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Defining a property owner’s duty of care

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2019 | Personal Injury |

Like most of those that we here at The Law Office of Michael J. Joshi have worked with in the past, you would not dream of inviting another into your home or on to your property in Kansas City without first ensuring that the space was free of any hazards that could potentially cause harm. You no doubt, then, expect that the same courtesy will be afforded to you when you enter on to another’s land. Common courtesy might dictate that property owners meet this standard, yet a question may exists as to what extent they are legally required to. 

In terms of premises liability law, visitors to a property are grouped into three categories: invitees, licensees and trespassers. If you are trespassing on another’s property, the duty of care that property owner may owe to you is limited. Basically, they are not liable for any injuries you suffer or accidents you endure short of intentionally inflicting harm upon you themselves. 

Invitees and licenses are a different matter. Missouri state appellate court rulings have established that a property owner has a duty to protect you and other invitees/licensees from any potential hazards. Actually proving that a hazard was in place, however, may be a little more difficult. To do so, you must do the following: 

  • Show that a dangerous condition did indeed exist
  • Prove that the property owner knew (or should have known through the exercise of average effort) of the hazard
  • Show that the property owner did not do their sue diligence in protecting you from the hazard (or warning you of its presence)
  • Prove that your accident was caused by the hazard

You can learn more about the duty of care a property owner owes to you by continuing to browse through our site.