Property owners have certain legal obligations to the public, including the obligation to keep their land and the buildings situated on their land safe for authorized visitors and those with business there. When property owners fail to do so, devastating personal injuries can result. Slip, trip, and fall accidents continue to be one of the most common causes of personal injury across the United States. These accidents fall under an area of law known as “premises liability.”
In many cases, a slip, trip, or fall accident is caused by a wet, slippery, or uneven surface. When the surface that caused the fall was not kept reasonably clean or safe, the property owner can be held liable for the negligent maintenance of that area. Slip and fall accidents are not the only cause of injury in premises liability cases. Injuries may also arise from negligent security or safety measures on the premises in question.
Who is Liable for the Personal Injuries?
Normally, it is the owner of the property that is responsible for injuries caused by negligent maintenance of the property at issue. Sometimes, determining who is at fault can be complicated, as when commercial property is leased to a business tenant and the property owner does not actually control the property. Likewise, with residential property, there may be a landlord who shares in the responsibility. Another situation may involve a contractor who was working on the premises, and whose conduct contributed to the danger causing the injury.
Joplin Missouri Premises Liability: Types of cases
Many premises liability cases in Joplin, Missouri involve failure to maintain the property. It is foreseeable that building materials, such as wood staircases or brick walkways, need regular maintenance and possibly repair. The failure by a building owner to regularly inspect and maintain the premises in a safe condition can result in liability.
In other cases, the landlord or the business might create the condition. For instance, a store employee might wash a floor, leaving it wet and slippery. The owner has a duty to put up warning signs to prevent a slip and fall accident. Another customer may drop or spill something in one of the store aisles. The owner also has a duty to regularly inspect and clean up the spill.
Another type of premise liability case arises where a person is injured by the intentional, criminal acts of a third party while on another’s property. Generally speaking, a landowner does not have a duty to protect people from criminal acts by third persons, unless there is a special relationship. That is because a commercial property owner is not required to ensure the safety of its customers, and has no duty to protect against unforeseeable criminal activity.
Premises Liability cases may result in significant damages.
Common injuries in premises liability cases include, broken or fractured bones, sprains and other soft tissue injuries. In more serious cases, injuries could include traumatic brain injuries, head or spinal cord injuries and wrongful death. Fortunately, those injured on someone else’s property may be entitled to monetary compensation for medical bills, lost wages, loss of income, pain, and emotional suffering.
If you or someone you know has suffered an injury while lawfully on someone else’s property, contact the experienced Joplin Missouri premises liability attorney at The Cottrell Law Office to discuss your options.