Premises Liability Accidents
Missouri property owners and renters must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition under Missouri law. Allowing a piece of land, building, home, business, store, office building, government building or recreation center to fall into a state of disrepair can lead to serious injury or death. Failure to prevent such disrepair or to warn visitors of the dangerous conditions results in the property owner being liable for visitors injuries.
Premises liability cases, or slip and fall accidents, are cases that require immediate action by the injured party. Very often the premises will have a video surveillance system that has captured the dangerous condition and fall. Under Missouri law, unless a proper demand is placed upon the property owner to refrain from destroying or taping over the footage, evidence may be forever lost. A clear cut premises liability claim can turn into a battle of he said, she said, if all evidence is not properly protected from destruction.
If a proper demand is placed upon a property owner to save all evidence related to the fall, any later loss or destruction of the evidence will be held against the property owner. Make sure to consult with a premises liability lawyer to ensure your case is immediately handled pursuant to the requirements of Missouri law.
Common Causes of Premises Liability Claims
Some of the most common Missouri premises liability lawsuits arise from injuries related to:
- Slip and fall on a sidewalk: Ice presents an extremely common slip hazard. Poorly maintained sidewalks with broken or cracked concrete are responsible for numerous falls. Tools, debris and other items left lying on a sidewalk increase the risk of a fall related injury.
- Slip and fall on a driveway: Oil, gas and other chemicals may contribute to a slippery surface. Snow or ice that has accumulated or only been partially removed is also a common slip-and-fall hazard.
- Slip and fall on a staircase: Frayed carpeting, loose treads, clutter and moisture are often the cause of falls on stairs.
- Slip and fall on a parking lot: A dimly lit or poorly maintained parking lot may be the site of slips, trips and falls. In addition, parking lots often accumulate oil and other slippery motor vehicle fluids.
- Falls in store aisles: Items that have fallen on floors, spills that have not been cleaned up and ladders or other stocking equipment left in aisles have contributed to customers slips and falls.
- Falling construction debris: Construction sites are often littered with dangerous conditions as a result of companies trying to cut corners when it comes to necessary safety procedures, producing numerous injuries and workers compensation cases.
- Amusement parks: Dangerous rides and poor safety procedures often result in numerous amusement park accidents.
- Swimming pools and ponds: Unfenced swimming polls present an attractive nuisance for children, often resulting in unthinkable injuries and loss of life.
- Open trenches: Open trenches take numerous forms. Left unguarded, they invite injuries from workers and pedestrians alike. The failure of a property owner to fill, barricade or warn visitors of open holes creates a dangerous condition and results in liability.
- Trampolines: A fun activity can be deadly if safety is not the number one concern.
- Dog bites: Dogs are often the property’s dangerous conditions. Dog bites are an all too common injury in Missouri.
- Failure to provide adequate security: Property owners often overlook the need for adequate security. Failure to install adequate security devices such as locks, alarms, surveillance, or hire the appropriate security personnel, is often the cause of needless injury.
Proving Your Premises Injury Case
The duty, or level of care, that a property owner or possessor owes to another often depends on whether the injured party was an invitee, licensee or trespasser.
Invitee – According to premises liability law, an invitee is someone, such as a customer, who is invited onto the property. The bottom line is that if a store or workplace is willing to invite in the public with the goal of making money, they better be prepared to maintain a safe environment for everyone.
Licensee – A social guest is considered a licensee for premises liability purposes.
Trespasser – Premises liability law considers a person who enters a property without permission a trespasser.
Generally speaking, invitees and licensees are owed a duty of reasonable care for the safety of their visit. Although less is owed to a trespasser, a landowner or renter may still be liable for injuries to a trespasser if a reasonable duty to warn of a danger existed. If a trespassing child is hurt, premises liability may exist if the property’s condition was such that it could be expected to attract children. A swimming pool is an example of a so-called attractive nuisance.
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) of the United States Department of Labor regulates numerous aspects of workplace and public environments. In addition, the Americans with Disabilities Act also sets for regulations designed to provide equal and safe access to public places for all individuals. OSHA and ADA violations are often used in tort cases to prove negligence.
What to do after a slip-and-fall accident?
If you have been hurt as a result of a slip or fall, you should immediately seek medical attention for your injuries.
Next, if possible, try to obtain a picture of the spot where you fell. This will help document the condition of the floor and the hazards that existed at the time of the accident.
You should also write down the names and contact information of the property owner, any witnesses, and request to make a report of the fall with the owner.
As soon as possible after the fall, you should contact a slip-and-fall accident lawyer. Lawsuits involving slips and falls often pit one person’s word against another’s, the sooner a lawyer can help gather evidence that will prove your case and make sure all video footage is protected, the better the chances are of making a persuasive claim.
Does premises liability law cover medical and other expenses?
In Missouri, a premises liability lawsuit may request damages to cover past medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and current and future disability. In addition, punitive damages may be available depending on the level of carelessness of the property owner.
Have you Been Injured on Someone’s Property?
It is important to remember that the time in which a premises liability lawsuit may be filed is limited. If the claim is being made against a government agency, notice must typically be given in writing to the entity shortly after the incident. More importantly, evidence needs to be protected. If you suspect that you have a premises liability claim, it is important to promptly speak to an experienced attorney who can help you apply the statute of limitations to your case.
Contact premises liability lawyer Chris Dixon for a FREE consultation. Chris has been named a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has recovered millions of dollars for injury victims. For immediate assistance, 24/7, call 314-409-7060 or 855-402-7274 (toll free). We are here to serve.