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Kansas City Premises Liability Lawyers

Have you been hurt on someone else's property in Kansas City? You may have a personal injury claim under Missouri or Kansas premises liability laws. A catastrophic injury caused by a property owner's negligence, like any other personal injury, can have far-reaching consequences. You may accrue mountains of medical bills, be unable to work or become permanently disabled or disfigured. Serious personal injuries are unexpected and overwhelming. Kendall Law Group's team of skilled Kansas City personal injury attorneys understands the difficulties that come with personal injuries and is here to help. Let us worry about the heavy stuff while you focus on getting better and back to your life.

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What Is Premises Liability?

A premises liability lawsuit holds a property owner liable for any damages resulting from an injury sustained on that person’s or entity’s property. According to the law, it is the property owner’s responsibility to make a reasonable effort to keep visitors safe. Failure to keep your property safe results in "premises liability." 

Premises liability laws generally apply to three categories of visitors: 

Invitees – people who receive invitations (sometimes invitations are implied when a business offers a product or service), usually for business purposes. 

Licensees – individuals who are invited to a property for social purposes; and 

Trespassers – people who are not invited to a property and do not have permission to be there. 

In most cases, the property owner’s duty of care extends only to those who are invited for business or social purposes. In some cases, a property owner may be held liable for trespassers’ injuries.

When Are Property Owners Liable for Injuries?

The following conditions must be met for a property owner to be held liable for injuries sustained on their property: 

The property owner must have owned the property at the time of the accident/injury;

  1. The injury victim must have been an invitee or licensee at the time of the accident/injury;

  2. The owner must commit negligence or wrongdoing; and

  3. The owner's negligence or wrongdoing must cause serious injury and/or death to the victim.

When Are Property Owners Not Liable for Injuries?

Open and Obvious Hazards 

If you are injured because of an open and obvious hazard, the owner is usually not liable for your injuries. This means that if a person of average intelligence can recognize and avoid a hazard, you cannot seek compensation. In Missouri and Kansas, the Open and Obvious Doctrine is frequently used as a defense in slip and fall cases. 

For example, if you are shopping at a grocery store and see another customer spill something on the floor, a reasonable person would recognize the fall hazards presented by the liquid on the floor and walk around it. If a person witnesses this and still walks through the spill, resulting in a fall with injuries, the store is usually not liable. 

The determination of whether a hazard is open and obvious is highly subjective (based on or influenced by personal opinions). During a civil premises liability trial, the court considers whether the injured party should have seen the hazard and whether a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have been able to foresee the danger and avoid injury. 

Snow and Ice 

In most cases, property owners are not liable for falls caused by snow and ice accumulation. Property owners in Kansas City are required by law to remove snow and ice from sidewalks “within a reasonable time.” When property owners begin the removal process but do not complete it or create an additional hazard in the removal process, they can become liable for slips and falls on snow and ice. 

When large snow mounds are left in parking lots, they can pose additional hazards. During the day, the snow piles melt, run across parking lots, and then re-freeze as the sun sets, creating new slipping hazards for visitors. 

No Damages 

If you sustain a minor injury, such as a bruised knee, that does not necessitate medical attention, you have no compensable damages and the property owner is not liable.

How to Win a Kansas City Premises Liability Case

No two premises liability cases are alike, but in general, to be eligible for compensation for injuries sustained on someone else’s property, you must demonstrate the following:

  1. Duty of Care – You had permission to be on the property, and it was the owner’s responsibility to keep you safe. Property owners typically do not owe a duty of care to trespassers, unless there is an overly hazardous condition, the owner commits willful and wanton actions resulting in injury, or the hazard is considered an “attractive nuisance,” such as unlocked access to a backyard swimming pool that would encourage children to trespass.

  2. Breach of Duty/Care – The property owner was aware of or should have been aware of the hazardous condition on their property and failed to correct it, causing you to be injured. In some cases, the owner may claim that they were unaware of the hazard, that it was new, or that an injury was not likely or predictable.

  3. Causation – Your injuries were caused by the owner’s dangerous condition, not by another event, such as falling down your stairs.

  4. Comparative Fault – If you are found to be partially responsible for your injuries, your compensation may be limited based on how much fault you are found to have. In Kansas, for example, if you are found to be at least 50% at fault for your injuries, you are not entitled to compensation.

What are Common Types of Premises Liability Cases?

  • Slip and Falls

  • Dog Bites

  • Apartment and rental property fires

  • Assaults and shootings from negligent security (which are often referred to as third party criminal acts)

  • Swimming pool accidents

  • Amusement park accidents

If your injury does not fall into one of the categories listed above, our Kansas City injury lawyers will gladly speak with you about your specific situation and advise you on the best way to proceed and available legal avenues for recovery.

Where Do Most Premises Liability Injuries Happen?

  • Grocery stores, shopping malls and retail stores

  • Parking lots, garages and sidewalks

  • Nightclubs and bars

  • Movie theatres

  • Public pools and water parks

  • Amusement parks

  • Concert and event venues

  • Apartment complexes

  • Hotels

  • Schools and daycares

  • Office buildings

  • Restaurants

  • Carnivals and fairs

What Premises Liability Damages Can You Claim?

  • Medical Expenses - the fees charged by medical providers and facilities to treat your injuries, as well as the costs of any necessary future medical treatment.

  • Pain and Suffering – physical and/or mental anguish caused by your injuries.

  • Lost Wages – time away from work or inability to work as a result of your injuries.

  • Permanent Disability or Permanent Partial Disability – long-term, permanent impairments caused by your injury.

  • Loss of Consortium – loss of spousal support and/or relations as a result of catastrophic personal injuries or death.

  • Wrongful Death – personal injuries that result in death.

How Long Do You Have to File a Premises Liability Claim?

The statute of limitations is the amount of time you have after an accident or injury to file a claim or lawsuit. The statute of limitations is determined by the state where your injury happened.  If your injury occurred in Missouri, you have five years to file a negligence claim; however, if you were injured in Kansas, you must file your negligence claim within two years.

Do You Need a Kansas City Premises Liability Lawyer?

Complex legal issues frequently arise in premises liability cases. Many cases cannot be settled without the filing of a lawsuit. It is always in your best interests as an injury victim to seek experienced legal counsel. Conduct your research and choose the best Kansas City personal injury attorney for your specific needs. Most personal injury lawyers provide free consultations and do not charge you if you do not win your case. Hiring a knowledgeable, experienced attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. 

Kendall Law Group's team of Kansas City accident and injury lawyers has helped thousands of premises liability victims obtain the compensation they deserve in and out of the courtroom over the last 30 years. We want to speak with you if you or a family member has suffered a personal injury or wrongful death. Call Kendall Law Group at (816) 531-3100 today.