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The Basics of Premises Liability

photo of a caution sign at a businessEvery land or property owner owes a duty of care to visitors of the property to protect them from injuries, or not do anything to contribute to the potential chance of injury. The level of care depends on the type of visitor in question. In Alabama, there are three different categories visitors to land or property. Each category of visitor is owed a different level of care. The three categories of visitors to property are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each will be looked at in turn.

Invitees

An invitee is someone who enters the property of another to engage in the business or activity of the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a person visiting a store to shop. The invitee is invited onto the property, whether that invitation is expressed or implied, to engage in an activity that relates to the property owner’s interest. A property owner must exercise reasonable care to safeguard the invited visitors to the property from harm. This includes inspecting the property for any dangerous conditions that could injure the visitors. The property owner also has the duty to warn an invitee of any known risks to the property. For example, if a store has water on the floor, causing a potential slipping hazard, the property owner needs to warn the invitee of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.  The landowner has a duty to inspect their property for potential hazards.

Licensee

A licensee is one who enters the property of another, but without the purpose of engaging in the business of the landowner. A common example of a licensee is a person visiting a friend’s home. There is less of a duty of care owed to licensees than to invitees. This is because there is no business benefit to the property owner when the licensee is on the property. The property owner generally does not have a duty to inspect the property, but is still required to not wantonly or willfully injure the visitors to their property. Similarly, the landowner cannot negligently cause the licensee additional injury and the landowner should warn of any known dangers.

Trespasser

A trespasser is someone who was not invited, whether expressly or implicitly, onto the property of another. Since a trespasser is entering property without permission of the property owner, he or she is owed the least amount of duty of care. The property owner does have the duty to not wantonly or willfully injure the trespasser. Additionally, if the property owner is aware of a trespasser to the property, he or she has a duty to warn the trespasser of any known dangers or conditions.

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

The three types of visitors to property discussed above are applicable to both children and adults. However, in an effort to protect children, there are other protections afforded, regardless of their visitor category. The attractive nuisance doctrine states that property owners can be held liable for injuries to children if there is an object or condition on the property that is attractive to children. This means that if there is something on the property that is irresistible to children, like a swimming pool, the property owner may have an increased duty of care than usual. However, there are conditions that must be met for the attractive nuisance doctrine to be applicable:

  • A dangerous condition must be present on the property;
  • The dangerous condition is attractive to children in that they would see it as a play area;
  • The dangerous condition is artificial (man-made)
  • The property owner must know of the dangerous condition
  • A child does not comprehend the dangerous nature of the condition;
  • The child was not warned about the dangerous condition.

If the attractive nuisance doctrine is applied, the property owner may be held liable for any injury sustained. The landowner can reduce his or her liability by taking steps to protect children from the attractive nuisance, like putting up a fence.

If you have been injured on the property of another, you might be entitled to damages for your injury. The category of visitor you are does not have to remain the same for the duration of your visit. A trespasser can become an invitee or licensee and vice versa. The personal injury attorneys at Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC are here to help you navigate your personal injury claim. Injuries can cause you more than just physical harm. Contact us today to find out if you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.

Tips to Make Buying a Home Easier

photo of a caution sign at a businessEvery land or property owner owes a duty of care to visitors of the property to protect them from injuries, or not do anything to contribute to the potential chance of injury. The level of care depends on the type of visitor in question. In Alabama, there are three different categories visitors to land or property. Each category of visitor is owed a different level of care. The three categories of visitors to property are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each will be looked at in turn.

Invitees

An invitee is someone who enters the property of another to engage in the business or activity of the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a person visiting a store to shop. The invitee is invited onto the property, whether that invitation is expressed or implied, to engage in an activity that relates to the property owner’s interest. A property owner must exercise reasonable care to safeguard the invited visitors to the property from harm. This includes inspecting the property for any dangerous conditions that could injure the visitors. The property owner also has the duty to warn an invitee of any known risks to the property. For example, if a store has water on the floor, causing a potential slipping hazard, the property owner needs to warn the invitee of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.  The landowner has a duty to inspect their property for potential hazards.

