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  1. #1
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    Default Tenant Hurt on Premises

    My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: Texas

    Tenant fell in the creek 150 yards behind his rental unit last Sept.....or so he says, there were no witnesses or an ambulance. He never asked for any insurance information until I received a certified letter from a lawer today. If the insurance doesn't pay, what chance does he have winning in court? Doesn't the home owner need to be negligent?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Short answer is I doubt his chances in court.

    You didn't say, but I assume you're renting the tenant an apartment or house, and the creek is located INSIDE the perimeter of your property. You didn't say if there is a lease, but under the "warranty of habitability", even without a lease, the owner is just responsible for renting out a safe place to live, and make sure walkways are safe, and no obvious hazards on the grounds, such as sinkholes, or collpased septic tanks.

    Now, you are talking about a creek, a natural formation, some 500 yards away. I know in the case of vacation resorts, public trails, or commercial malls, there is expectation that the public would walk around, and warning signs are posted. But this is not a public area, and if the creek can be seen at a distance, there are no needs for signs, as there are no need for signs that grounds are uneven, you might trip, or trees ahead, and you might walk into it.

    There is a duty for people to look where they are going, so I would just forward the letter to your insurance. I had a business, had customer trip and falls inside my premises, and they have a hard time collectiong from my insurance let alone a creek 500 feet away. And we knew about the fall the same day it happened, and the customer bought pictures of him all black and blue the next day. The customer had a lawyer, and his lawyer gave up after the insurance refused to pay telling him to just go and sue.

    This is besides the fact that no claim was immediately made on it. He would have a hard time even if he told you what happened 5 minutes later, and with videos taken, in which case, it'll be a "so what".

    In my case, my insurance requires that they be notified in 30 days or the claim is denied for the simple reason that they send adjusters to check things out, and in many situations, you can't check things out months later, as an example, seeing if the accident is due to snow and ice in the middle of the summer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Yes, he is renting a house at my moms place. She only made a verbal month to month lease agreement. The property line runs down the middle of the creek, way back in the woods.
    This is not an issue wheather he saw the creek or not, he intentinally climbed down in it to retrieve a dropped cell phone.
    The letter from his lawer is demanding insurance info. within 7 days or he will come after her personally. If She is obviously not negligent, is she required to give the lawer, or insurance co. that info? Thanks for your input.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Quote Quoting landlord2205
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    Yes, he is renting a house at my moms place. She only made a verbal month to month lease agreement. The property line runs down the middle of the creek, way back in the woods.
    This is not an issue wheather he saw the creek or not, he intentinally climbed down in it to retrieve a dropped cell phone.
    The letter from his lawer is demanding insurance info. within 7 days or he will come after her personally. If She is obviously not negligent, is she required to give the lawer, or insurance co. that info? Thanks for your input.
    In this case, if the tenant climbed down to retrieve a cell phone, then the doctrine of "assumption of risk" can be invoked. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assumption_of_risk

    As to the letter demanding an answer in seven days, I would just ignore that and forward the letter to your insurance, and let the insurance answer them in seven days. If the lawyer is foolish enough to start action because you couldn't answer fast enoguh, say he starts legal action, you'll just notify the insurance in that case anyway, and let them handle. So the lawyer pound sand.

    And then if they bother you further, tell them you only deal with them through your attorney, or one hired by your insurance, and you DO NOT deal with the tenant's attoreny directly.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Thank you, I will forward the lawers letter to the insurance co. and ignor his request. Let the lawyer pound sand (that's a new one on me!) If he proceeds in sueing her personally, why should THAT be forwarded to the insurance co.? It would be a seperate suite against HER, nothing to do with the insurance co. I forsee having to pay for representation on a simple case she is sure to win. Is it not recomended to represent myself? Well, I'm counting my chickens before they hatch. You're probably right, he'll drop it after the insurance declines him. I can't imagine his lawer persuing it unless he drops a bunch of money. He works from the house giving guitar lessons and may still be dealing with recent warrent fines. Thanks again, you've made me feel so much better!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Quote Quoting landlord2205
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    Thank you, I will forward the lawers letter to the insurance co. and ignor his request. Let the lawyer pound sand (that's a new one on me!) If he proceeds in sueing her personally, why should THAT be forwarded to the insurance co.? It would be a seperate suite against HER, nothing to do with the insurance co. I forsee having to pay for representation on a simple case she is sure to win. Is it not recomended to represent myself? Well, I'm counting my chickens before they hatch. You're probably right, he'll drop it after the insurance declines him. I can't imagine his lawer persuing it unless he drops a bunch of money. He works from the house giving guitar lessons and may still be dealing with recent warrent fines. Thanks again, you've made me feel so much better!
    I own rentals and businesses, and I always get myself General Liability insurance. The whole purpose of it is if someone sues me personally, I just send the claim to the insurance company, and they then go and hire the lawyers, pretty much the way auto insurance works, you get into an accident, someone sues you personally, the insurance company comes in to defend you, all as part of the insurance coverage.

