Proving a Slip and Fall Case in Kansas and Missouri
Imagine you’re strolling through a parking lot after leaving a store in Kansas City. Suddenly, your feet are pulled out from underneath you, and you land flat on your back. At that moment, you have no clue what happened. Was it ice? A hole in the ground?
Regardless the cause, you are in excruciating pain. Maybe it is a broken bone, slipped disc in your back, a concussion or head injury, a twisted ankle, or other injury. You may not know exactly what is wrong or what occurred—but one thing is clear—you need help.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Injury in Kansas City?
Due to your injuries, you are forced to see a doctor—or maybe you’re now headed to the emergency room. Many questions rush through your head:
- Who will pay my medical bills?
- Is the property owner at fault?
- How am I going to be able to go to work?
- Who is going to pay my lost wages?
You are not alone. These are all common questions that we hear from slip and fall injury victims in both Missouri and Kansas. The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus can answer your questions. Call us for a free consultation at 816-203-0143.
Burden of Proof for Slip and Fall in Missouri or Kansas
Here’s an unfortunate fact: Just because you fell on a property does not mean you are automatically entitled to money or support for your injuries. As a personal injury claimant, the burden of proof is on you. This means that, to be entitled to compensation under Missouri or Kansas law, you must prove certain facts and meet certain criteria. To win a slip and fall personal injury case in Missouri or Kansas, you must prove the following three elements:
1. Duty. You must first establish that the property owner or other defendant had a duty of care to keep its property safe and fix any dangerous conditions so that you wouldn’t fall and be injured.
2. Negligence. To prove negligence, you must prove that the property owner breached the duty of care. This means that the property owner failed to take appropriate actions to ensure your safety and prevent you from falling.
3. Damages. You must prove that you sustained damages as a result of your fall. This may include lost wages, medical bills, scarring, future lost earnings capacity or future medical bills.
So remember, in order to have a prevailing claim, you must establish DND. Duty, Negligence (breach of the duty of care), and Damages. Below, we will take a more in-depth look at each of these three requirements.
Duty of Care
In Kansas and Missouri, property owners have a duty of care to certain parties who are on their property. For example, if you are a customer shopping at a retail store in Kansas City, the property owner (and its tenant or maintenance provider) owe you a duty of care to ensure that dangerous conditions are not present. This duty is present because a customer at a store is considered an invitee. The property owner and others are inviting you to shop at the property. As a result of this invitation, the property owner or business are responsible for maintaining/repairing the premises so innocent invitees like yourself are not injured.
Another type of party is a licensee. A licensee is someone who is on a property with permission of the property owner. Due to this permission, the property owner owes the licensee a duty of care. In contrast, a trespasser is on the property without the permission of the owner. Trespassers are owed a lesser duty of care because they are not supposed (or not invited) to be on the property; therefore, the injury is less foreseeable to the property owner.
However, in certain situations, even a trespasser might be owed a duty of care. For example, if a child goes onto a property to use a swimming pool and that child is injured, the property owner might still be found liable. This is because the property owner stills owe a duty to ensure that the child is not hurt by an inherently dangerous object or activity like a swimming pool.
Breach or Liability
The second element you must prove to recover compensation for a slip and fall injury in Missouri or Kansas is a breach of the duty of care—this is known as establishing a liability. This is often the most difficult element to prove in a slip and fall case. This difficulty arises because the property owner or the insurance company will often blame the person who fell as contributing to their injury. The doctrine of comparative fault is used in both Missouri and Kansas to reduce the recovery of a claimant based on his or her comparative fault in causing the accident to occur.
In Kansas, if a claimant is found to be 50% at fault for their injury, they are barred from any recovery. In Missouri, a claimant may still recover 50% of their damages if they are found to be 50% at fault. Comparative fault doctrine is one of the reasons why it is important to consult with a personal injury attorney in Kansas or Missouri if you were injured in a slip and fall accident.
Causation & Damages
The last element that you must prove to recover money for a slip and fall injury in Missouri or Kansas is known as causation/damages. Essentially, you must prove that the property owner’s/manager’s breach of duty caused you to suffer from certain damages. These damages may be economic in the sense that they resulted in a loss that can be mathematically calculated (examples being lost income or medical bills). Additionally, you may be entitled to non-economic damages due to the current or future pain caused by your accident.
Kansas and Missouri law do not specifically define how to calculate pain and suffering. As a result, it can be difficult for claimants to recover a fair settlement for non-economic damages without an experienced personal injury attorney. Our slip and fall attorney in Kansas City can help you understand what damages may be recoverable in your case.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri
Given the complexity of slip and fall injury cases, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced personal injury attorney about your situation. The Law Office of Kevin J. McManus has represented countless victims throughout Missouri and Kansas after an accident—helping them obtain the maximum compensation for their injuries.
Call our Kansas City, Missouri injury law firm at 816-203-0143 for a free, no obligation consultation. We would be happy to review your case and provide free information about how you can ensure your rights are protected and achieve the maximum recovery for your injuries.