Premises liability is the term that refers to personal injuries occurring on property belonging to someone else. Property owners have certain legal obligations to those individuals who come onto their property. These obligations generally include keeping the premises safe. When these obligations are not met, and personal injury results, the property owner may be held liable for those injuries. Slip and falls cases can be brought against businesses and individuals, depending on where the injury occurred. Let our Rogers personal injury attorney explain the differences in these two types of cases.
General categories of premises liability claims
There are essentially four types of premises liability claims: slip and falls, inadequate maintenance, defective conditions, and inadequate security. In most cases, the property owner will be held responsible for injuries caused by any of these conditions occurring on their property. However, figuring out who is liable is not always easy. In some cases, such as when commercial property is being leased to a business tenant, the property owner does not actually control the property. The same is true with rental property. It could be that the responsibility will be shared by the landlord and the tenant.
Slip and fall claims
A common example of a slip and fall is when a supermarket neglects to clean up a spill on the floor, and a customer slips on the spill and falls. Slip and fall cases can result in serious injuries, such as knee and hip injuries or fractures. Even head injuries are not uncommon. In most slip and fall cases, an important issue is whether the premises owner took any precautions to prevent injuries, like putting down mats or “wet floor” signs.
Slip and fall cases can be difficult to prove
Clients sometimes ask, “is it really necessary to hire an attorney if it is obvious I slipped and fell in a store?” The reality is, slip and fall cases can be very difficult to prove because fault is not always that obvious. Thousands of individuals are injured each year from slipping or tripping on something in a store or on someone’s property, many of those injuries very serious. Substances on the floor of a store can be very dangerous. Uneven sidewalks or misplaced items can lead to serious injuries, as well. Nevertheless, it can be very difficult to prove all of the elements necessary to establish someone’s responsibility or liability for a slip and fall accident.
The duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions
Each of us has a responsibility to, not only be aware of our surroundings but also to take steps to avoid dangerous conditions that are obvious or reasonably expected. That does not mean that a property owner does not owe, at least, some duty to take reasonable steps to ensure that his or her property is free from dangerous conditions that could result in a slip and fall injury. Determining whether the steps taken were, in fact, reasonable is where the ability to prove your case can become difficult. The “reasonableness” of a property owner’s actions will be balanced against the care that you were expected to use at the time of the accident. This is why slip and fall cases are not always as straightforward as they seem.
How to establish liability for a slip and fall injury
There are certain facts that you must be able to establish in order to prove a property owner is liable for your injuries in a slip and fall accident. If you can show that the property owner, or an employee of the property owner, either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition because any other “reasonable” person in his or her position would have known about it and fixed the problem. It must also be shown that the property owner did not, in fact, take steps to fix the dangerous condition. Another way to establish liability is to show that the property owner, or an employee, actually caused or created the dangerous condition.
If you have questions regarding slip and fall claims or any other personal injury matters in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation. You can contact us either online or by calling us toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
Latest posts by Wes Cottrell (see all)
- How Long do You have to File a Workers Compensation Claim in Missouri? - January 11, 2020
- Missouri Wrongful Death Cases - January 1, 2020
- How to Get Your Missouri Highway Patrol Crash Report - November 4, 2019