    Don't represent yourself, ever.

    I had some customer come after me in a slip and fall case, he got a lawyer, but the lawyer had no luck going in circles with the insurance company, so the lawyer stopped returning the calls to my customer who's suing me. Based on the facts of the case you presented, got to be an idiot lawyer to even waste his time on it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    My mom, 87 yrs. old, moved in with me a year ago and I'm trying to clean up her mess. She has had the same insurance company for the past 45 years but has failed to inform them she is now leasing (for the past 20 years) five units. I know she has set herself up for trouble. She has liability coverage, is that not the "General liability" you speak of? Or is that extra coverage. I will be contacting her insurance co. and disclosing all the facts. How much of what coverage do you think is neccesary?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    I respect your advice to not to represent myself and I will hire a layer if it comes to that. I wonder why go to the expense if it's obviously no negligence on the land owners part. I figure maybe he could claim he didn't see the creek, but I can get several statements from people he had told that he went into it to retrieve his phone. It was six months ago!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    It such a bad news that insurance company also be doing illegal work. I think from my opinion you should be contact to the consumer court.

    It such a bad news that insurance company also be doing illegal work. I think from my opinion you should be contact to the consumer court.

    Family Divorce Lawyer

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Tenant Hurt on Premise

    Quote Quoting landlord2205
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    My mom, 87 yrs. old, moved in with me a year ago and I'm trying to clean up her mess. She has had the same insurance company for the past 45 years but has failed to inform them she is now leasing (for the past 20 years) five units. I know she has set herself up for trouble. She has liability coverage, is that not the "General liability" you speak of? Or is that extra coverage. I will be contacting her insurance co. and disclosing all the facts. How much of what coverage do you think is neccesary?
    Yes, liability commonly referred to is "general liability" coverage.

    I own a number of properties, and I carry $500,000 liability for each, then an umbrella additional of $1,000,000 beyond that covering all of them. The primary coverage of $500,000 came about because the umbrella has a deductable of $500,000 for each property, and the umbrella also covers my autos, so it basically covers everything I do.

    While the numbers sound large, you might find an idiot tenant injuring himself, maimed for life, and convince a jury it's all your fault. There's some conventional wisdom out there that if you get policy coverages up to beyond the million dollar range, then the insurance company would hire some good lawyers to defend themselves, since if YOU LOSE the case, then they are on the hook big time. On the other hand, if you get "peanut coverage" for example only $25,000 as some people do for auto liability, and then something major happens, there's a big claim, say for a million, then the insurance company would happily pay the $25,000, save themselves the legal fees, be done with it, let you hold the bag for the difference, as the plaintiff can come after you for anything over the insurance coverage.

    There's some truth to it, as my first job out of college was with an insurance company.

    As to not representing yourself, I say so because often when some idiot lawyers hears some old lady is trying to save money representing herself, the lawyer would laugh, lick his chops, and say "let me me see how much I can scare out of that little old lady" knowing it's a preposterous claim. If it's an insurance company, with tough law firms on it's side, knows the law, the idiot lawyer would high tail it out of there pronto, knowing he'll be called an idiot, and be told to get outta here before we wipe you all over the floor.

    A few months ago, I had to get things straightened out on an old workman's comp case from a few years back, the WC people sent me letters and left messages, I finally had my lawyer contact them, advised them of his name, and told them if they have anything at all to say at all, to write or call him, my attorney, and know that I would not be answering any of their letters and phone calls, so forget about threatening "if I don't hear from you in 7 days ..." because they won't be hearing from me at all, not ever, let alone 7 days.

    Just to add if you have liability coverage, the deal is they would hire the lawyers to represent you already if you get sued, so why go through the trouble of hiring lawyers, if it's already paid for.

    And as to why is he suing knowing there is no negligience on his part, the answer is he already knows that, but doesn't know if he'll collect anything unless he first sues and scare you and see what happens. IT'S ALL A GAME. But if they see a lawyer responding, then they know you mean business, and not playing around. I've seen this happen, when some idiot customer coming after me with lawyer found his lawyer stopped returning his calls when he got nowhere with my lawyers. Then he came back to see me, begging me to do something, I told him to get lost because I'm already paying good money on a lawyer not to hear him whine.

    See, it feels nice to be on top of things, and in control, and make them beg you.

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