Tragedy can happen in an instant. Whether you get bit by a neighbor’s dog, slip and fall on a cracked sidewalk, or are attacked in the parking lot of a business, Missouri & Illinois premises liability laws can help you recover financial and emotional damages from the incident. Commercial and residential property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. If anyone becomes injured on the premises due to negligent, unsafe or defective conditions, the victim may have a claim against the property owner or responsible occupant.
Examples of premises liability accidents involve:
- Slip and Falls
- Inadequate Security or Inadequate Lighting
- Snow and Ice Removal
- Amusement Park Injuries
- Swimming Pools
- Broken Equipment
- Injuries at a Business
- Injuries on Private Property
- Injuries on Rental Property
The St. Louis premises liability attorneys at Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum have a long history of representing victims of property injury. We are attuned to the evolving nature of the law and understand its importance in the cases we handle.
Notable St. Louis Premises Liability Attorneys Cases
For a woman who slipped and fell on a wet floor at work, suffering permanent nerve damage to her right arm. At the time of the case in 2011, it was the largest recorded slip and fall verdict in St. Louis County and one of the largest in Missouri history.
For a woman who sustained neurological injuries from the inhalation of a dangerous chemical.
For a female who fell on ice and fractured her knee.
Do I have a premises liability case?
Premises liability case laws in Missouri and Illinois are similar. In both states, a plaintiff should demonstrate the following in order to bring a successful lawsuit:
- A dangerous condition caused the accident.
- The property owner or responsible occupant should have known about the dangerous condition.
- The property owner or responsible occupant did not use ordinary care to remove, remedy or warn of the danger.
- The negligence of the property owner or responsible occupant resulted in an injury.
How soon after an accident should I contact an attorney?
First and foremost, seek medical attention right away if you or a loved one is seriously injured at a business or on someone else’s property. Then, contact an attorney as soon as you suspect the injury was caused by the negligence of the property owner or occupant. An attorney will not only be able to start collecting evidence, but they can also serve as a liaison with insurance companies and other attorneys. Missouri premises liability cases generally have a five-year statute of limitations; however, this can change depending on the specific facts of the case, so consult with an experienced premises liability lawyer early on to determine a filing deadline.
How long does a premises liability lawsuit take, and will it settle or go to a jury trial?
Premises liability cases are very fact-specific and each one is different, including the time it takes to resolve. The average timeframe for a case that goes to trial is around 18 to 24 months after the case is filed.
A premises liability case begins by analyzing the incident and naming the responsible party. It is not always the property owner who is at fault, and finding the liable party requires a determination of who was in actual possession or control of the property at the time. Once suit is filed, the parties engage in months of discovery in preparation for trial, where each side sends the other written requests for information, discloses experts, takes depositions and collects evidence.
Throughout discovery, Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum attorneys work toward agreeing on a fair settlement for our clients. If a case cannot settle, the parties will move forward to trial. Premises liability cases tend to go to trial more than other types of personal injury cases because insurance companies often try to blame the injured victim for the fall. This encourages them to keep offers low and reduces the chance the case will settle for a fair amount.
What type of settlement or verdict can I expect?
There is not an exact formula used to determine what a premises liability case is worth. Rather, a variety of factors are taken into consideration, including the nature of the injury and disability; the financial or economic losses, such as lost wages and medical bills; emotional trauma; and long-term repercussions, such as permanent disability. In addition, Missouri and Illinois permit a jury to assign comparative fault, or assess a percentage of fault for the injury to the plaintiff, which could reduce the overall recovery.
If I’m injured on someone’s property, what should I save?
To bring a successful claim for an injury that occurred at a business or on personal property, it is important to document the condition and / or the details surrounding the incident that caused the injury, either at the time of the accident or soon thereafter.
- Photographs of the Property and Location Where the Injury Occurred
- A Timeline of Events Leading Up to and After the Incident
- A List of Witnesses and Contact Information
It is also important to document injuries. Luckily, bruises and lacerations heal with time, so having photographic evidence of the injuries when they first happened helps preserve the significance of the injury. Additionally, be sure to hold on to medical records and bills, and document communication with insurance companies and the property owner.
What should I do when the property owner’s insurance company contacts me?
It is common for insurance companies to contact parties involved in a premises liability case to get statements and gather facts. The victim or legal guardian does not have to answer those questions and can instead provide the insurance company with the contact information of their attorney. If an attorney has not yet been hired, refrain from giving a recorded statement and contact an experienced premises liability lawyer right away.
Should I pay my medical bills if I’m injured on someone’s property?
Victims of premises liability cases should submit medical bills to their health insurance and pay their deductible, if possible. Doing so will keep bills out of collections and prevent significant damage to credit scores. A successful case will recover the full amount of those bills, but it can take time, sometimes up to years, for the reimbursement.
Do I have a premises liability claim if I was injured while trespassing or committing a crime?
Generally, if a person is unlawfully on someone’s property the owner is not liable for injuries caused by the condition of the property. However, every case is different and there are a few exceptions to this rule, for example incidents including attractive nuisance and children. Find out if you have a case by contacting Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum for a free evaluation.
Can I file a claim against my landlord?
While the person or entity in possession or control of the property is usually responsible for incidents, there are circumstances in which tenants can sue the landlord of the leased property. Examples are if a tenant, customer or guest is injured in a common area, or because of damage to property in which the landlord is responsible. Landlord and tenant claims are very fact-specific and should be evaluated by an attorney on an individual basis.
How much does it cost me to file a premises liability lawsuit?
Located in St. Louis, premises liability law firm Padberg, Corrigan & Appelbaum works with clients throughout Missouri and Illinois on a contingency fee basis. That means, our clients don’t pay us unless they receive financial compensation for their case. Then, an agreed upon percentage is paid back to the firm, along with repayment of any other expenses incurred during litigation. Our attorneys and staff have a proven track record of successfully prosecuting civil cases on behalf of victims who were injured due to the negligence of property owners and we have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for clients.