Kansas City Slip and Falls
Have you been injured on someone else's property? Was the area unsafe because of improper maintenance by the owner or property manager? Most premises liability cases are referred to as slip and fall cases, but there are other types of premises liability actions as well.
When a property owner is to blame for your serious injuries, it is vital that you talk to a premises liability lawyer about your rights as soon as possible. These are difficult cases to win, and they require an experienced investigator to gather the evidence you will need to support your claim of negligence.
Kansas City Premises Liability Claims
An injury may occur when a property owner has failed to maintain the premises and the conditions have become unsafe. Conditions such as missing pavement, inadequate maintenance, cracked or uneven sidewalks, and poorly maintained landscapes can all create hazardous situations. In addition to hazards leading to falls, premises liability claims may also include:
- Defective conditions
- Snow and ice
- Water leaks or floods
- Swimming pool accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Inadequate security that leads to injury or assault
- Toxic chemicals and fumes
- Poor construction
- Faulty electrical wiring
When the property owner's negligence leads to these kinds of hazardous conditions and visitors to their property are injured or killed, the owner can be held accountable.
Kansas & Missouri Premises Liability Claims
Liability stems from the fact that property owners owe guests and visitors a duty of care. One of the initial questions your lawyer will want to determine is what kind of duty of care was owed to the potential plaintiff. The duty of care a defendant owes depends on your status while you were on the land of another. For instance, were you trespassing on the land? Were you invited onto the land by the owner? Were you a licensee?
Most of the time, someone is an invitee onto the land of another. You would be an invitee if you entered with consent and to the benefit of the owner of the premises. For example, you would be an invitee if you went to a grocery store to make a purchase. Invitees are often called business visitors. A licensee is one who enters with the consent of the owner or occupier but for the licensees' own purposes.
To establish liability for injuries suffered, an invitee must show:
- A dangerous condition existed on the premises such that the premises were not reasonably safe;
- The possessor of the premises knew, or, through the use of ordinary care, should have known of the condition;
- The possessor failed to use ordinary care to remove, remedy, or warn of the danger; and
- As a result, the plaintiff was injured.
Actions by licensees must show that:
- A dangerous condition existed on the premises;
- The possessor of the premises had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition;
- The plaintiff lacked knowledge of the condition and could not have discovered it in the exercise of ordinary care;
- The possessor knew, or in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known that the plaintiff was unaware of the condition and could not discover it; and
- The defendant failed to use ordinary care to remove, remedy, or warn of the condition.
The burden of proving all of the elements of a premises liability claim falls on the injured party, who should not attempt to file a claim without the help of an experienced legal team. The sooner you have someone gathering evidence of negligence, the more likely it is that your case will succeed.
Who Can File a Premise Liability Claim?
By statute, a possessor of real property generally owes no duty of care to a trespasser except to refrain from harming the trespasser by an intentional, willful, or wanton act. There are exceptions to this rule, however.
For instance, an owner may still be liable if they knew that trespassers continually came on the limited area of the land where the trespasser was harmed, the harm resulted from a dangerous artificial condition on the land, and the owner created the artificial condition that caused the harm. The owner must have known it was likely to occur, that the trespasser would not likely discover it, and failed to exercise reasonable care to warn trespassers of the condition. An invitee or licensee can become a trespasser by exceeding the scope of the invitation or license.
Another exception involves children. Children cannot be considered trespassers when there is an "attractive nuisance" on the property. If a child enters a property uninvited because there is a swimming pool, trampoline, mounds of dirt, construction equipment, or anything else that might be appealing to a child, the owner can be held liable if the child is injured or killed on the property. It is a property owner's duty to do everything they can to keep children from being able to access the attractive nuisance, such as installing fencing and alarms or removing the nuisance completely.
Types of Evidence Needed to Win a Claim
In order to win a premises liability claim, the plaintiff will have to provide evidence that proves each of the elements explained above. In other words, you will have to prove that a hazard existed, the owner knew or should have known about it, the owner did nothing to remedy the problem, and you suffered injuries as a result. Helpful evidence could include:
- Photos and videos. If the store or restaurant had security cameras installed, the video footage could provide the best evidence—especially if the cameras captured the accident and documented employees ignoring the hazard. Cell phone photos taken immediately after the accident could also be helpful.
- Eyewitness statements. If others saw your accident, your lawyer will want to locate them to get their statements about what happened. Perhaps someone else in the store also slipped or tripped in the same place or even reported the hazard to management before your accident.
- Interviews with employees. Employees could be the best source of evidence to prove that the owner or manager knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to remove it. They could also comment on the policies and procedures related to custodial and maintenance issues.
- Medical records. It is important that you see a doctor right away after an injury on someone else's property. This will help connect your injuries to the accident and will also document the extent of your injuries as evidence for damages.
- Inspection records. Schedules of employee inspections and external safety inspections can be checked for problems and inconsistencies. This can provide evidence of company negligence.
Our experienced team of litigators will thoroughly investigate the incident that left you injured and help you get the compensation you deserve. Whether you were injured in a slip or trip and fall, assaulted in a dark parking lot, hurt in a preventable fire, or harmed by toxic fumes, we can help you hold the property owner liable. If a loved one lost their life due to a property owner's negligence, we will help you file a wrongful death claim.
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Contact Kansas City Slip and Fall Lawyers Michael Foster and Brian Wallace
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident in Kansas or Missouri, you need to speak with an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816.249.2101 to schedule your free consultation. If you're not ready to talk, but still want to learn more about your rights, allow us to mail you a complimentary copy of Anatomy of a Personal Injury Claim: A Guide to the Legal Process in Kansas and Missouri.