Property owners are responsible for the upkeep and safety of the structures on their property. When another person is injured on their property from their negligence, their injury could fall under premises liability. Taking legal action against a property owner you do or do not know can seem like a daunting task, but you deserve justice for your injuries. A St. Louis premises liability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices will guide you through the process of a legal claim so that you can feel confident about holding the liable party accountable for their negligent actions.
What Falls Under Premises Liability?
When a property owner or possessor fails to maintain safe conditions, then visitors could be injured. Under premises liability, the injured person could file a claim against the property owner because they are responsible for the person’s injury. A property owner should be aware of anywhere on their premises that don’t meet the standards, and how a person could be injured by those faults. If they are aware and still don’t make any efforts to fix the problem on their property, then they are liable for that visitor’s injury.
It’s important to know who is liable for your injury because you don’t want to risk blaming the wrong person. While the property owner may be the correct person to hold accountable, they could also be the wrong person. If a different person possesses the property, they could be the party who is actually responsible for its upkeep. For example, if you were injured on the premises of a business who rents their space from a property owner, the business owners would be the possessors of the property, and therefore would be liable for your injury, not the property owner.
You might be wondering if your injury was caused by the property possessor’s negligence, so here are some of the situations where your injury could fall under premises liability:
- Uneven sidewalks or floors
- Dilapidated stairs
- Poor lighting
- Wet floors
- Broken elevators
- Exposed electrical
- Dog bites
- Lack of security
You might not recognize the cause of your injury on this list, or your injury could be listed but far more complicated. These aren’t the only scenarios that fall under premises liability. If you believe your injury was the direct result of a property owner’s negligence even though it’s not listed here, then you could still have a premises liability claim.
Missouri Premises Liability Laws
To better understand your premises liability claim, it can be helpful to know the premises liability laws in our state. According to Missouri premises liability law, the first aspect that your case hinges on is what kind of visitor you were on the property. Depending on your visitor status, the property possessor may or may not be liable for your injuries. If you were an invitee or licensee, then you may have a personal injury claim on your hands. If you were a trespasser, though, then you probably don’t have a case.
As an invitee, the property owner or possessor is responsible for injuries that occur on their property. When the property owner gives an open invitation to visitors, whether for the public or for business, the visitors are considered invitees because they were invited to the premises. Invitees get the highest protection when dealing with a premises liability claim. Examples of invitees are park-goers or restaurant-goers. The property owner owes invitees the reasonable duty of care.
A licensee is similar to an invitee but is offered fewer protections in a premises liability case. Licensees enter the property usually for their own benefit, like visiting a friend or using the bathroom at a store without intent to buy anything. While the property owner is still liable for their injury if it was caused by a hazard that they were aware of and did not make the visitor aware of, licensees are not owed the same duty of care as an invitee.
Contrary to invitees and licensees, trespassers are not owed a level of care from a property owner because they are not supposed to be on the property. If a trespasser is injured on the premises, they likely will not be able to recover any damages from the property owner or possessor. There are exceptions for children and if the property owner sets traps that could harm trespassers.
Your premises liability claim in Missouri also requires other aspects to be proven on top of which kind of visitor you were. According to state law, there are four aspects of liability that must be present in order to solidify your case. Those aspects are:
- The property owner was in possession of the property that the accident causing your injury occurred on.
- You were an invitee or licensee on the property.
- The property owner acted wrongfully or negligently by knowing about the unsafe part of their property.
- That wrongful or negligent act directly caused your injury.
A premises liability claim might feel too complicated to tackle, but that’s why you shouldn’t try to handle it on your own. A St. Louis premises liability lawyer from Thomas Law Offices knows this task seems daunting, but we’re here to support and guide you through the process so that you can feel confident in your claim. You can feel comfortable coming to us with any questions or concerns you have along the way.
Proud to Serve the People of St. Louis, Missouri
When you’ve been injured on someone else’s property and it was caused by a hazard that they were aware of and didn’t fix, you can file a premises liability claim against them. Since they could have prevented your injury by fixing the hazard or making you aware of the hazard, you shouldn’t have to worry about your medical bills and other costs associated with your injury. Even worse, if your injury caused you to miss work or lose wages, then you could recover damages for those losses as well. Our experienced personal injury attorney at our office in St. Louis can answer all of your questions about your legal situation and help you decide if a premises liability claim is the right option for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.