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Premises Liability: Not Just a Wintertime Concern

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When people think of premises liability, they typically think of winter hazards, such as icy parking lots, snowy sidewalks, and slippery steps. But property owners can also be held liable for injuries caused by an uncoiled garden hose left out, a crack in their sidewalk, or even a decorative item placed on their lawn or porch.

There are numerous hazards in the spring and summer that can cause injuries leading to premises liability lawsuits, including:

  • Dangerous balconies and decks
  • Loose railings and boards
  • Wet surfaces, especially decks
  • Slippery grass cuttings on sidewalks
  • Swimming pools
  • Uneven ground
  • Holes in lawns
  • Cracked pavement on sidewalks and driveways
  • Debris from home repair (roofing materials, scraps of wood, nails, etc.)
  • Unwound garden hose
  • Garden tools
  • Decorative lawn ornaments

Premises Liability Law

Accidents leading to premises liability can occur almost anywhere. In the summer, these types of accidents tend to happen in areas frequented by tourists, such as hotels, motels, and theme parks. Some of the common types of accidents and situations that are sometimes considered incidents of premises liability include:

  • Slip and falls
  • Inadequate or negligent security or lighting
  • Falling objects
  • Escalator or elevator accidents
  • Pool drowning
  • Construction site accidents
  • Playground accidents

Property owners are required by law to maintain their property and protect certain visitors from injury. An owner’s failure to take care of known problems or warn visitors about potential hazards sometimes leads to serious injuries as well as liability for those injuries. The visitor must use the property normally, however, and if they get injured while acting in a dangerous, careless, unexpected, or unauthorized way, the property owner will not be held responsible.

Some of the damages that property owners may be held liable for in premises liability cases include:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Loss of income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Premises Liability in Colorado

Colorado law provides that when a landowner has a dangerous condition on their property and fails to take necessary precautions to keep visitors safe, injured individuals may be entitled to compensation. In Colorado, an agent or person in control of the property or conducting an activity on the property may also be held responsible.

Although many people think if they get hurt on someone else’s property they automatically have a premises liability claim, this is not always the case. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove that his injuries were caused by a dangerous condition on the property, and the landowner had notice of the condition and failed to act — allegations that can sometimes be difficult to prove.

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