To win a premises liability case, you need to prove that the property owner, or those who control and maintain the property, were negligent. Usually, this means that you have to show that they created a dangerous condition or failed to exercise reasonable care to keep the property free of a dangerous condition.
Simply because you get hurt on someone's property, does not mean that the owner or those who control and maintain the property were negligent. Also, you won't automatically win just because an unsafe condition existed on the property that resulted in your injury. To win your case, you have to show that you got hurt because the property owner, or those controlling or maintaining the property, knew or could have known that the property was unsafe and failed to take reasonable steps to warn of or fix the problem. This rule generally applies to cases like slips and falls at restaurants and retailers, to falling merchandise at grocery stores or big box stores or to a dangerous condition at someone's home.
The law is a bit different when it comes to falls due snow and ice. Missouri and Illinois follow the “natural accumulation rule.” That is, property owners in Missouri and Illinois have no duty to remove snow or ice that accumulates naturally. Moreover, the law protects property owners who reasonably attempt to clear the accumulation.
For example, private homeowners and/or owners of businesses don't have to clear their walkways if it snows. They are not responsible if a guest or a business visitor falls on the otherwise untouched snow or ice on their walkway. To win an injury case, you have to show that the property owner, or its maintenance company, did a bad job by not completely clearing/shoveling the walkway or did something else wrong like piled snow and blocked a drainage system causing melted ice to pool and re-freeze or failed to use enough salt that initially melted ice that later re-froze and caused you to slip, fall and get hurt.
Insurance companies will almost always try to place blame on the injury victim and say they should have "seen the danger", “been more careful” or that they are "responsible for their own injury." Despite these “comparative” or “contributory” fault arguments, property owners oftentimes negligently violate their own rules and procedures and create or allow a dangerous condition to exist that results in serious injury.
Call us to get advice on how to deal with these insurance companies and for the help you will need so those who caused you to get hurt are held responsible. 314-300-8380