Premises liability claims typically involve someone who is injured while shopping at a store or business. They can also arise when someone is injured on a property such as an apartment complex or a house. The fact that you are injured while on someone else’s property, or “on the premises”, does not automatically mean that the owner of the property is liable or has to pay for your medical bills. When injured at a business, it is common for the injured person to be told that he or she should not worry about the medical bills and the manager of the store will reassure that the customer that he or she will be taken care of or compensated. Unfortunately, the injured person will often times receive a letter denying the claim from the property owner, business or the insurance carrier.
Generally, a property owner or business owner owes its customers a duty of care. What exactly that means pivots on what an ordinary person would consider reasonable under the circumstances. Kansas law has determined that an ordinary and reasonable person would likely consider the following:
(1) The foreseeability of harm to the injured person;
(2) The magnitude of the risk of injury to others by maintaining the store in such a condition;
(3) The individual and social benefit of maintaining the store in such a condition; and
(4) The cost and inconvenience of providing adequate protection whether incurred by the store or the community.
It is up to the injured person to prove that the property owner was negligent and that the negligence caused the injury. Kansas law adheres to the “mode of operation rule”, which generally allows an injured person to recover without the property owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of a dangerous condition if you can show that the store adopted a mode of operation where a patron’s carelessness should be anticipated and the property owner fails to use reasonable measures commensurate with the risk involved to discover the condition and remove it. Proof of notice is unnecessary. It is important to note though that comparative fault law applies and may result in a bar to any recovery if the injured person is 50% or more at fault for causing the accident.
Other times liability can be established if there is some dangerous condition on the property and the business fails to adequately warn of the dangerous condition or fails to repair the dangerous condition. These cases also can involve weather conditions and the failure of the property owner to warn or take action to remedy the dangerous condition on the property caused by bad weather. Kansas law allows a property owner or business a reasonable time after inclement weather to remedy or fix the dangerous condition. What exactly is a reasonable time for a property owner or business to clean up snow, remove ice, mop up water, etc. after adverse weather is to be determined by a jury. Some jurors may think it should be an hour and some may think it should be a week.
The proprietor of a business is not required to render private offices, storerooms, or other places used solely by employees safe for customers.
Kansas comparative fault laws apply to these cases and it is common that the property owner will argue it was the injured person who was at fault for causing the accident. Ultimately, there is a question of fact to determine how much fault rests with the property owner compared to the fault of the injured person. The percentage of fault on the injured person can limit or even prevent any financial recovery. To be able to recover for injuries, the injured person’s fault must be less than 50%.
Our office has years of experience handling premises liability cases. When successful, the injured person can recover all damages including past and future medical expenses, past and future wage loss, and noneconomic losses, past and future, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, disability, disfigurement, loss of time, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium and loss of spousal support. Because the damages are reduced by the percentage of comparative fault determined to be attributable to the injured person, it is extremely important to get an attorney on your side immediately.
As always in personal injury cases, it is important not to talk to the insurance companies or give a taped recorded statement as the statement can cause damage to the case, possibly even ruin the case. This is particularly true in slip and fall and trip and fall cases. We can help you with your case! THE INITIAL CONSULTATION WITH BRIAN & BRIAN IS ALWAYS FREE AND WE CHARGE NOTHING UP FRONT. NO RECOVERY, NO CHARGE TO YOU WHATSOEVER!