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.
Slip and fall injuries may occur when a property owner has failed to maintain the premises and the conditions have become unsafe. Conditions such as missing pavement, cracked or uneven sidewalks, and poorly maintained landscapes can all create hazardous situations.
Common premises liability cases may 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
- Falls because of inadequate maintenance
- Poor construction
- Faulty electrical wiring
Degrees of Care in a Premises Liability Claim
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 on to the land by the owner? 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.
What About Trespassers?
Regarding trespassers, 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. For instance, an owner may still be liable if he or she knew that trespassers continually came on the limited area of the land where the trespasser was harmed, and the harm resulted from a dangerous artificial condition on the land, and the owner created the artificial condition that caused the harm, knew it was likely to occur, that 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.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit?
Actions based on premises liability are governed by the five-year statute of limitations applicable to negligence claims in Missouri. In Kansas, however, you only have two years to file a lawsuit. If you think someone else may be responsible for your injury, please fill out the contact form on this page or call our office today to set up your free initial consultation.