Licensee

A licensee is one who enters the property of another, but without the purpose of engaging in the business of the landowner. A common example of a licensee is a person visiting a friend’s home. There is less of a duty of care owed to licensees than to invitees. This is because there is no business benefit to the property owner when the licensee is on the property. The property owner generally does not have a duty to inspect the property, but is still required to not wantonly or willfully injure the visitors to their property. Similarly, the landowner cannot negligently cause the licensee additional injury and the landowner should warn of any known dangers.

Trespasser

A trespasser is someone who was not invited, whether expressly or implicitly, onto the property of another. Since a trespasser is entering property without permission of the property owner, he or she is owed the least amount of duty of care. The property owner does have the duty to not wantonly or willfully injure the trespasser. Additionally, if the property owner is aware of a trespasser to the property, he or she has a duty to warn the trespasser of any known dangers or conditions.

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

The three types of visitors to property discussed above are applicable to both children and adults. However, in an effort to protect children, there are other protections afforded, regardless of their visitor category. The attractive nuisance doctrine states that property owners can be held liable for injuries to children if there is an object or condition on the property that is attractive to children. This means that if there is something on the property that is irresistible to children, like a swimming pool, the property owner may have an increased duty of care than usual. However, there are conditions that must be met for the attractive nuisance doctrine to be applicable:

  • A dangerous condition must be present on the property;
  • The dangerous condition is attractive to children in that they would see it as a play area;
  • The dangerous condition is artificial (man-made)
  • The property owner must know of the dangerous condition
  • A child does not comprehend the dangerous nature of the condition;
  • The child was not warned about the dangerous condition.

If the attractive nuisance doctrine is applied, the property owner may be held liable for any injury sustained. The landowner can reduce his or her liability by taking steps to protect children from the attractive nuisance, like putting up a fence.

If you have been injured on the property of another, you might be entitled to damages for your injury. The category of visitor you are does not have to remain the same for the duration of your visit. A trespasser can become an invitee or licensee and vice versa. The personal injury attorneys at Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC are here to help you navigate your personal injury claim. Injuries can cause you more than just physical harm. Contact us today to find out if you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.

Alabama Alternative Dispute Resolution

photo of a caution sign at a businessEvery land or property owner owes a duty of care to visitors of the property to protect them from injuries, or not do anything to contribute to the potential chance of injury. The level of care depends on the type of visitor in question. In Alabama, there are three different categories visitors to land or property. Each category of visitor is owed a different level of care. The three categories of visitors to property are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each will be looked at in turn.

Invitees

An invitee is someone who enters the property of another to engage in the business or activity of the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a person visiting a store to shop. The invitee is invited onto the property, whether that invitation is expressed or implied, to engage in an activity that relates to the property owner’s interest. A property owner must exercise reasonable care to safeguard the invited visitors to the property from harm. This includes inspecting the property for any dangerous conditions that could injure the visitors. The property owner also has the duty to warn an invitee of any known risks to the property. For example, if a store has water on the floor, causing a potential slipping hazard, the property owner needs to warn the invitee of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.  The landowner has a duty to inspect their property for potential hazards.

Licensee

A licensee is one who enters the property of another, but without the purpose of engaging in the business of the landowner. A common example of a licensee is a person visiting a friend’s home. There is less of a duty of care owed to licensees than to invitees. This is because there is no business benefit to the property owner when the licensee is on the property. The property owner generally does not have a duty to inspect the property, but is still required to not wantonly or willfully injure the visitors to their property. Similarly, the landowner cannot negligently cause the licensee additional injury and the landowner should warn of any known dangers.

Trespasser

A trespasser is someone who was not invited, whether expressly or implicitly, onto the property of another. Since a trespasser is entering property without permission of the property owner, he or she is owed the least amount of duty of care. The property owner does have the duty to not wantonly or willfully injure the trespasser. Additionally, if the property owner is aware of a trespasser to the property, he or she has a duty to warn the trespasser of any known dangers or conditions.

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

The three types of visitors to property discussed above are applicable to both children and adults. However, in an effort to protect children, there are other protections afforded, regardless of their visitor category. The attractive nuisance doctrine states that property owners can be held liable for injuries to children if there is an object or condition on the property that is attractive to children. This means that if there is something on the property that is irresistible to children, like a swimming pool, the property owner may have an increased duty of care than usual. However, there are conditions that must be met for the attractive nuisance doctrine to be applicable:

  • A dangerous condition must be present on the property;
  • The dangerous condition is attractive to children in that they would see it as a play area;
  • The dangerous condition is artificial (man-made)
  • The property owner must know of the dangerous condition
  • A child does not comprehend the dangerous nature of the condition;
  • The child was not warned about the dangerous condition.

