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premise liability Fire oct2012


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#1 brightlight123

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:08 PM

my adult son was invited to a bonfire. he was sitting on a couch, 4 guys picked it up to put it in the fire, he responded "put me in the fire" (drinking was going on), the 4 guys threw the sofa in the fire with him on it but he jumped out 6 feet into the fire trying to escape. He has a 3rd degree sprain. The homeowners say they werent home but their adult kids were , but, many at the party said the owners were home. The homeowner said he wasnt going to give me his ins. info and his girlfriend/wife said she was not home at the time. Since reading the premise liability law and invitations and owners being home are factors, it sounds like they were coached to lie. The homeowners son was one of the 4 who put him in the fire. The property is owned by a huge rock quarry who subleased to a sod company who again leased to yet another 3rd party who has a trailer on the property which has homeowners on it as per their mtg. company. The male homeowner works for the sod company and was very belligerent about the whole ordeal. My son can not put any weight on the foot and the orthopedic guy said it will be months before it will be ok and possibly he will have trouble with it his whole life. For three weeks he has not been out of bed except to go to doctor or bathroom, its still swollen and bruised. Will the homeowners or land owners be liable by any percentage?

#2 Tax_Counsel

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 08:04 PM

Will the homeowners or land owners be liable by any percentage?


That depends on the applicable state law, and you didn't say in what state this occurred. However, the fact that your son told them to do it and then injured himself when he made the jump off the couch will likely be a huge problem in winning any judgment here. His injuries were in large part of his own making.

#3 adjusterjack

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 06:54 AM

In general, I don't see the property owner being liable here. And he certainly is not obligated to give you his insurance information.

Adults were drinking. Adults put the couch on the fire with your son on it after your son asked them to do it.

Both your son and the other 4 are negligent.

Whether your son's contributory negligence eliminates his claim completely or partly depends on whether your un-named state follows contributory negligence law or comparative negligence law.

Your post is further proof that booze makes people stupid.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#4 pg1067

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 07:24 AM

I agree completely with both of the prior responses. A couple of additional comments.

That the other persons directly involved in the incident were adults is significant. Parents generally have no liability for their adult children's conduct. While your son certainly can sue his friends, nothing in your post suggests that the parents would have any liability. You referred to your state's premises liability law, but general principles of premises liability would not hold the parents (not homeowners but persons in legal possession of the property) liable here. As previously noted, since you didn't identify the state where this happened, it's impossible to assess this with any particularity.

The contributory/comparative negligence law in your unidentified state could result in the case never even going to trial. If the case were to go to trial, predicting how a jury might decide a particular case is difficult even in the best of circumstances. The jury might be sympathetic and award your son something or it might decide that his own stupidity might preclude recovery. All I can tell you is that people who have done things more stupid than what your son did have gotten 7 figure settlements because the insurance companies involved were fearful about what a jury might award (of course, in the particular case I'm thinking about, the plaintiff was injured far worse than your son and the defendants had insurance coverage that certainly went WAY beyond what your son's friends are likely to have).

#5 brightlight123

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 09:34 PM

Louisville Kentucky is where this occurred. Thank you adjuster jack. contributory or comparative negligence law. So it sounds like if I'm depressed and I tell someone to push me off a cliff and they do so.... they are not liable. Im saying men will be men and if my son didnt want to get off the couch and four others being determined to burn the couch did so with him in it, well thats just nuts... sounds like people should be responsible for what goes in a bon fire at their house and try to keep people from getting injured , for example not play games like toss the baby over the flames...etc...

As far as I know he was absolutely invited..... and the owners of the trailer were there as well as one adult and one minor who lived in the trailer..... But now the lady who lives there is saying she wasnt even home while the fellow who invited my son said she absolutely was there. So i am supposing they already talked to someone who told them how they might beat a claim on their homeowners and "poof!" the lady of the house disappears...aka lies.

If someone got hurt at my house i would absolutely give them my homeowners info and let the insurance company do their job. These "jerks" cant risk anything but a higher rate in the future and can go shop around.....

So its like this.... the orthopedic doctor was told we were self pay and looked at exrays and without other testing or any questions said it was a third degree sprain since it was three weeks and he cant move it but a tiny bit. With it just hanging down while sitting makes it swell and turn redder like a tick ready to pop. No referal to a physical therapist, no "come back if not better" nothing. It more than likely could require surgery but this doctor wasnt going to deal with a self pay person....

These fellows that put him in the fire may be found at fault to a degree but you cant get blood outta a turnip... and isn"t that what homeowners is for???? An insurance payout is my sons only hope to get some help with this injury.

The fact that a sod company rented to the trailer people who happen to work at the sod company dont help. The fact that the quarry dont want any claims and they hold the deed with their team of lawyers on retainer dont help. These people on that land have been burying huge drums and other car waste and debris, who knows what they have been burying back there, on google earth and maps you see piles of cars and metal barrels heaped around ..... they have just recently put that metal building on a website to sell with a part of the property. The sod company said they are going bankrupt and the trailer people are being foreclosed on but they do have homeowners paid up as per their mtg company.

