Premises Liability

Under the legal theory of premises liability, property owners are responsible for some injuries that occur on their property. To recover damages, an injured visitor typically must prove that the property owner knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were unsafe and failed to take the proper steps to make them safe.

While some states require the owner to exercise reasonable care with respect to all persons who might enter the property, Missouri law divides visitors into three categories:

  • Invitees
  • Licensees
  • Trespassers

As the name implies, an invitee is someone who is invited on to the property for some benefit to the property owner, such as a friend or neighbor or a customer in a store. An invitee has received the property owner’s express or implied permission to enter the property. A property owner owes an invitee a duty of reasonable care to keep the property safe. Invitees can also include employees injured by unsafe conditions, such as construction or industrial accidents and grain elevator explosions.

A licensee has the property owner’s permission to enter the property, but is coming onto the property for his own purposes, such as a salesman. A licensee is owed a lesser duty. The property owner must warn the licensee of dangerous conditions if the property owner knows about the condition and the licensee is not likely to be able to discover it.

A trespasser is on the property without permission. A property owner owes no duty of reasonable care to a trespasser, except in certain cases involving children, such as swimming pools.

An injured visitor can recover damages proximately caused by the property owner’s negligence. Damages generally include medical expenses, lost wages and future earnings, and pain and suffering.

Premises liability law is extremely complex and varies from state to state and goes beyond simply slip and fall accidents. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, it is imperative that you seek legal representation to make certain your rights are protected. At DBJ, our expert legal team will investigate your accident and negotiate a settlement or represent you at trial to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact us at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.

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