If the attractive nuisance doctrine is applied, the property owner may be held liable for any injury sustained. The landowner can reduce his or her liability by taking steps to protect children from the attractive nuisance, like putting up a fence.

If you have been injured on the property of another, you might be entitled to damages for your injury. The category of visitor you are does not have to remain the same for the duration of your visit. A trespasser can become an invitee or licensee and vice versa. The personal injury attorneys at Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC are here to help you navigate your personal injury claim. Injuries can cause you more than just physical harm. Contact us today to find out if you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.

The Discovery Process During Divorce

photo of a caution sign at a businessEvery land or property owner owes a duty of care to visitors of the property to protect them from injuries, or not do anything to contribute to the potential chance of injury. The level of care depends on the type of visitor in question. In Alabama, there are three different categories visitors to land or property. Each category of visitor is owed a different level of care. The three categories of visitors to property are invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each will be looked at in turn.

Invitees

An invitee is someone who enters the property of another to engage in the business or activity of the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a person visiting a store to shop. The invitee is invited onto the property, whether that invitation is expressed or implied, to engage in an activity that relates to the property owner’s interest. A property owner must exercise reasonable care to safeguard the invited visitors to the property from harm. This includes inspecting the property for any dangerous conditions that could injure the visitors. The property owner also has the duty to warn an invitee of any known risks to the property. For example, if a store has water on the floor, causing a potential slipping hazard, the property owner needs to warn the invitee of the danger within a reasonable amount of time.  The landowner has a duty to inspect their property for potential hazards.

Licensee

A licensee is one who enters the property of another, but without the purpose of engaging in the business of the landowner. A common example of a licensee is a person visiting a friend’s home. There is less of a duty of care owed to licensees than to invitees. This is because there is no business benefit to the property owner when the licensee is on the property. The property owner generally does not have a duty to inspect the property, but is still required to not wantonly or willfully injure the visitors to their property. Similarly, the landowner cannot negligently cause the licensee additional injury and the landowner should warn of any known dangers.

Trespasser

A trespasser is someone who was not invited, whether expressly or implicitly, onto the property of another. Since a trespasser is entering property without permission of the property owner, he or she is owed the least amount of duty of care. The property owner does have the duty to not wantonly or willfully injure the trespasser. Additionally, if the property owner is aware of a trespasser to the property, he or she has a duty to warn the trespasser of any known dangers or conditions.

The Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

The three types of visitors to property discussed above are applicable to both children and adults. However, in an effort to protect children, there are other protections afforded, regardless of their visitor category. The attractive nuisance doctrine states that property owners can be held liable for injuries to children if there is an object or condition on the property that is attractive to children. This means that if there is something on the property that is irresistible to children, like a swimming pool, the property owner may have an increased duty of care than usual. However, there are conditions that must be met for the attractive nuisance doctrine to be applicable:

  • A dangerous condition must be present on the property;
  • The dangerous condition is attractive to children in that they would see it as a play area;
  • The dangerous condition is artificial (man-made)
  • The property owner must know of the dangerous condition
  • A child does not comprehend the dangerous nature of the condition;
  • The child was not warned about the dangerous condition.

If the attractive nuisance doctrine is applied, the property owner may be held liable for any injury sustained. The landowner can reduce his or her liability by taking steps to protect children from the attractive nuisance, like putting up a fence.

If you have been injured on the property of another, you might be entitled to damages for your injury. The category of visitor you are does not have to remain the same for the duration of your visit. A trespasser can become an invitee or licensee and vice versa. The personal injury attorneys at Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC are here to help you navigate your personal injury claim. Injuries can cause you more than just physical harm. Contact us today to find out if you might be eligible to receive compensation for your injuries.

Four MSN Attorneys Named B-Metro’s Top Lawyers In Birmingham

Birmingham, AL based Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC (MSN) are delighted to announce that four of their attorneys have been chosen for 2019 Top Flight Attorneys in B-Metro Magazine.

top flight attorneys photo

B-Metro, one of the area’s leading business magazines, only selects the top lawyers in the Birmingham area for inclusion in their prestigious list, which they publish annually. This year, they have recognized Anne Lamkin Durward, Stephanie Lanier Weems, Randy Nichols, and Rick Stotser.

