Can my homeowners insurance refuse to payout on a claim for a fireworks accident that was on my property?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Oct 4, 2013

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Insurance Question from Bedford Park, IL

Asked on 10/04/2013

Can my homeowners insurance refuse to payout on a claim for a fireworks accident that was on my property? A guest at my home was injured by firework debris in an ashtray which flashed up when he put out his cigarette. He was brought by ambulance to the emergency room, and was off work for a couple of months during recovery. The insurance company has paid for the medical benefits, but has indicated that it will not payout for lost wages or pain and suffering because I did not take responsibility for the accident and admit that I put the debris in the ashtray. I told them that I took the ashtray out of a cabinet and set it out on the table. Should my guest sue the insurance company?

Answer given on October 24, 2013

If someone is injured on your property you have two options to pay for the injuries.The first part is medical payments coverage to others. This limit runs between $500 and as high as $10,000 per person. No negligence needs to be proven for this coverage to apply to the injured party. It only covers medical costs. No deductible applies to this coverage.The second part is your liability coverage. You need to be shown to be legally liable, or negligent in the cause of the injuries to the other party. The limits for this coverage run between $100,000 to $1,000,000. There is no deductible to this coverage either. This coverage will protect you for injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.If you did not cause the injuries because you were unaware of the fireworks in the ashtray, then the insurance company may well deny coverage under your liability coverage. However, if the other party sues you for damages, the insurance company must defend you in court and pay any settlement that is determined in the court case. If you are not found liable, then the insurance company does not have to pay anything to the other party.

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