Mansorian law group
Colorado Premises Liability Lawyer
The moment you enter the premises of any property unowned by you, the property owner automatically becomes liable for any harm that should happen to you while you’re on their land. If an owner fails to upkeep safe conditions on their property, an innocent visitor could quickly become the victim of a harmful accident in a matter of seconds.
In all states, including Colorado, land and property owners have a responsibility to make an effort to protect those visiting. All landowners, including those of retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants, or even residential properties, have a legal obligation to ensure that their property is maintained and free from known hazards to avoid any injuries that could potentially occur.
Unfortunately, visitors and company are not always protected by landowners’ efforts—or lack thereof—which often results in premises liability. As residents or visitors of Colorado, it’s crucial to acknowledge and understand your rights when an accident occurs on someone else’s property.
That said, we’ll cover the most pressing questions and concerns about navigating premises liability claims and slip and fall accidents in Colorado to ensure that you are always protected by the law.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal doctrine placed to protect all individuals who may run into harm on another person’s property. Since all landowners are responsible for visitors’ safety while on their property, it is their duty to maintain a safe environment.
The category of negligence action that is premises liability is a beneficial legal measure that holds all landowners responsible for neglectful efforts that may have ultimately led to injury or death. For example, a property owner might neglect cleaning up a spill, resulting in the fall of a visitor and his or her subsequent injuries.
Types of Cases Under the Premises Liability Category
Any danger presented on a property can result in a premises liability claim. That said, there are plenty of dangerous conditions that could lead to injury or death, including the following examples:
- Water or liquid on the ground
- An excess of furniture or debris on the ground
- Unsecure merchandise on elevated shelves
- Icy pavement
- Broken hand railings
- Electrical hazards
- Chemical spills
- Swimming pools
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate security
- Animal bites
- Elevator and escalator problems
- Fire hazards
The Duty of Landowners in Colorado
Regardless of the dangers posed on any particular property, the most mattering factor that comes into play is what the landowner could have done to prevent the accident from happening in the first place.
If an accident happens due to dangerous conditions, the premises owner is questioned regarding the actions—or lack thereof—that they took to help mitigate the problem. For example, was the owner or responsible party aware of the hazard? If not, should they have been aware of it? Did they do their duty of warning visitors?
An owner’s liability becomes blurred based on the visitor’s status at the time of the accident. In other words, a landowner’s duty to a person varies depending on his or her relationship to the property. The exact precautions that a Colorado owner should take to prevent harm to guests depends largely on the reason why they entered the premises to begin with.
How Visitor Statuses Affect Premises Liability Cases
Colorado’s premises liability law can be quite complex depending on a variety of factors, particularly accountability. There are three categories or statuses that can classify a visitor that enters a property: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Landowners owe different duties to each.
An invitee is a member of the public who is invited to enter the property and stay for various purposes. Typically, invitees are the individuals who visit public places, such as guests at a restaurant and customers in stores. Property owners owe the highest level of duty to invitees since they explicitly invite these individuals onto their property and have an obligation to protect them; this includes warning them of any potential dangers on the premises.
A licensee is a mutual guest that welcomes themselves onto a property, such as a guest in someone else’s home. A property owner might not be as highly obligated to a licensee as they are to an invitee, but the standards remain fairly high. Although a licensee has a more difficult time proving negligence on the owner’s part, there is still a risk of liability.
A trespasser is a person who enters a property, or a restricted area of a property, without permission. While they might not be welcome in the first place, a landowner has a duty to trespassers by not setting traps or causing deliberate harm to them. Trespassers can receive damages if a property owner intentionally causes them injury.
Slip and Fall Liability
Nearly anything that could potentially be a danger to anyone visiting the property is a liability. However, the most common problem that property guests run into is slips and falls. Most premises liability claims filed begin with a slip and a fall on someone else’s property, many of which could have been prevented. That said, plaintiffs typically file claims in search of compensation for their slip and fall injuries.
In Colorado, slip and fall claims fall under the state’s comparative fault rule. The comparative negligence rule entails that you, as the victim of the slip and fall, could be subject to a reduction in damages depending on which portion of the accident was your fault.
For example, if you walk into a building and slip due to the floors being freshly waxed, you could be at fault if you were texting and missed the wet floor sign on your way in. If a judge decides that you were 50 percent or more at fault for your injuries, then you’re likely ineligible to receive any damages. However, if you can prove that most of the negligence was the landowner’s fault, you would still be eligible to receive damages for your case.
Numerous factors are involved in slip and fall liability, including whether you, as the plaintiff, were legally on the property at the time of the fall. Other questions to consider include:
- Would a reasonable person or visitor have known to avoid the danger? In other words, could you have avoided the accident?
- Did the owner make an effort to address or warn guests of the hazard?
- Were you acting reasonably and responsibly for your own safety as a visitor?
Filing a Claim
As a victim in a slip and fall accident or any other premises liability, filing a claim is an important measure to take to ensure that you’re being compensated for your injuries and protected by the law. Taking the proper steps toward filing a claim can position you for a strong case and sufficient damages. However, it’s essential to file a claim quickly as the statute of limitations for a slip and fall or premises liability is only two years. That means, as the plaintiff, you’ll have two years from the date of the accident—and, in particular cases, the date of the discovered injury—to take legal action.
To file a valid premises liability or slip and fall claim in Colorado, you must also have the ability to prove liability on the property owner’s part. Proving negligence includes providing evidence for a breach in the property owner’s duty of care, that the breach was what led to your injuries, and that the sustained injuries should be amended through deserved damages.
Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability dangers can result in various injuries; in some unfortunate circumstances, they could be fatal. Common injuries include herniated discs, broken or fractured bones, head injuries, neck injuries, spinal damage, and even traumatic brain injuries. The premises liability doctrine in Colorado is an individual’s best route to protect their rights as a member of the public and receive compensation for any grievance caused by neglectful ownership of a property.
Depending on the nature of the visit, an individual who may have been injured or killed due to dangerous conditions on the property can file a premises liability or a slip and fall claim that will allow for potential compensation for any damages concerning the accident. For major injuries, filing a claim can be the best avenue to replace a significant amount of the plaintiff’s related expenses. The following damages can be recovered in a successful claim:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income for time taken away from work
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish or inability to feel joy as a result of the accident
- Disability and newfound limitations expenses
- Out-of-pocket costs (e.g., attorney fees and other considerable debts)
Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for an Accident on Someone Else’s Property?
There are plenty of personal injury accidents that may not require the help of a premises liability or slip and fall attorney, such as minor injuries that can be resolved through worker’s compensation claims.
However, hiring an attorney for a premises liability claim can be a considerable aid for individuals who have suffered significant injuries or wrongful death. If the acquired injuries are serious, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Even in minor cases, those who take action unrepresented have a far lesser chance of a successful claim than those who have an educated attorney by their side.
A competent attorney specializing in premises liability and slip and fall cases can help take the stress off of filing a claim while understanding all of the factors involved in cases like yours. Even in the smallest of instances, it’s essential to document damages and acknowledge the property owner’s liability in the case. An attorney will provide you with all of the training and information you’ll need to file a premises liability claim and come out on the other side successfully. Not to mention, they’ll do the most to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that you deserve for your pain and suffering.
Do You Have A Case?
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