In the state of Missouri, property owners can be held legally responsible for serious injuries resulting from negligent maintenance as well as a failure to warn visitors about hazardous conditions on their property. Property owners are required to keep their property up to certain safety standards which are dictated by building and property codes. When these codes aren’t met and an injury occurs, the victim can file a lawsuit against the owner with help from a Columbia, MO premises liability lawyer.
The term “premises liability” essentially refers to the fact that any property owner is held fully liable for properly maintaining their property and keeping it safe. Failure to keep the property or premises safe means they might be held financially responsible for any injuries or accidents that occur—including the costs of medical treatment, recovery treatment, and any lost wages/emotional suffering, etc.
Types of Hazardous Conditions
There’s a wide range of possible hazards and dangerous conditions that could cause a premises owner to be held liable for an accident on their property. Some of the most common unsafe conditions and hazards include loose pavement, lighting issues, overgrown tree branches, broken steps, loose rugs and flooring, elevator malfunctions, cluttered walkways, unfinished construction sites, dangerous spills and leaks that could cause a fall, and the existence of dangerous chemicals on the premises.
When a property owner notices any of the above conditions, they have a legal obligation to fix or clean up the hazard before allowing anyone to enter the area. If a fix cannot be made within a reasonable amount of time, adequate signs or a way to block off the dangerous area must be in place. Adequate lighting must also be in place to ensure the hazard is visible even in poor lighting conditions.
Many of these hazards can result in what’s commonly referred to as a “slip and fall” accident. A slip and fall accident is what happens when someone trips, stumbles, or slips on uneven ground or a hazard and seriously injures themselves on someone else’s property. Slip and fall lawsuits are one of the most common types of premises liability cases.
Thinking in Reasonable Terms
It’s important to note that both slip and fall accident and premises liability lawsuits can be incredibly complex. The term “reasonable” will come up quite often when a case is taken to litigation due to the fact that property owners can’t be expected to fix every property hazard immediately. Property owners are given a “reasonable” amount of time to apply fixes, place warning signs or blockades, or apply other preventive measures such as installing a drainage grate instead of repairing an entire roof right away.
The judge or jury will also look at other aspects of the accident scene. Was the victim given a reasonable amount of time to notice the posted signs before approaching the hazardous area? Is the lighting in the area adequate? Did the victim have a legitimate reason for being there? Is it possible that the victim was distracted while walking? In the end, it will be up to the court to decide what’s reasonable to expect of that specific property owner and that specific victim. Every case will vary for this reason, and every decision will be made using every available piece of evidence and witness testimony.
A Columbia, MO Premises Liability Lawyer You Can Trust
Due to the complicated nature of premises liability and slip and fall accident lawsuits, if you feel you have a possible case on your hands, it’s in your best interest to speak to a personal injury lawyer you can trust as soon as possible after the accident occurs. The sooner evidence can be properly gathered, the better your case’s chance of success will be.
An experienced Columbia, MO premises liability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will do everything they can to help you and your loved ones receive the financial compensation you need and deserve to get back on your feet again. Contact our offices to learn more or receive a 100% free consultation.