To succeed on a slip and fall or trip and fall personal injury case (referred to as a “premises liability case”), a plaintiff has to show: (1) a dangerous condition existed on the premises which involved an unreasonable risk of harm; (2) the premises owner knew or by using ordinary care should have known of the dangerous condition; (3) the premises owner failed to use ordinary care in removing or warning of the danger; and (4) the plaintiff sustained injuries as a result of the dangerous condition. Montgomery v. Wilson, 331 S.W.3d 332, 336 (Mo. App. W.D. 2011).
Thus, the first question to ask when evaluating whether you have a slip and fall case or trip and fall case is whether you encountered a dangerous condition. Generally, a condition is dangerous where “its existence, without the intervention by third parties, posed a physical threat to plaintiff.” Kraus v. Hy-Vee, Inc., 147 S.W.3d 907, 915 (Mo. App. 2004); citing Alexander v. State, 756 S.W.2d 539, 542 (Mo. banc 1988). A dangerous condition exists as a matter of law when there is (1) “physical defect” in the physical condition of the property; or (2) “physical deficiency” in property, apart from any inherent defect in the physical condition of the property itself, if the dangerous condition was created by positioning various objects on the property and not by intrinsic defects in the property. State ex rel. City of Marston v. Mann, 921 S.W.2d 10, 102 (Mo. App. S.D. 1996).
Over the years, Missouri Courts have found the following to be “dangerous conditions”:
A warning cone in the walkway of a restaurant.Rycraw v. White Castle Systems, Inc., 28 S.W.3d 495 (Mo. App. E.D. 2000); Luthy v. Denny’s Inc., 782 S.W.2d 661, 663 (Mo. App. W.D. 1989).
A briefcase in the walkway of a hospital.Morrison v. St. Luke’s Health Corp., 929 S.W.2d 898, 903 (Mo. App. E.D. 1996)
A lava rock scattered from landscaping onto sidewalk.Smith v. Callaway Bank, 359 S.W.3d 545, 547 (Mo. App. W.D. 2012)
A soda bottle on the ground in the grass of a curb-cut at a retail store.Hutson v. Bot Investment Co., 3 S.W.3d 878 (Mo. App. S.D. 1999)
A lighted, small oil lamp on the floor of a home that caused a person’s clothes to catch fire when it came into contact.Nagaragadde v. Pandurangi, 216 S.W.3d 241 (Mo. App. W.D. 2007) (in dicta)
Negligent placement of a folding room partition at the foot of a ladder on which plaintiff was working.Alexander v. State, 756 S.W.2d 539, 542 (Mo. banc 1988)
Negligent failure to remove debris on grounds contributed to creating a dangerous condition which resulted in death when debris was flung by lawn mower.Jones v. St. Louis Housing Auth., 726 S.W.2d 766, 774 (Mo. App. 1987)
If you or a loved one have been injured due to a dangerous condition at a place of business, please do not hesitate to call my office at (314) 328-0123.