What Is a "Premises Liability" Case?

If you were injured on someone else’s property because of their negligence, you might have a premises liability claim. If a property owner causes you an injury, you should fight for the compensation you deserve. After a serious injury, you will be facing medical bills, lost wages, or even pain and suffering.

A major component of premises liability claims is negligence. To state a claim for negligence, a plaintiff must show, (1) a legal duty on the part of the defendant to conform to a particular standard of care; (2) breach of that duty (in other words, did the defendant’s conduct fall short of the standard of care?), (3) proximate cause between the breach and the resulting injury; and (4) actual damages.

The first element listed above is the legal duty. The duty of the landowner, or the person who controls and occupies the land, sometimes depends on the status of the visitor on the land. In Kansas, the duty is the same for all entrants, except trespassers. In Missouri, the classification of the entrant is important to determine the duty of care that the landowner owes to the entrant. States vary on which rules they follow, but the three general classifications for entrants are invitee, licensee, and trespasser. Make sure to read the rules of your state before taking your next steps.

Invitee

An invitee is a person who has consent from the owner to enter the property. The invitee usually is entering the property for the owner’s benefit or mutual benefit.

Duty of Care: The property owner must exercise reasonable and ordinary care to make the premises safe for the invitee. If the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, he or she is liable for the injury to the invitee. He is required to warn and protect the invitee of any dangerous condition that is or could be reasonably anticipated.

Licensee

A licensee is a visitor who has consent from the owner to enter the property, but for their own benefit.

Duty of Care: In Kansas, the duty of care for licensee is the same as invitee. The property owner must exercise reasonable and ordinary care to make the premises safe for the licensee. In Missouri, the duty of care for licensee requires that the property owner must fix any dangerous conditions of which the property owner is aware.

Trespasser

A trespasser is a visitor who does not have consent to enter the property.

Duty of Care: In Missouri, the landowner does not owe a duty of care to an adult trespasser (this does not apply to child trespassers, that is a separate legal issue). In Kansas, the owner/possessor/controller of the property must refrain from willfully, wantonly, or recklessly injuring the trespasser.

Check the Rules of Your State

The premises liability rules vary a bit by state, so make sure to check your state’s rules and talk to an attorney before taking any next steps. For example, the statute of limitations varies by state. In Kansas, a plaintiff has two years to bring the personal injury claim. In Missouri, the plaintiff has five years to bring the personal injury claim.

Another example is comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a defense in which the defendant pays reduced damages to be proportionate to each party’s negligence. Both Kansas and Missouri are comparative negligence states, however the states approach the rule differently. Kansas is a comparative negligence state, which means that if the plaintiff had any responsibility for the injury, the plaintiff’s compensation may be lower, if the negligence was not more than the defendant’s negligence. Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, which means looks at both parties’ negligence. and the plaintiff can recover for the defendant’s negligence, even if the plaintiff’s negligence was more than that of the defendant. These state-specific rules are very important for your claim, so it is important you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to help you. Call Mark Grover with the Grover Law Firm at 913-432-1000 to set up your free consultation.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.


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