Premises Liability/Slip And Falls

Providing Our Clients with Effective Legal Representation for Slip & Fall Cases

Premises liability actions involve those situations where someone is injured due to improperly maintained, defective, or dangerous property. Outside of automobile accidents, actions based upon the condition of property are the most common Missouri tort actions.

Improperly maintained or defective property can cause several kinds of fall accidents:

  • There is the “slip and fall,” where an injured person’s shoe and the floor fail to interface properly, resulting in a fall.
  • Then there is the “trip and fall” accident, where a person specifically trips on an object or defect on property.
  • Finally, there is the “step and fall” where a person steps into something, such as a hole in the ground, and is injured.

The nature of such claims can vary based not only on the kind of injury that you have sustained, but whether the injury takes place on private, public, or commercial property. Furthermore, your classification also plays a role. In Missouri you can be classified in three main ways: as an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.

INVITEE

A business patron is typically classified as an invitee. For example, if you go to Wal-Mart to buy a pair of shoes and you are hurt on their premises, you are classified as a business invitee. To recover in Missouri, you must prove that:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the premises
  • The possessor or owner of the premises knew, or, through the use of ordinary care, should have known of the condition
  • The possessor or owner failed to use ordinary care to remove, remedy, or warn of the danger
  • As a result of all of these elements, you were injured

LICENSEE

A social guest is typically classified as a licensee. For example, if you are invited to a friend’s house for a social gathering you are referred to as a licensee. To recover in Missouri for any injuries you sustain as a licensee you must prove that:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the premises
  • The possessor or owner of the premises had actual knowledge of the dangerous condition
  • You lacked knowledge of the condition and could not have discovered it in the exercise of ordinary care
  • The possessor or owner knew or in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known that you were unaware of the condition and could not discover it
  • The possessor or owner failed to use ordinary care to remove, remedy, or warn of the condition

TRESPASSER

If you are injured on property and you have not been invited on the property, you can be classified as a trespasser. The general rule in Missouri is that the owner of the property on which you are injured is not liable for harm caused by the owner’s failure to put his property in a reasonably safe condition. However, if you can prove that:

  • A dangerous condition existed on the premises
  • The owner of the premises had actual knowledge of the condition
  • The owner had actual knowledge of the presence of the trespasser, or of the applicability of some other exception to the general rule, you may be entitled to damages under Missouri law

Children who are injured on another’s property can also recover under the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” This exception requires that the injured child prove that the owner or possessor of the property knew, or had reason to know, that children were likely to trespass on his property.

 

Missouri Premises Liability Q&A