Interviewer: What are some things that you’re going to be looking for in premises liability cases as an attorney?
Robert Cummings: All these categories that we’re talking about here are pretty broad categories. When you say premises liability, what am I going to be looking at, it all depends on what the premises is, who owns the premises, how did the injury occur? The first step is, somebody says, “I was at my neighbor’s house, I tripped in a hole and fell.” That’s going to take a different kind of analysis than if somebody’s at a Home Depot, and trips off a curb, or is at a grocery store, and slips on a puddle of water. That’s going to take a different type of analysis.
It is Necessary to Observe the Extent of Injuries Sustained along with the Ownership of the Premises
Going with the first analysis, with a whole tripping and hurting themselves, we want to look at the extent of the injuries. What the person that was injured did, where the hole was. We also want to know if the home’s rented, or if it’s owned by the person living there, and if that’s the case, we want to know who’s insurance is involved, what policies are at play. If it’s a rental, you’re going to look at the homeowner. You’re going to look at the management company. If it’s privately owned, or just the person that lives there owns it, you’re going to want to consider what their homeowner insurance policy is.
There Must Be Sufficient Enough Damage To Justify a Lawsuit
I think as I’ve said a lot of it comes down to the injuries or damages that the person suffered. If they just fell in the hole and scraped their shin, it might not be worthwhile to go after the other homeowner, If it’s just a minor scrape. Just because there was a hole, and just because there was a trip, doesn’t mean necessarily that there’s a law suit. You have to have the damage to justify the law suit. I think the people in that situation also should consider that in the future, you’re going to have to live next door to that person for quite some time. Those real-world implications should be considered by the client and by the plaintiff. It doesn’t necessarily dissuade the law suit, but it’s something to consider.
Corporate Premises Liability Cases Usually Involve Gathering of Evidence Highly Specific to the Injury Sustained
Going to a corporate or commercial type premises liability case, a lot of them kind of depend on what the injury was. Was it, as I said, a water in the aisle way? We’re going to want to know, how long was the water there? We’re going to want to know, again, what the extent of the injuries are, whether anybody else has slipped on that water, are there similar cases like this against the company? If Somebody tripped on the curb, we want to know if the curb was marked properly. We want to know if it was the proper height. There’s certain rules and regulations that stores and locations have to abide by, related to curb height, warning signs, painting, et cetera, stuff along those lines.