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How to Pursue a Premises Liability Lawsuit

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In Missouri, property owners and operators are expected to maintain their properties and keep them in a relatively safe condition to prevent lawful visitors from suffering foreseeable injuries. If you were injured while shopping at a store, going to a business for business-related reasons, or visiting a friend’s home as a guest, you might have a valid premises liability claim. To pursue a premises liability lawsuit, you will need to gather certain types of evidence. Scroll down to learn how to pursue this type of claim and the types of evidence that will be important.

Understanding Premises Liability

Before filing a premises liability lawsuit, it’s important to understand what it means. In Missouri, all property owners and operators must keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition and correct hazards they know about or reasonably should know about. This duty is meant to protect those who are lawfully present from suffering injuries. The law recognizes three categories of visitors:

  • Trespassers
  • Invitees
  • Licensees

Under the law, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers, which are people who are not lawfully present. However, they do owe a duty of care to licensees, which are people who are present with the owner’s permission. Similarly, property owners owe a duty of care to keep the premises safe to invitees, which are visitors in whose presence the property owner has an interest. For example, social guests or shoppers at a store would be considered invitees.

If you are injured because of a dangerous condition that wasn’t immediately obvious, you might have grounds to pursue a premises liability lawsuit. That said, it will be important to gather evidence to support your case.

Types of Evidence in a Premises Liability Case

Some of the types of evidence that might be important in a premises liability case include the following:

  • Photographs of the scene and the dangerous condition
  • Video of the scene
  • Witness statements from anyone who saw what happened
  • Medical records for the treatment of your related injuries
  • Store incident reports if it happened in a store
  • Cleaning and inspection logs if the accident happened in a store
  • Information about who owns or operates the property

Pursuing a Premises Liability Case

If you are injured on someone else’s property, you try to do the following:

  • If you can, take photographs of the hazard that caused your injury or ask a loved one or friend to take pictures for you.
  • Ask anyone who saw what happened for a statement about what they saw. Get their names and contact information. If you’re in a store, ask them to wait to tell the manager.
  • If your accident occurred in a store or other business, notify the manager. Ask them to complete an incident report, and ask how to obtain a copy.
  • If you are in a business or store, look for surveillance cameras that might have caught your accident. You’ll need to request copies of the footage quickly before the store copies over it.
  • Talk to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can tell you whether you have valid grounds to pursue a claim and send a preservation letter to the establishment to prevent any video from being erased.
  • Seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. Go to the emergency department or an urgent care facility to obtain a diagnosis of and treatment for your injuries.
  • File a premises liability lawsuit with the help of your attorney, and serve a copy of the complaint on the defendant.

Once a lawsuit is filed, your case will go through discovery. This is a phase during which both sides will exchange evidence. Your attorney will continue to negotiate with the defendant to try to secure a favorable settlement throughout the discovery process, but they will also prepare for trial in case a settlement can’t be reached.

Speak to the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you should speak to the attorneys at The Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. Our attorneys can review your case and explain whether you have a viable claim. Call us today to schedule a consultation at 417-322-2222 or contact us online.

Files under: Slip and Fall