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Proving Liability Following a Missouri Slip and Fall Injury

It is not rare for Kansas City residents to suffer serious injuries after slipping and falling on someone else's property.

However, it can sometimes be challenging to recover for those injures in a Missouri premises liability lawsuit. It is not enough to show that a person fell and was injured. Rather, the plaintiff in a slip and fall lawsuit must prove that his or her injuries were a direct result of someone else's negligence.

This means that the plaintiff must provide evidence to show that a dangerous condition existed on the property. Further, the plaintiff must also prove that the defendant either knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, but did not take appropriate steps to fix it.

Missouri Woman Loses Case

One Missouri woman recently lost her slip and fall claim, likely because the jury viewed her injuries as the result of nothing more than an unfortunate accident.

The 69 year-old woman was injured after she fell down a set of outdoor stairs at a friend's vacation home on the Lake of the Ozarks. She injured her back, shoulder and knee in the fall and ended up requiring surgery to fix a detached kneecap.

The woman sued the homeowners, alleging that the stairs were unreasonably dangerous. Specifically, she claimed that the staircase was too narrow, that the handrail was not sufficiently sturdy and that the staircase should have had more landings. The defense countered by arguing that the plaintiff's fall was caused by her own negligence.

The plaintiff and the defense both brought in construction experts to prove their competing claims. Ultimately, it was a line in the plaintiff's own medical records that likely caused her to lose her case - when a nurse asked how she was hurt, she responded that she had "tripped."

This is just one example of the challenges involved in proving a Missouri slip and fall claim. Not every accident results in legal liability, even if serious injuries are involved.

Source: Insurance News, "Jury Favors Defense in Slip-and-Fall Suit," Joe Yerardi, Jan. 23, 2012.

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