Shea Waldrop, from Massey, Stotser & Nichols, said, "We are incredibly proud of the fact that Randy, Anne, Stephanie, and Rick have been recognized as Top Lawyers in Birmingham. Randy, Stephanie, and Anne were similarly recognized in 2018. Anne and Stephanie were also recognized in 2016’s list. It really is a great honor to see members of our team recognized annually for their hard work and dedication, which reflects directly on us, our clients, and the community."

B-Metro introduced its Top Flight Attorney list by stating, “A good lawyer is a guide through the tricky parts of life, from real estate to business disputes to criminal acts to family upheavals, helping us wade through the weightiest of matters. The lawyers noted in the following pages have been chosen because of their ability to guide clients to successful outcomes. Our survey took into account education, professional experience, and community involvement. Just what you want in a good attorney.”

Senior Partner Randy Nichols was born in Virginia, attending the University to obtain his law degree after earning his undergraduate degree from Duke University. In 1986, he moved to Alabama, and was admitted to the Alabama Bar that year. Nichols is a Certified Mediator for general civil litigation and domestic relations, as well as being a Certified Mediator, with both the Alabama Appellate Courts. Furthermore, he is a certified arbitrator with the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. He stated, "I am the proud father of two children and the grateful husband of their mother. When it comes to family law litigation, I know that every situation is unique to those caught up in having to seek legal advice or mediation to resolve their family law issues.”

James Vaught, an attorney specializing in divorce and separation, said, “Randy is an outstanding attorney with an exceptional reputation. He is a strong and zealous advocate for his clients and a credit to the legal profession. He is one of the finest family law attorneys and I highly recommend his services.”

Partner Anne Lamkin Durward is from Birmingham, and graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law after attending the Washington & Lee University in Lexington, VA. Anne was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1995. She helped establish the Birmingham Bar Foundation Fellows Program and continues to be very active in numerous bar organizations. She also coaches the National Moot Court Team with Cumberland School of Law. She is on the Board of Governors for the International Academy of Family Lawyers and is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Kit, a satisfied client of Durward’s, said, “Excellent divorce attorney. I was referred to Anne and could not have been happier. She is very knowledgeable, and she walked me through each step of my divorce while allowing me to go at my own speed. She gave great advice and helped me hold my ground on the important things. She was amazing in the courtroom and worked well with the opposing counsel to bring us to resolution before returning to court. She is well known and respected in the Birmingham family law community.”

Both Nichols and Durward were also included in the 25th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for their expertise in Family law in 2018. The award is a clear recognition of the hard work of the entire team at Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC.

Senior Partner Rick Stotser, the son of a United States Army General, was born in Augsburg, Germany, and graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law after attending Auburn University. Stotser was admitted to both the Alabama and Tennessee Bars in 1986 and has helped many clients with their business decisions—as well as personal planning.

President of Prestige Alarm and Specialty Products, Inc. Eddie Harden said, “Over 20 years ago, Massey and Stotser created my corporation documents, putting me on the road to starting what became one of the largest security businesses in the State. Tim Massey and Rick Stotser were my Attorneys then and, today—over 20 years later, provide me excellent legal services. Rick Stotser is more than an attorney that provides legal services. He is also an incredible business mind that I can bounce business ideas off of, and he offers a perspective that helps in making the best decision. I strongly recommend that you use Massey, Stotser and Nichols, PC for any business-related legal work you require.”

Partner Stephanie Weems, who was also recognized as one of the Top Flight Attorneys, graduated Magna Cum Laude from both the University of Alabama and the Birmingham School of Law. She was admitted to the Alabama Bar in 1998. Her main practice is in the area of family law, fire district and housing authority representation as well as collections.

Nettie Taylor Goodwin said, “Very knowledgeable and helpful. Attorney Stephanie Weems always responded when I contacted her, which was refreshing. Elizabeth Gowens was outstanding in her job performance. I would recommend them to anyone. Glad I had the opportunity to meet and work with this law firm.”

Massey, Stotser & Nichols, PC is a full service law firm in Birmingham, Alabama that has been serving clients for nearly 40 years throughout the area. Those who require strong legal representation may wish to contact the firm via its website or through its social media platforms.