>> Tiffany Bittner: Hello, welcome to LawCall. . Here’s what we have coming up on the show. In our caller segment, we talk about buying and selling property. What do you need to know before you invest in a piece of land or house or building? We take all of your questions tonight. 855 law, 1955. Not everyone is ready to sue after they have been injured, especially if it’s work, school, maybe they know the person who hurt them. May see lawyers and greedy clients are ready to sue over everything. We’ll talk about lawsuits and how they make it to court. First we have personal injury attorney ken riley to look at questions. Ed writes in saying, my daughter was skiing over spring break, fell on a slope and broke her arm. Any chance the resort is going to help us with the medical bills? What do you think, Ken?
>> Ken Riley: Probably not. Anytime you deal with something like a ski resort or anything like that, amusement park you are going to sign a waiver. Your daughter would have signed a waiver when she purchased her ticket. Now, if it’s a situation where the resort or slope operator did something negligent. In other words, if they left a piece of hidden equipment out there and your daughter hit the equipment and she was injured, then you may have grounds for the claim or for the medical expenses. If she just fell going down the slope, there’s probably not much you can do. You have to file that on health insurance.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Good information. For more help go to delivering justice.com. In tonight’s side bar, Kirby talks about who injury lawsuits actually hurt.
>> Ken Riley: After an accident some people feel uncomfortable pursuing a lawsuit against another person. If another person is at fault for your injuries, you are entitled to care. Long term care may be choired. Also, but bringing a claim, you may be able to prevent a similar injury from happening to someone else. Most injury claims are defended by insurance company lawyers and paid by the insurance company so the person you sue likely will not pay out of their pocket. The defendant will not go to jail because of your pain, but you may suffer for pain you deserve to be compensated for. Farris, Riley and Pitt in Birmingham.
>> Tiffany Bittner: We hope you are part of the show tonight. We hope you will pick up the phone and call us. It’s that time of year where things are on the market. We have Farris, Riley and Pitt here to answer your questions. He brought on a great guest as well.
>> Right, he’s with the law firm of Rushton Stakely. He’s opened up Birmingham office, a well-established well respected firm out of Montgomery. You are heading that up. You are going talk about property. All aspects of property, commercial, real estate, whatever it is, you have been doing this a number of years. That’s correct.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Can you tell us what you do?
>> Our firm has been around about 100 years based in Montgomery. In October we opened the Birmingham office. I deal with real estate. We deal with trusts and estates covering the gauntlet of legal issues that arise.
>> Tiffany Bittner: When did you open in Birmingham?
>> October 2015.
>> Tiffany Bittner: We have folks that want to talk to you. We have Danny in Ashland tonight.
>> Caller (Danny): I have a quick question. On a driveway between two other pieces of property, how wide by state law can your driveway be?
>> The easement, I think what you are talking about as far as the driveway is concerned, is an easement granted for the particular driveway. There is knowing in particular talking about how wide it needs to be. I would look at the underlying title document that created the easement upon which the driveway is situated is probably what you are dealing with.
>> Tiffany Bittner: If he doesn’t have the document, how does he find it?
>> You can get a title search done. There are public records you can track down. If one doesn’t exist, I’m not aware of anything required as far as the width of a dip to get to the house.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Lucy, welcome to LawCall.
>> Caller (Lucy): You ready?
>> We are.
>> Caller (Lucy): My husband and I acquired a piece of property through a tax lien and now we have a tax deed on the property. We paid this seven or eight years. How long do you have to pay this tax before you can make claim to getting a real deed on the property?
>> That’s a great question. That’s coming up now with tax sales occurring in the counties. After the tax sale occurs, you can get a tax deed after a three year time period. Then from there, there is no other action that needs to be taken. You would have taken possession of the possession of the property and established possession. It’s hard to get good title until you file a title action with the court to require notice, and other things you have to prove to the title officially.
