No Attorney Fees Unless We Help You Recover Money
At Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, we’ve been helping people recover full and fair money damages for accident injuries and wrongful death since 1949. If you’ve been injured in an accident or lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, we have the experience to assist you fee-free until your case is settled or won.
We Offer the Experienced Representation You Need.
Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman is one of the Kansas City region’s prominent personal injury litigation law firms. Our attorneys have earned recognition as Super Lawyers and Best Lawyers in America in our legal community. We work as a team to ensure every client receives the benefit of many years of trial innovation, experience and skill. When necessary, we also rely on the expertise of independent accident investigators and medical specialists to develop the strongest case possible for maximum money damages.
We Have Proven Experience with Slip-and-Fall Injury Cases.
Property owners have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to ensure that customers and visitors to their property are kept safe from danger. People often think of premises liability accidents as the sole responsibility of the landowner or manager. Often though, there may be multiple levels of liability, including:
- Property owners
- Maintenance contractors
- Building designers
- Construction companies
- Management companies
A serious slip-and-fall injury can result in fractures, muscle damage, spinal cord injuries and serious head injuries. To win a premises liability claim against the responsible parties, your attorney will need to tie your accident and financial losses to evidence proving clear negligence.
We represent individuals and families in slip-and-fall claims such as:
- Retail store accidents, parking lot injuries
- Assault injuries, insufficient security
- Playground and swimming pool accidents
- Environmental contamination
- Construction site accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Oil and gas field injuries
- Public transportation accidents
Contact our slip-and-fall injury lawyers to learn more about our record of success. Our experienced trial attorneys represent clients in cases throughout Missouri, Kansas and the Midwest.
You can call us at (816) 542-5999 to arrange a free consultation. If you can’t come to us, we’ll try our best to come to you. Contact us today.
Q:What is premises liability law?
A:Premises liability is the body of law that determines the responsibility of a property owner for injuries suffered by others while on his property. This includes instances in which a person is injured on public land/property, in a home, or in a business or another type of private or public property.
Q:When is a property owner liable for an accident?
A:A property owner is not necessarily responsible simply because someone has been injured while on the property. Generally, a property owner is responsible for injuries on the property if the owner was negligent. A property owner is negligent if they breached a duty of care owed to the injured individual. For example, an owner of a grocery store would likely have a duty to keep the floor dry (or post a warning if the floor is wet) to prevent shoppers from slipping and injuring themselves. An owner of an apartment of complex might have a duty to repair a broken stair so that a tenant or visitor descending the stairs would not get hurt. An office building owner would probably have a duty to comply with electrical safety codes so tenants and visitors to the building would not be placed in harm’s way. When property owners fail to uphold the duty of care, meaning they fail to conduct property maintenance or fail to remove, repair, or warn of dangerous conditions in a timely manner, they can be held legally liable for any accidents or injuries that result. Generally speaking, to hold a property owner liable, you must prove that they knew about or should have known about the dangerous condition.
Q:What duty of care does a property owner have?
A:The law that governs a property owner’s duty of care varies somewhat depending on the jurisdiction. In many jurisdictions, a property owner owes a property entrant a different duty of care depending on the status of the entrant as a business invitee, a social guest, or a trespasser. A business invitee is on the property owner’s premises at the invitation of the property owner and ordinarily for the mutual economic benefit of both. A social guest is on the premises at the invitation of the property owner but not for the economic benefit of the owner. A trespasser is on the premises without permission. In those jurisdictions that base a property owner’s duty of care on the status of the entrant, the property owner generally owes the highest duty of care to a business invitee, and the lowest duty of care to a trespasser. Some jurisdictions no longer consider the status of the entrant and hold the property owner to the same duty for all entrants on the premises. Missouri is one of the states that does consider the status of the entrant when determining the duty of care owed by the property owner.
Q:Do I have grounds for a premises liability claim?
A:When determining whether to file a claim or lawsuit on behalf of an injured individual, our firm looks at several factors. First and foremost, we must determine that we can meet the burden of proof in your case. This involves proving that 1) the property owner owed you a duty of care based on your status as an entrant, meaning you were lawfully on the property when you were injured; 2) the property owner was negligent, meaning they failed to remove, repair, or warn of a dangerous property condition or failed to conduct adequate property maintenance; and 3) you suffered significant injuries/damages, justifying the filing of a claim.
Q:What is "causation" in a premises liability case?
A:Causation is an important legal principal that requires the injured party to establish a direct connection between the negligent act or acts of the property owner and the injuries and damages claimed. For example, if the property owner (known in these cases as the “defendant”) is able to demonstrate that the damages the injured plaintiff is claiming resulted from something other than the defendant’s acts of negligence (e.g., the plaintiff had a preexisting physical condition that explains all of the plaintiff’s injuries and damages), causation would likely not be proven to exist.
Q:What damages does the law allow a plaintiff to recover in a premises liability case?
A:Generally, the plaintiff is to be reasonably compensated for all injuries and losses resulting from the occurrence in question. Damages are divided in most jurisdictions between two general categories—economic (past and future), and non-economic (past and future). Economic damages typically entail anything that can be given a set monetary value, such as medical bills, lost wages, and other costs arising from the plaintiff’s injuries. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, represent intangible losses the plaintiff has suffered as a result of the accident and/or their injuries. Non-economic damages might include things like pain and suffering, emotional trauma, disfigurement, and loss of enjoyment of life. In some instances, non-economic damages are subject to caps imposed by the state, but there are no caps on non-economic damages in premises liability cases in Missouri.
Q:Can punitive damages be recovered in a premises liability case?
A:Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and deter others from engaging in similar conduct. Ordinary negligence on the part of a property owner is not enough to allow a plaintiff to recover punitive damages. Rather, most jurisdictions require proof of misconduct beyond ordinary negligence. This would usually mean proof that the defendant acted in a “wanton or intentional” way, which would include the “reckless disregard” of a known danger to the plaintiff’s health and safety. It is often difficult to establish conduct on the part of the defendant sufficient to allow recovery of punitive damages.
Q:Is it necessary to use expert witnesses to prove a premises liability case?
A:Experts witnesses are individuals specially qualified by experience or training who possess knowledge on matters not commonly understood by the general public. Experts can be used in premises liability cases when the experts’ testimony can educate the jury about matters not commonly understood by the general public. For instance, an expert might assist the jury in determining whether the property owner defendant complied with building codes and local ordinances. Medical experts and economists are usually necessary, as well.
Q:Can a property owner be liable for criminal acts that occur on the property owner's premises?
A:In many jurisdictions, a property owner can be liable for criminal acts committed against a person on the property if the property owner knew or had reason to know that an attack by a criminal was likely. This might require that a plaintiff establish a significant period of criminal activity on or about the premises that would put a reasonable property owner on notice that security measures were necessary to protect property entrants. Such liability on the part of a property owner might also arise in a case where a specific individual has threatened to do harm to the property owner, or someone else on the property owner’s premises. For example, if a property owner knew that someone had placed a bomb on his property and failed to evacuate the premises, he might be liable for injuries and damages that occurred as a result of the bomb.
Q:How do I know if I have a premises liability claim that should be pursued?
A:The best way for an individual to evaluate a premises liability claim is to discuss the matter with an attorney. An attorney will evaluate the matter through an investigation of the facts surrounding the potential premises liability claim, exploration of issues of causation, and assessment of the extent of injuries and damages resulting from the alleged negligence on the part of the property owner. Our firm handles such cases and can meet with prospective clients to discuss and evaluate a potential premises liability claim.