Bill Adler: Welcome to Hammer TV, everybody. I’m Bill Adler, the Texas Hammer, and this is-
Jim Adler: Jim Adler, the Texas Hammer.
Bill Adler: Premise liability is a situation we encounter a lot. When you think about premise, what comes to mind typically is someone’s house. However, Jim, can you explain a little bit about premise law and what it is specifically?
Jim Adler: Oh yeah, Bill. Premises liability law, that’s just a fancy lawyer word for when someone gets injured on someone else’s property. So for example, if you’re hurt at your own house, you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself-
Bill Adler: Unfortunately, yeah.
Jim Adler: … If you slip and fall in the kitchen or you trip over something that you did clean up.
Bill Adler: That’s right. Yeah.
Jim Adler: But let’s say you’re at an apartment, and for one reason or another, you fall down some stairs or you slip on some algae or water. Or maybe you’re at a shopping mall, and you get injured due to the negligence of the owner of the mall. There’s all kind of business premises. And then you’ve got work premises. Let’s say you’re working in a factory or at a refinery or a chemical plant, and there’s something dangerous that makes you fall or injures you. Or something falls on you, you’re hurt on somebody else’s property. Anytime that happens to you, you have a right to sue the owner of the property for their negligence in not protecting you from injury.
Bill Adler: I see. Okay.
Jim Adler: It’s just that simple.
Bill Adler: That makes a lot of sense. All right. So another question that we often get is what type of visitors may sue for premise liability? So can you take us through the type of visitors that can sue for premise liability and what they’re typically termed?
Jim Adler: Well, yeah. You’ve got what are called in the law invitees.
Bill Adler: Okay. Invitees.
Jim Adler: You’ve got licensees.
Bill Adler: Licensees. Okay.
Jim Adler: And then you’ve got trespassers.
Bill Adler: That’s right. Yeah.
Jim Adler: So invitees are people who are legally on the property and have a right to be there.
Bill Adler: And they have the strongest rights?
Jim Adler: That’s exactly right. Licensees are people that have a special license or a special privilege to be on the property.
Bill Adler: All right.
Jim Adler: A trespasser is someone who doesn’t have any business being on the property, and they have very limited rights, if any.
Bill Adler: That’s right. Yeah. That’s exactly right.
Jim Adler: So those are the type of people. For example think of a renter of an apartment or a visitor at a mall, these are all categories of licensees and invitees.
Bill Adler: I see. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. Now how quickly must a property owner clear a hazard? I believe it’s within a reasonable period of time, which is often what I hear, and reasonable periods of time are ultimately not necessarily set in stone. So what a reasonable person would do has to sometimes be decided by a jury oftentimes. But on one occasion I’ve seen one adjuster agree with me as far as that was a reasonable period of time for the manager to have been notified, which they were, and ultimately clean up the dangerous condition. If they’ve been notified, and a reasonable period of time passes and they don’t clean up the dangerous condition, ultimately that’s when you can pursue a claim for an individual who’s been injured.
Jim Adler: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what.
Bill Adler: Tell me.
Jim Adler: The longer they take to clean it up and to fix it, the deeper trouble they’re going to be in.
Bill Adler: That’s right.
Jim Adler: And if they know about it and they don’t fix it, and the more time that goes on and the more time and they still don’t fix it because they’re trying to save money, I would advise that property owner that they’re being foolish not to fix that condition because they’re just asking for trouble from people like you and me.
Bill Adler: That’s for sure. And when we can help you out in a premise liability situation, it’s when oftentimes you file what’s called an incident report. So ultimately it’s extremely important, and I know you’re injured, you’re not necessarily thinking about how do I document this, but what the store owner is probably thinking about is, how do I sweep this under the rug? How do I let them forget about this? So it’s just critical, not only that you get medical treatment, but also that you file an incident report with the store manager and make sure you get a copy of that incident report. So then he’ll try to tell you, “Oh, I don’t know what happened here. There’s no slip and fall.”
Jim Adler: That’s a great point because I’ve seen cases where people have called an ambulance to the premises, to the property where they got hurt-
Bill Adler: That’s right.
Jim Adler: … And they’ve got a lot better case than someone who doesn’t report it or does not file a report with the store or apartments or shopping mall. So because what happens is then we can get the ambulance report, and we can show that the ambulance came to that particular place or property and picked this poor injury victim up. And you can help them.
Bill Adler: Right. And you can match the ambulance record with the incident report, so there’s no he said, she said type stuff going on. It’s clear that the ambulance came to this location. They filled out the incident report at this location. So there it’s a lot harder for the individual, the manager, the insurance adjuster to deny that the claim actually happened and the injury actually happened. We want to help you out when we can, but ultimately you have to have the facts in line to ultimately help you out in a lot of these situations. So ultimately if you’re injured, make sure you not only get medical help, but also file an incident report so we can pursue your claim in a timely manner and help you out.
Jim Adler: Yeah. Let me talk to you all a little bit about children in premises liability cases because children are special to all of us and children are our future. So there’s what’s called in the law attractive nuisance. That might be a swimming pool. I’ve seen so many cases where little babies drown in a swimming pool. It’s just the saddest thing. It’s an attractive nuisance. Playgrounds where there’s dangerous playground equipment or there’s not adequate cushioning when a child falls off a piece of playground equipment. So the doctrine of protecting children, attractive nuisance, and making sure that dangerous premises that are attractive to children, whether it’s a gravel pit… I’ve seen cases where kids have died in gravel pits.
Bill Adler: If you or your loved one, your children, anybody like that, has been injured in what we call a premise liability case, Jim and I would love to help you. And we know we can help you in certain cases.
Jim Adler: How can a lawyer help, Bill?
Bill Adler: Well, a lawyer can help in certain situations. We’re not miracle workers, but we’ve certainly turned a lot of cases around. If you have questions, I’d love to hear from you. Call us at 800-567-7575. You can also contact us on the web at www.JimAdler.com. We’re here to help you. Thanks everybody for watching Hammer TV. Leave us your comments, your questions. Tell us what topics you’d love to discuss with us on the show or would like to hear from us about on the show.
Jim Adler: We’d really love it if you’d like and share this video with friends or loved ones that might need some help. That would mean a lot. Premises liability, hurt on someone else’s property. This is Jim and Bill Adler, the Texas Hammers, and we’re signing off for today. You all keep in contact and ask us any questions that you’d like answered.