Missouri law states that property owners have a legal obligation to maintain their premises in a manner that does not present a threat or cause injury to visitors due to dangerous conditions. Property owners must inform guests and fix the hazard in a reasonable amount of time if a dangerous condition is present.

When Missouri property owners fail to exercise reasonable care and allow known dangers to exist on their property, they may be held liable for injuries that occur. If an injury occurred because a property owner failed to use ordinary care to address dangerous conditions or warn you, a personal injury lawyer at a reputable law firm can help you seek recompense for the injury you suffered.

At Holman Schiavone, LLC, our premises liability lawyer will represent individuals who have been injured due to another party’s negligence in inspecting their property or danger the property owner knew about but did not address. Our law firm is ready to protect your interests and ensure that someone else’s poor decision does not leave you in a dire financial situation.

What Is a Premises Liability Claim?

Premises liability claims are civil lawsuits that enable individuals injured on another person’s property to seek compensation from the property owner. If you want to file a successful premises liability lawsuit, you will have to be able to prove four elements are present in your situation.

Duty of Care

Duty of care means the property owner or occupier owes a duty to make safe dangers they are aware of and inspect the property periodically, looking for potential dangers. They are responsible for creating a reasonably safe environment for invitees and licensees.

Your legal team will have to prove the property possessor owes you a duty of care to satisfy the first element. Without establishing a duty of care, you cannot pursue recompense.

According to Missouri law, if a personal injury occurs on a property where a tenant controls the property and is responsible for maintaining the property, the tenant could be held liable for slip and fall cases and other accidents. When an accident scene is located at places like shopping malls, restaurants, or other rented spaces, the tenant may be held responsible for the personal injury.

Sometimes, more than one party holds legal responsibility for a premises liability claim. Determining whose negligence is responsible for your injuries and who failed in their duty to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition is challenging.

You will need to work with a Missouri law office experienced in navigating accident claims to prove that the plaintiff failed to use ordinary care in maintaining the property. The burden of proof will be on you, so you will have to demonstrate the property owner owed you care and did not meet that responsibility.

Breach of Duty

Breach of duty is the actual action or inaction that violates the expected care. This breach can occur if the owner knew a dangerous condition existed and failed to fix it or did not notice a hazard they could reasonably be expected to find.


For the element of causation to be met, the negligence of the person responsible for the property must have contributed to the victim’s injuries. Unless the victim is injured due to a dangerous condition on the property, the injured party will not be able to file a successful claim.


Damages are the losses the victim experiences as a result of the party’s negligence. The most common type of damages are economic, such as the cost of medical care for the victim’s injury, lost wages, and property damage the victim suffered.

Alternatively, victims can experience non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. A claim cannot be made without identifiable damages.

There is no case if there are no damages, making them a critical element of any liability case. However, if any of the four elements are missing, victims can lose their ability to seek compensation for their losses.

Missouri Property Owners’ Duties

Ascertaining whether a property owner should be held liable in a premises liability claim involves looking at multiple aspects of the circumstance that resulted in the victim’s injury. One of the ways liability is ascertained involves establishing the level of duty the property owner owed the victim.

There are three categories of visitors, each of which is owed a different level of care as a property owner. Which type of visitor the injured person is classified as will affect their ability to pursue compensation.

Is the Injured Party an Invitee, Licensee, or Trespasser?

Invitees are individuals that the property owner has explicitly invited onto their property for lawful purposes. An invitee might be welcomed to the property for a business purpose.

Another example of individuals who fall into this category includes social guests. Property owners owe a higher duty to invitees than licensees and trespassers.

A property owner may be held liable for injuries invitees sustain if they had actual knowledge that a dangerous condition existed or should have known the hazard existed if they exercised reasonable care when inspecting their property. A property owner’s negligence in checking their property for threats or failure to keep a careful lookout for dangerous conditions could result in a successful claim against the premises owner.

An individual considered a licensee is someone the property owner has given permission to be on the property for the individual’s own benefit. For example, if a property owner allows their neighbor to hunt on their land, the hunter would be considered a licensee.

A licensee could bring a claim against the property owner if the owner failed to take action to correct a dangerous condition the owner knew about. As in the case of invitees, property owners owe the licensees the courtesy of informing them of dangers they are aware of on the property. Property owners have a lesser duty to licensees than invitees and do not have the duty to inspect their property before the licensee is granted access.

When an individual enters or remains on a person’s property without their permission and with no legal rights, they are considered a trespasser. Examples of trespassers range from the most common unpermitted entry people think of, like a burglar breaking into someone’s home, to simply a person loitering in a private parking lot.

A property or store owner is not obligated to protect trespassers but cannot intentionally harm a trespasser. Typically, premises liability cases brought by trespassers are unsuccessful. However, two exceptions exist where trespassers could potentially bring effective premises liability claims against the owner.

If there was an Attractive Nuisance

Premises liability cases involving children trespassing are different from those involving adults. Property owners have a responsibility to notice hazards that could attract a child to their property and result in the child suffering an injury.

To prevent an accident from occurring on their property, the property owner should inspect the premises for a dangerous condition that might attract a child and address that condition immediately. Failure to do so could result in the property owner being found liable for the personal injury the child received.

If the Property Owner Created a dangerous condition

A trespasser might be able to file a successful slip and fall case or premises liability case, depending on the circumstances contributing to the accident. Owners could be liable if they created or encouraged a dangerous condition they knew could cause grievous bodily injury or death.

In circumstances where the owner had reason to believe that the trespassers would encounter the dangerous condition and did not take steps to warn the trespasser, they could be held liable for the losses the injured party suffered. Essentially, if a trespasser is harmed because of a dangerous condition the owner created or maintained and did not disclose the potential for an accident, the property owner could face a premise liability or slip-and-fall case.

What Is the Difference Between Premises Liability and Personal Liability?

Premises liability and personal liability cases are not the same. Personal liability refers to an individual’s own actions and the outcome of them. For example, if you are injured in a car accident due to another person’s negligence, the driver’s personal liability insurance would cover the losses you experience. You would likely have to prove your injuries were caused in the car accident and that the other person was at fault for the collision.

Premises liability cases are focused on unsafe situations on an individual’s property. An example of a premises liability case could be if you slip and fall on someone’s staircase because they failed to repair a loose board. If the person invited you onto their property and was aware of the dangerous situation, you could attempt to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses caused by the accident.

Missouri law has a statute of limitations on filing a claim against the at-fault party in a premises liability case. You will have five years to make your claim, but you will want to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible following your injury to ensure you do not miss your opportunity to recover compensation.

Let a Lawyer Handle Your Missouri Premises Liability Claim

If you are injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, one of the first things you will want to do after seeking medical care is contact a reputable Missouri law firm. At Holman Schiavone, LLC, we offer a free consultation where one of our experienced team members will discuss your case’s specifics.

This free consultation lets you receive advice on your situation and determine the best way to proceed. Our law firm offers evening and weekend hours, so you do not have to forgo legal guidance due to your hectic schedule. Contact Holman Schiavone, LLC, at 816-399-5149 today.