Experienced Premises Liability & Slip-and-Fall Attorney
Serving Denver & the Greater Colorado Area for Three Decades
It’s the responsibility of any property owner, whether it’s a business, a residence, or public property, to keep their property safe. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident on someone else’s property in Colorado, before you talk to anyone from the other party’s insurance company, talk to me.
I’ve handled thousands of premises liability and slip-and-fall cases over the past 30 years. Contact me for a free consultation at (303) 454-8000 or toll-free at (800) ROSEN-911.
Colorado Premises Liability Facts & Resources
Premises liability is the legal liability of landowners for injuries that happen because of dangerous conditions on their property. If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, don’t be negligent about pursuing your rights in the matter. Learn the facts, the law, and your options.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
Remember these important steps if you’re involved in a slip and fall accident, or any type of accident on someone else’s property:
- Seek medical attention. As with any relatively serious injury, you should seek medical attention immediately.
- File an accident report before leaving the premises, if possible.
- Take photos and preserve any evidence you have of the scene, if physically possible.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses to the incident. If you can show evidence that the accident was caused by the negligence of the property owner in maintaining a reasonable level of safety on their property, you may have the elements of a premises liability case.
- Contact an experienced personal injury attorney before you talk to anyone from the other party’s insurance company.
What Are Some of the Circumstances That Justify a Premises Liability Claim?
One of the most common reasons that people file a premises liability lawsuit is a slip-and-fall injury caused by cracked or elevated sidewalks, missing handrails, inadequate lighting, and wet or slippery surfaces. Premises liability suits are also brought because of swimming pool accidents, falling trees, animal attacks, dangerous construction sites, and products falling off of store shelves.
Generally, most of these accidents result from three basic causes:
- Physical factors such as the lack of a proper handrail on a stairway, foreign objects left on the floor, and slippery floors or loose carpeting can cause a fall. An accumulation of ice or snow on a sidewalk is one of the most common physical factors that can result in a slip and fall accident.
- Environmental factors such as visual distractions, color patterns, and geometric designs can contribute to a fall. For instance, the edges of stairs can be difficult to see unless they are painted with contrasting paint in bright colors, and can cause a person to misstep and fall.
- Personal factors such as poor vision, excessive weight, or wearing improper or damaged footwear can also cause a person to slip and fall. Personal factors may bar recovery in a premises liability case, unless negligence on the part of the property owner was also a contributing factor in the injury.
Other Premises Liability Applications of the Law
Some examples of common types of premises liability cases include slip-and-falls on wet or icy surfaces; trip-and-falls on uneven walkways, loose carpeting, and dangerous obstacles; faulty equipment; insufficient lighting; missing handrails on stairs, unsafe swimming pools and hot tubs; and improperly maintained elevators.
Some cases are not so common though. According to a report on UPI.com, Colorado Judge Michael Hegarty recently recommended that seven lawsuits of negligence and wrongful death against an Aurora movie theater be brought under a premises liability law. Those who were wounded and the family members of those who died in the mass shooting at an Aurora, Colorado, theater in 2012 filed these lawsuits. The complaints allege that the theater should have known about previous criminal activity in the area and should not have had unlocked and unmonitored exit doors and a lack of security personnel.
Does Colorado Have Specific Laws Regarding Premises Liability?
Common law in Colorado provides that when a landowner has a dangerous condition on their property and fails to take necessary precautions to keep visitors safe, a visitor injured on the property may be entitled to compensation. An agent or person in control of the property or conducting an activity on the property may also be held responsible.The main issue in any slip and fall case involves the question of duty. Under Colorado law, the owner, occupant, or lessor of a premises is under a duty of care established by the injured persons status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
- An invitee is someone who has been invited, directly or indirectly, to the property. Customers in a store or patrons in a restaurant are examples of invitees.
- Licensees are individuals who enter the property for their own benefit. An example of a licensee is a houseguest, to whom the property owner owes a duty of care regarding potential and foreseeable dangers on the property.
- A trespasser is someone who enters the property without the permission of the owner. The property owner owes the smallest duty of care to a trespasser who harms himself or herself while on the property.
Those most likely to find themselves defending a premises liability lawsuit include:
- Owners/Managers. Owners and/or managers of hotels, motels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, sports stadiums, restaurants, bars, and movie theaters.
- Landlords. A landlord must ensure that his property is free of structural or other problems that may cause injury to shoppers, tenants, visitors, or anyone else who visits his property. He is also somewhat responsible for ensuring that reasonable security measures are in place on his property to protect people from injury.
- Private Home Owners. Premises liability cases can involve accidents that happen inside or outside of private residences as well as places of public gathering.
What Responsibilities Do Property Owners Have to Maintain Their Property?
Property owners are required by law to maintain their property and to protect certain visitors from injury. An owner’s failure to take care of known problems or to warn visitors about potential hazards can lead to serious injuries as well as liability for those injuries. The visitor must use the property normally, however. If he is injured while acting in a dangerous, careless, unexpected, or unauthorized way, the property owner will not be held responsible.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for My Slip and Fall? Can I Still Recover for My Injuries?
Colorado law allows you to recover damages for a slip-and-fall accident as long as you were not 50 percent or more at fault.
How Long Do I Have to File a Premises Liability Claim in Colorado?
According to Colorado law, a personal injury claim must be filed within two years of the date that the injury occurred.
What Determines How Much Compensation I Will Receive for My Slip-And-Fall Injury?
The type and amount of damages depend on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the circumstances of the accident, and the amount of insurance coverage available. Damages commonly awarded in a premises liability claim include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Do I Need a Lawyer in a Colorado Premises Liability Case?
As is true of all personal injury claims, you may choose to represent yourself in a premises liability case. But such cases can be particularly complex. Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer will help you to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries and to ensure that your legal rights are protected.