If you are hurt on another person’s property, it is possible that the property owner could be held liable for any injuries you sustained. However, these cases are almost always much more complicated than they may seem at first. It first must be determined that the property owner was actually negligent, and then it must be determined if the injured individual was also negligent. If the person who was injured was also partially negligent, it could greatly affect the case and any compensation they receive.
Because these cases can be very complicated, any time you are injured on someone else’s property—whether it is a business or just a friend’s home—you may need to speak to a St. Louis slip and fall lawyer. A knowledgeable attorney could help you determine whether liability exists on the part of the property owner and work with you to seek appropriate compensation for your damages.
Negligence and Duty of Care in Slip and Fall Cases
Property owners are only found to be negligent, and therefore at fault for an injury suffered in a slip and fall, if they neglected to fulfill their duty of care. The definition and context of that duty of care can vary depending on the type of visitor that was on the property.
Invitees are individuals invited onto the property for business purposes, such as customers at a store or food delivery services delivering ingredients to a restaurant. Property owners owe these individuals the greatest duty of care. That means they must regularly inspect their property and ensure there are no dangers or hazards present that could injure invitees.
Licensees are visitors that are friends, acquaintances, and others that are on the property for casual or social visits. These individuals cannot expect the same duty of care from the property owner. In order to protect these visitors, property owners must only fix and correct or warn of hazards that they know about or reasonably should have known about.
Trespassers are those that do not have permission to be on the property, and in most cases property owners owe them no duty of care. While property owners cannot create traps or intentionally try to hurt trespassers, they cannot be held responsible if a trespasser becomes hurt on their property from other hazards.
While the categories of visitors seem fairly straightforward, they are not always. For example, property owners must take certain precautions to ensure that visitors, especially underage ones, are kept safe from attractive nuisances such as swimming pools. Any time you get hurt on someone else’s property, it may be worthwhile to speak to a slip and fall lawyer in St. Louis. Depending on the circumstances, you may be owed a higher duty of care than you initially thought.
Shared Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
St. Louis operates under the concept of shared fault, also known as comparative fault. This legal concept assigns blame to the parties involved, even when one of those parties is the injured individual. Insurance companies, such as the homeowner’s insurance company, can also use the comparative fault statute to try to deny or reduce the amount of benefits paid out.
However, because Missouri is considered a pure comparative fault state, you could still claim compensation even if you were more than 50 percent to blame for an accident. No matter how much fault you bear, though, proving negligence on the part of the property owner and mitigating your own fault can be difficult. An experienced St. Louis slip and fall attorney could help prove both these elements of a slip and fall case.
The Importance of a St. Louis Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip and fall cases are not as straightforward as they may at first seem. The property owner may not have owed you a high duty of care, or they may claim so in contrast to what the law actually states. Both the property owner and insurance company may even try to place blame on you in order to avoid paying compensation.
For these reasons and more, talking to a St. Louis slip and fall lawyer right away may be your best move. Your attorney could speak to the insurance company on your behalf and fight to get you any compensation to which you may be entitled. Call today to find out more.