>> Tiffany Bittner: On that note, we need to take our first break. We would love for you to be part of it. Call us if you have a question. We’ll be right back. From the Birmingham law firm of Farris, Riley & Pitt, Kirby Farris is known for his courtroom skills. Ken Riley, practical, professional. Recognized as one of Birmingham’s top attorneys. Legal insight from Bob Prince, Prince Glover and Hayes. Your rights, your calls ‑‑ live. ¶ ¶ ¶
>> Bob Prince: Some may question unnecessary lawsuits. The bar association stops lawyers from filing frivolous lawsuits. The judge can throw the case out and many times they do. Lawyers work on a contingency basis. They gamble time and money on depositions, expert witnesses ‑‑ it can be thousands of dollars. That’s the reason because of costs, lawyers don’t file frivolous lawsuits. Put it all together and you find they are rarely filed if ever. There are many safeguards in place to prevent abuse. I’m Tuscaloosa attorney Bob Prince. Back to you.
>> We are taking your calls about real estate, buying or selling. We have several folks lined up that want to talk to us. Let’s go to Tommy in Graysville.
>> Caller (Tommy): How you doing?
>> Bob Prince: Hey there. What’s going on?
>> Caller (Tommy): I found out people had property for sale and I looked at it and I saw the paper work. I went to the courthouse tax assessor and made sure the property tax was paid up like their paper work showed. Then I got overhead satellite view of the property so it matched the location I seen. Now I have a lawyer to get a title search done. He handles the paper work with everybody involved. Is that the safe way to do it, or do I need to do something different?
>> Bob Prince: It sounds from the facts like you are doing what you need to do. I didn’t hear you say a new survey was done on the property. A lot of times we recommend that if it’s a raw piece of land to confirm the title work and deeds have the correct descriptions and match up with if task parcels and historical title. If that hadn’t been done, that may be one recommendation. They may be able to tell you if there are discrepancies there. What you were saying sounded like you were on the right track.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s hear from Joe in hoover next. Hey, Joe.
>> Caller (Joe): Thanks for taking my call. We purchased a house recently. Our property line has an easement and the neighbor behind us has a fence. We want to have a fence. The easy thing is to just join the fence. What is the sequences of putting the fence over the easement?
>> I would check the easement documents. It depends on the type of easement, a utility easement is not uncommon to run sewer, utilities, power. There is a right to remove the surface improvements that you have put on the property, fences and things of that nature. One risk, there is case law between the property line and fence could be inappropriately assessed. Be careful not using the fence for the property line.
>> Tiffany Bittner: What if his neighbor ‑‑ they wanted to build a common fence? What is the best way for someone like this caller to take care of something like that?
>> That’s a great question. You can basically form any kind of agreement you want to between yourselves as it relates to the fence. Who will improve the fence, who will maintain the fence? Are you seeking reimbursement if something happens to the fence, a tree falls on it. Consider every factor when the fence is built and if it’s built inside the property line, be sure it’s clear so there’s per missive use, no adverse claims down the road.
>> You have to consider what happens when somebody sells their house.
>> I would say whatever document is drawn up it’s recorded on record so they can’t sell the property without notice of how the fence is supposed to be treated.
>> Tiffany Bittner: A lot to take in there. Grenda is in next from center point. Hey there.
>> Caller (Grenda): How are you?
>> We are great.
>> Caller (Grenda): That’s good.
>> Tiffany Bittner: All right, what’s your question tonight?
>> Caller (Grenda): Okay, my question was, we bought this house five years ago. The people that used to live next door, they had a boat on the property. They said it’s their property because the gentleman that lived here had an extra property put on. They built the house next door. When they moved here they said their property line was square. When we got here, we already had that extra driveway that goes out. They said it was just theirs.
>> So bottom line, property dispute about where the property lies, I guess. How do you figure out what is the true property line?
>> I think this comes up a lot. People years ago built driveways, did certain improvements and nobody got a sur say of where the property lines are. One way is to check the chain of title and have a surveyor state the lines to identify the property lines based on the deed. The surveyor and title search are the ways you definitively determine where the property lines are and if the drive way is over the line.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Is that something the caller has to pay for? And how much?
