

The victim’s compensation appeared to depend on the willingness of the insurer to pay for the cost of the accident. A trial judge agreed with the insurance company, verifying that the firm did not have to pay for the firefighter’s accident. Now, the appeals court has reversed that decision in favor of the firefighter, allowing for full compensation because of the incident.

Insurance companies nationwide are in the business of saving money – they rarely want to willingly pay large sums because of even a legitimate claim. Sometimes, the only way for California premises liability victims to recover damages is through the court system. These victims deserve financial compensation for their pain and suffering. A qualified attorney can help you learn more about your legal options if you have been harmed because of this type of dangerous property condition.

Source: New Jersey Law Journal, “Insurer Must Cover Newark Firefighter’s Fall, Court Rules,” Michael Booth, May 05, 2017