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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Powell

How to File a Lawsuit for Premises Liability in Missouri

Personal injury law is a pretty far-reaching discipline, and one of the lesser covered elements happens to be premises liability. Property owners are meant to be responsible for their real estate holdings, which means that when there is negligence or other wrongdoing that causes an injury, the liability rests with them.


How Does Premises Liability Work?

How Does Premises Liability Work?


Premises liability allows people who become injured to recover compensation when the property owner of the injury site has demonstrated some kind of wrongful behavior that may include but is not limited to negligence.


In Missouri, this responsibility extends to other classes of persons who may have control over the land without necessarily owning it.


Effectively, if someone enters a property and gets hurt because of a lack of reasonable care, the victim should not have to bear the responsibility.


What Are the Elements of a Premises Liability Claim?


Where a property owner fails to ensure the safety of the land and building, an injured party may be entitled to compensation via a premises liability lawsuit. However, this requires that four key elements be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt:


  1. There was some kind of dangerous condition present on the property.

  2. The property owner was aware of the hazardous conditions or should have known about them if reasonable care had been taken. In other words, a property inspection should have happened, with any dangers being noted.

  3. No reasonable steps were taken to address the matter when the property owner knew (or should've known) about it. Additionally, there was nothing done to ensure that visitors were aware that a hazard was present. While repair is the best solution, signage or other similar measures to reduce injury risk are also acceptable.

  4. The hazard that was not handled by the negligent property owner has directly led to the injury that the victim now faces, which means that damages were suffered.


Note that Missouri allows victims to file a claim against the responsible party for up to five years after the injury date. Do not wait to get the ball rolling, as it could mean permanently losing the ability to get the settlement that is deserved. Powell Law Firm is also available for questions about how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Missouri.


Missouri Premises Liability Law Visitor Statuses


Under state law, owners and occupiers are legally responsible for ensuring that any individual who enters the property is safe. This is the principle of a duty of care. Bear in mind that what is required will vary based on the legal status of the visitor:


  1. Invitees are directly allowed onto the property and could include repair personnel, guests, delivery service people, etc. These are the persons to whom property owners owe the highest duty of care. Therefore, such people must be warned, or the dangers should be addressed.

  2. Licensees are those who are allowed to enter the property with implicit permission. This is because the reason for entry will be for their benefit. Meter readers, salespeople, and the like fall under this umbrella. These people are owed a lesser duty of care, though intentional harm and failure to warn of hazards should still not happen.

  3. Trespassers enter a property without any kind of legal right or permission. No duty of care will generally be owed to them, though Mo. Rev. Stat. § 537.351 makes exceptions. Intentional harm is still not allowed, and child trespassers getting hurt by a dangerous condition could still have consequences.


There is another important note on the third class. Some trespassers may frequently enter an area. If there were a hazard and the property owner failed to warn someone who was injured, some form of damages may be due.


Additionally, reasonable care is expected to be exercised whenever there are active operations on the property while a trespasser is known to be present.


What Are Some Common Premises Liability Case Types?


Most premises liability cases will have some kind of slip-and-fall element at play. However, other situations fall under the category. Some of the conditions that may lead to this kind of claim are:


  1. Slick or wet floors that lead to slips

  2. Broken or missing handrails on steps and stairs

  3. Cracked, broken, or uneven surfaces that may cause someone to trip

  4. Inadequate security and lighting

  5. Swimming pools that are not secured

  6. Exposure to dangerous materials such as chemicals

  7. Escalators and elevators that happen to be faulty

  8. Snow-covered or icy walkways, parking lots, or sidewalks

  9. Exposed electrical outlets or wiring

  10. Animals that may bite or otherwise attack


Can Anyone Other Than the Property Owner Be Liable in Premises Liability Cases


As indicated before, people who may not own the property can be liable. This will apply when the person has some kind of control of the premises. Therefore, a property manager or a tenant could be liable. Typically, when accidents happen at restaurants, shopping malls, and the like, it is the party renting the property that is at fault and not the owner.


Bear in mind too that premises liability claims are not limited to a single defendant. For more information, an injury lawyer in St Louis may be able to help.


What Should an Injured Person Do Following an Accident on Someone Else's Property?

What Should an Injured Person Do Following an Accident on Someone Else's Property?


Making a claim requires taking the right steps following the accident. Here is a process flow:


  1. The injured party should take pictures of the hazard, and try to capture visible injuries that occurred

  2. Notify the responsible party about the incident

  3. Decline to speak with any insurance company without legal counsel present

  4. Seek medical care

  5. Engage a premises liability attorney for a consultation

  6. The lawyer will begin to build a case, collecting medical bills, witness statements, expert testimony, etc.

  7. A claim will be filed on behalf of the victim by the legal professional

  8. Settlement negotiations will happen between the attorney and the negligent party to agree on fair compensation

  9. A trial will happen if the negotiation process fails, which means the premises liability lawyer will try to get the court to mandate a desirable amount


Contact a Successful Missouri Premises Liability Lawyer Today for a No-obligation Case Evaluation!


If you're going to be on someone's property, they must warn you of any hazards or take care of them. You are not responsible for your injuries when your hosts fail to do so.


Were you injured by a negligent owner, manager, or tenant? Schedule a free consultation with Powell Law Firm today!

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