>> What is the ballpark on something like that? She needs to figure out, is the driveway her driveway or not? How much would that be?
>> A title search generally runs, depending on the complexity, you are looking at $250 to have the title company do the search. The surveyor is across the board. I think you are $600 for a boundary survey to give you the cost occurred to figure out what your legal rights are.
>> It’s not something the county will figure out for you.
>> You are on your own.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Let’s take a break. When we come back, we’ll have more questions about buying and selling property. Here’s what our calendar looks like, April 17, bankruptcy and April 24th, ask us anything. We hope you will join us and participate many the shows coming up. If you would like to get in touch with the attorneys we have seen on the show, get in touch with us. You can check out his website. If you need to talk to bob in Tuscaloosa, call him. Ken riley is here from the office of Farris, Riley & Pitt. Ken, take a few moments if you will, share with our viewers. Maybe you have a first time person with us not familiar with LawCall. Tell them about your law firm?
>> We handle lawful death cases. We handle a full gamut of personal injury, car accidents, nursing home claims, medical device cases, dangerous drugs, anything along those lines, we help the person injured take the first step and make their claim.
>> Tiffany Bittner: All right we appreciate you calling tonight. We are back to our topic, buying and selling property. We have Lee in Birmingham calling us.
>> Caller (Lee): How are you?
>> Hey, there.
>> Caller (Lee): My question is, I’m in the process of moving, downsize. What is my first step? What is my next step? I’m trying to downsize, move to a project somewhere.
>> Okay. I think the first step is to list your property for sale, your existing house. In order to do that, I would recommend finding a realtor you know and what you are comfortable with, then getting the property listed. Before you buy another house to downsize, that you sell your existing house if you want to make sure you are not sitting on two houses at the same time. The realtor you select will do a good job helping you find contracts and things to make sure you are marketing your house properly to get it sold.
>> Tiffany Bittner: Thank you for your call. We have Anita next in center point. Hey, Anita.
>> Caller (Anita): Hey.
>> Hey there.
>> Caller (Anita): My father passed away and my mom’s living will. I’m the only child she has and he has nine siblings. I want to know what my options are for selling or helping her to sell. She wants to do a quick sale to get out of the property. How do we do that?
>> I want to understand the facts, it’s a commercial piece of property out of state. It was a father and a wife and the wife passes away and the wife wants to divest of the property. The property is out of state. It will be subject to the laws of the state unless it goes into the estate of the father. Does he have a will? If he does and the will may determine how the property is to be divested. Sometimes you see property conveyed to husband and wife with joint tenant ship, survivorship. In that case the mother may already own the property. I would check to see how it is vested and that tells you the next step. Because it’s out of state, that makes it more difficult, I guess.
>> Caller (Anita): does she need to find an attorney here or in the state where the property is located?
>> You can start here, I think. You have to deal with the estate issues of the father as well. It sounds like something with the siblings involved, you have a lot of personalities in trying to figure out what the next step is and who will be conveyed the property.
>> Caller (Anita): Say she calls someone in Alabama. You are well equipped to help her navigate the waters.
>> It may require going to the other state to get local council for opinion.
>> Good deal.
>> Let’s hear from Rodney up next. Are you there?
>> Caller (Rodney): I’m here.
>> How are you doing, I should say?
>> Caller (Rodney): Ma’am?
>> How are you doing?
>> Caller (Rodney): I’m doing all right. I have a question for one of the lawyers. Years ago the property I’m on, I live on Leesburg Lake, Rye’s lake. The man that sold the property and split the property up, he ‑‑ what he done, he moved the fence six foot over to give us the right of way to our dog at the lake. There is a pole. The pole used to be on the outside of the fence so when he moved his fence back into his property.
>> Tiffany Bittner: I apologize. We have less than 30 seconds left. If you call the office tomorrow, he will be more than happy to help answer your question. We tried to squeeze you in, but we are out of time. Thank you all for joining us for LawCall. We’ll see you next Sunday night, right here at 10:30.