Please help me know what i am getting into.

#6 brightlight123

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Posted 21 October 2012 - 10:09 PM

If the homeowner/trailer owner foreclosing on then the sod company who leased to them is liable and if his bankrupt company dont have insurance then the huge business rock quarry is liable..... does that sound right. If there is the correct negligence law applicable here ... comparative or contributory?

This is just a nightmare really. Those people first off yelling that my son was not invited AFTER he got hurt.. real hatfield and mccoy types. I would call them hillbillies or rednecks but that would be slurring the scottish and irish!

#7 Guest_FindLaw_Amir_*

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 11:12 AM

To learn more about this subject matter, you may wish to visit the Accidents and Injuries Center: Negligence and read Contributory and Comparative Negligence as a good resource.

#8 pg1067

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 12:19 PM

These fellows that put him in the fire may be found at fault to a degree but you cant get blood outta a turnip... and isn"t that what homeowners is for?


One of the purposes of homeowner's insurance is to indemnify the insured against potential liability. However, if none of the insureds can reasonably said to be liable, then the insurance isn't going to pay anything.

According to a quick google search, Kentucky follows a "pure comparative fault" system, which means any potential recovery will be reduced based on his share of the fault, but he won't be completely barred. He should speak with a local personal injury attorney.

#9 brightlight123

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 02:22 AM

Thank you very much for your post. I believe a homeowner should be concerned for his/her guest when having a bonfire, like not throwing toxic waste in or explosives or a human being aka my son.

You should have to watch the fire since you are permitting people to gather around it. Of course my opinion does not matter because I am not an attorney.

I contacted an attorney and thankfully we recognize comparative neg. law with no 50 or 51% cap. I cant believe in Alabama if you are 1% at fault you can not claim anything? Wasnt the first statute for alabama contributory law one in which the person was not allowed to file a claim? My aunt lives there but I will never move there because of that horrible unfair law they recognize. That certainly promotes a hostile un-neighborly atmosphere and paranoid at that.

They were not allowed to have a bonfire in jefferson county without having food cook over it. I wonder if that matters any? Thank you again for responding kind people. Hope my attorney can help us.

#10 adjusterjack

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 08:44 AM

It's possible that the illegal bonfire could give you reason to include the homeowner as a defendant in a lawsuit but the chances of your son actually being awarded a judgment against the homeowner could be slim because the bonfire was not the proximate cause of your son's injuries. The proximate cause of your son's injuries was the act of himself and the 4 others. They could have just as easily picked up him and the couch at his request and threw him in front of a car driven by a drunk driver. The drunk driving would also not be the proximate cause of injuries.

Bottom line: It's time to sit your son down in front of an experienced personal injury attorney and have the entire situation professionally evaluated.

You can, of course, use your attorney. But if your attorney is not an experienced personal injury attorney it would be like having a GP read and MRI and then do the brain surgery himself.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.


#11 brightlight123

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:16 PM

thank you again. an retired judge now practicing law referred me to a personal injury attorney. He is putting together a theory of liability, is what he said..... i hope he believes we have a chance. so there has to be a proximate cause, which sounds like a primary cause..... an the fact that homeowner was not attending to a huge fire and party going on in their backyard is not a primary cause?

the primary cause was four people deciding to throw my son in the fire on the couch? so our only relief may be civil cases against individuals which I thnk is like gettin blood from a turnip. going in filing show cause orders, people retaliating etc...

hope not. i will let ya know how it goes . thanks for postin back.

#12 brightlight123

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Posted 23 October 2012 - 07:18 PM

had the fire not been there, then they wouldnt have tried to put him in it. that sounds proximate to me.

#13 adjusterjack

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 09:04 AM

had the fire not been there, then they wouldnt have tried to put him in it. that sounds proximate to me.


You're driving down the road, somebody runs a red light and t-bones your car.

Are you partially at fault because, had you not been out driving your car, the accident wouldn't have happened?

I mentioned earlier that the homeowner could be partially liable if the bonfire was "illegal." However, that's not the proximate cause, it's a secondary cause, and to make that stick you would have to prove that the homeowner knew that adults on his property created the bonfire and did nothing to stop it. If the homeowner was away, even for a few hours, and had no knowledge of what was going on, then the homeowner would not be liable.

On the other hand if, say, the homeowner's son was one of the people that started the bonfire and helped put the couch and your son on to the fire, then that one person's negligence (or partial negligence) might be covered by the homeowner's insurance policy.

I write "might be covered" because there is a fine line between negligence and an intentional acts and intentional acts are not covered by insurance.

That's something for a lawyer to address.

Warning: Legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here are simplified and might not fully explain the ramifications of your particular issue. I am not a lawyer. I do not give legal advice. I make comments based on my knowledge and experience. I guarantee nothing. If you act on my comments without the advice of an attorney, you do so at your own risk.





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