Can I Still Bring a Premises Liability Claim in Missouri if I Was Injured While Trespassing?

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Aaron House

Can I Still Bring a Premises Liability Claim in Missouri if I Was Injured While Trespassing?

In Missouri, businesses and property owners have a duty to keep their premises in reasonably safe and secure condition. They may be liable for an accident caused by their negligence. This raises an important question: Can a trespasser bring a premises liability claim in Missouri? The answer is technically yes—though in practice, it can be quite challenging for trespassers to bring a successful legal claim. Within this article, our Kansas City premises liability attorney highlights the key things you should know about your rights and your options if you were hurt on another person’s property while “trespassing” in Missouri.

Know the Law in Missouri: Property Owners Do Not Owe Duty of Care to Trespassers

Unfortunately, most people labeled as “trespassers” have a very difficult time bringing a successful premises liability claim after a serious accident. Under Missouri law (Missouri Revised Statute § 537.351), if you are on someone else’s property without permission, the owner does not owe you a duty of care. In other words, there is no general responsibility of that property owner or property occupier (business or organization) to keep you safe.

The Exceptions: “Intentional, Willful, or Wanton” Act

Although trespassers are not owed an overriding duty of care in the same manner as customers and other invited/permitted persons, Missouri law does not outright bar a trespasser from bringing a legal claim against a property owner or a business. Missouri law recognizes that sometimes property owners act in ways that are intentionally harmful or grossly negligent. If an owner does something to hurt a trespasser on purpose or acts in a way that shows a complete disregard for their safety—often referred to as willful or wanton conduct—the trespasser might have a case. As these are complicated cases, it is imperative that an injured victim is represented by a top-tier Kansas City premises liability attorney.

Another Consideration: What Constitutes Trespassing is Not Always Clear

Were you actually trespassing at the time of the accident? The property owner, business, and/or their insurance company does not get to make the final call. There is a legal definition of trespassing for the purposes of premises liability claims, and whether or not a person was permitted to be on the premises is not always so straightforward. If it was not clear that you were trespassing or if you had a reason to believe you could be on the property, the owner might owe you a higher duty of care. You have the right to challenge the contention that you were trespassing.

Contact Our Kansas City Premises Liability Attorney for a Free Case Review

At House Law LLC, our Kansas City personal injury attorney has extensive experience taking on complex premises liability claims. Hurt in an accident on another person’s property? Contact us right away to set up a no-fee, no-commitment initial appointment. From our Kansas City office, we handle premises liability claims throughout the wider region of Missouri, including in Jackson County, Clay County, Cass County, Platte County, Johnson County, Ray County, and Clinton County.

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