The most common cause of serious personal injuries in the U.S.—injuries that require medical care—is auto accidents. A large portion of our firm’s work, to be sure, revolves around helping victims of car wrecks get justice. Premises liability cases—slip and falls, trip and falls, or general step and falls, to give three examples—are also quite common in the personal injury world.
What Does “Premises Liability” Mean?
Premises liability is basically a fancy way of referring to an injury or wrongful death that occurs on someone else’s property due to one or more unsafe conditions on that property. Broadly speaking, the owner or manager of the property has the responsibility to keep it safe for people who are allowed to be there. The specific level of care owed by the property owner or manager varies slightly, though, depending on a few important factors.
The highest level of care is owed to invitees. Invitees are individuals who have permission to be on the property and can give the property owner or manager some kind of commercial benefit. If you’re shopping at a store, you are probably an invitee. If you are an invitee and get hurt while on the property, you have to prove three things to recover damages:
- You were injured due to a dangerous condition on the premises.
- The property owner or manager knew or should have known about the dangerous condition. To determine whether the possessor of the property should have known about the dangerous condition, the court looks at the length of time the condition was present, among other factors.
- The property owner or manager did not take reasonable care to “remove, remedy, or warn of the danger.”
Licensees are those who have permission to be on a property but are not expected to deliver any benefits to the possessor of the property. Perhaps the most common example is someone who is at another person’s house or apartment for a social engagement. Generally speaking, licensees have a more difficult time recovering damages after a serious injury than invitees do.
Licensees are like invitees in that they must prove that they were injured as a result of a dangerous condition on the premises. Additionally, though, licensees must show that the possessor of the property had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition AND knew that licensees were either unaware of the condition or unlikely to find out about the condition.
Of course, there are exceptions to premises liability rules. A detailed and thorough analysis of your or your loved one’s injury is needed to determine the status of the injured party at the time of the incident.
Ryan R. Cox & Associates is well-versed in the nuances of Missouri premises liability. We have helped countless clients get the compensation they deserve, and we would be honored to do the same for you and your family. Call us at (636) 946-6886 today to set up an initial consultation.