Getting hurt isn’t fun, and it is never something that you plan for. When you sustain an injury on someone else’s property, you might be entitled to be compensated for your pain, suffering, medical care, and the time you lose from your job. The concept under which you may be owed some sort of financial recovery is known as premises liability; if a property owner is shown to be negligent, the can be held liable for the injuries you have sustained.
As Kansas City’s leading personal injury lawyers, part of The Popham Law Firm’s job is to determine how the concept of negligence is related to any premises liability claim. In this article, we’ll briefly describe how premises liability and negligence are legally defined, and how those concepts are applied in Kansas City personal injury cases.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal term that describes a relatively simple concept: When you own or control a piece of property, you are responsible for making reasonable efforts to ensure that visitors are safe. If you fail to identify safety risks that you should have reasonably known about, or if you fail to correct potentially hazardous conditions, you could be held liable for any injuries that result.
What is Negligence?
The definition of negligence can be a bit more complicated than the concept of premises liability. In fact, whether a property owner has been negligent is the central point of contention in many Kansas City premises liability cases. So, for a definition, let’s go directly to the experts at the Cornell University Law School:Negligence:“A failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances. The behavior usually consists of actions, but can also consist of omissions when there is some duty to act (e.g., a duty to help victims of one's previous conduct).” –Wex Legal DictionaryTo prove any premises liability case, a Kansas City personal injury attorney must apply this definition of negligence to establish four essential conditions:1. The owner or person in control of the property had a legal duty to protect visitors;2. The owner or person in control of the property substantially failed to perform that duty;3. The plaintiff suffered an injury; and4. The plaintiff’s injury was directly caused by the failure of the person who owned or controlled the property to correct the hazard or inform the victim of the risk.Some practical examples of negligence that results in a premises liability claim· You are visiting the residence of a friend and slip and fall on an icy stoop. As the homeowner, your friend has demonstrated negligence and is liable for your injury, since he or she must clear the property of known hazards and failed to do so. Typically, your friend’s homeowner’s insurance would wind up picking up the tab.· We’ll use the same situation as above, but your friend is renting the house rather than owning it outright. Nothing changes as far as the concept of negligence goes—your friend is presumed to be in control of the safe condition of the property.· Let’s say that your friend is renting that same house, but you are injured by faulty wiring while you are visiting. In this case, the negligence may be on the part of the landlord; a landlord must ensure that repairs and things that are unseen by tenants are in safe working order. If the owner of the property approves or makes shoddy repairs that are hidden from the tenant, they are negligent—not the tenant occupying the property.· For our final example, let’s assume that you’ve made it out of your friend’s home uninjured and decide to stop at a grocery store on your way home. A minute before you walk into the store, an employee notices that the entryway has become slick—some wayward child has spilled his juice. The employee immediately puts up a “Caution: Slippery Floor” sign. As you enter the store, you slip and hit your head. In cases such as these, proving negligence is a bit more complex. You do have a duty to heed signs and watch where you are walking. The store must correct safety problems and inform their guests of hazards in a reasonable timeframe. A good personal injury lawyer will ask questions like, “how visible was the sign?” and “How long was the sign there?” This case demonstrates that negligence can be a not-so-cut-and-dry issue, which is a reminder that getting competent legal advice is essential in any premises liability case.
The Popham Law Firm Difference
Representing Kansas City residents since 1918, The Popham Law Firm employs the area’s most respected and highly rated personal injury, workers’ compensation, and employee rights attorneys. We are dedicated to protecting the rights of our clients and ensuring that they get the just compensation that they deserve. For questions regarding your injury case and how The Popham Law Firm can help you, contact us via our website or call us at (844) 243-2288.