The legal theory of “premises liability” holds owners and occupiers of property legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on that property. The kinds of incidents that give rise to premises liability claims can range from a slip and fall, tripping, falling from height and any other injury that may result from a dangerous condition on the property.
Who is Liable?
The liability of owners and occupiers of property will vary depending characterization of the individual who is hurt or the nature of business the visitor had on the property.
In Missouri the highest degree of care and protection is afforded to business invitees. Business invitee status is applied to individuals who are on the property for a business purpose or for the benefit of the land owner. In those cases, recovery of damages can be achieved if the condition that existed on the property was unreasonably dangerous, and the owner knew or should have known of its existence.
Licensee status is applied to visitors that are on property by invitation but without a business purpose. In licensee cases an individual may recover damages if the hazardous condition which caused the injury was such that the visitor wasn’t aware of its existence, and the owner knew or should have known of the hazardous condition.
Lastly, trespasser status is applied to individuals who enter a property without the permission of the owner. In some instance trespassers may recover damages against the property owner but it is difficult and rare.
Most premises liability cases
Most premises liability cases arise in situations where the injured party is classified as a business invitee, but just because the injured party is a business invitee doesn’t mean recovery is automatic. It is also important to be aware that Missouri state law permits comparative fault to be applied to the injured party. For example, the defendant can claim that the invitee was 20% (etc etc) responsible for hurting themselves, so they are responsible for 20% of their medical bills, etc etc. When a percentage of fault like this is assigned to the injured party’s action, the total amount of damages recovered is also reduced.
Have You Been Injured While on Someone’s Premises?
Individuals who are injured in a premises liability case may seek to recover damages for lost wages, medical bills, future earnings, and in rare instances, punitive damages may apply. Determining which status a claimant falls under, and which liability the defendant is charged with, are not clear-cut issues. It takes an attorney who is familiar with the laws of premises liability to correctly pursue your case. At Lanzotti & Rau, you are hiring a team of experts who have the experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve.
What will it cost me?
Many premises liability victims are concerned about the cost of hiring an attorney to handle their case. At Lanzotti & Rau we handle premises liability cases on a contingent fee basis. This means that there is NO money up front, and there will be NO bill for attorney’s fees and/or expenses. The contingent fee means that Lanzotti & Rau will be paid by a percentage of your case settlement. Obviously, this further motivates us to work hard to get the best possible results for you, as our success is directly related to your success!