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Denver Premises Liability Lawyers

Shopping malls, grocery stores and shopping centers are all great places to take a stroll. But businesses also have an obligation to protect patrons as they’re walking around. Slipping and falling might be embarrassing to you at the moment, but it can cause painful injuries.

Nearly any public or private space has dangers for slip and fall accidents — in legal terms, this is called premises liability. But whether you’re visiting a museum or getting groceries, you have the right to not be hurt by a faulty railing, a rolled-up floor mat or a wet floor.

If you’ve suffered a tripping injury or a falling injury, make sure you contact the Lamber Goodnow injury law team, working with our partner firms throughout Colorado.

Understanding the Law

In general, if you’ve tripped in a store, and your fall was the result of negligence on the part of the property owner, then you have a claim. Property owners must take reasonable measures to make their properties safe. That’s why you see signs about wet floors, or non-skid mats in the produce section at the grocery store.

But if a property owner — even a homeowner — fails to protect you, they might be held liable for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other compensation.

It’s important to work with a reputable Colorado personal injury attorney in cases like this. Choose someone who not only knows the law, but also someone who is experienced in negotiating with insurance companies and handling premises liability claims.

When we take your case, we’ll look at security cameras, your medical bills, the history of the building/area, as well as any previous issues that the property owner might have had. Through our investigation, we’ll be able to establish whether someone was negligent — whether that was a maintenance crew, a construction company, a security guard or someone else — and we’ll begin to prove that someone is liable for your injuries.

If the store or business is found to be at fault, they’ll be responsible to pay for your medical bills and any rehabilitation costs, as well as your lost wages while you were away from work.

Contact our law firm today at 303-800-8888. Speak with a lawyer right away — before speaking with any auto insurance provider if possible. Other steps you can take now!

You Have Slip-And-Fall Accident Questions – We Have Answers:

What is a premises liability lawsuit?

A premises liability lawsuit occurs when a property owner is liable for accidents or injuries that occur on their property.  The type of property ranges, it could be at a person’s residence, a place of business, like a grocery store or office building, or at a zoo or sidewalk.

Under Colorado law, a landowner is considered, “(1) an authorized agent or person in possession of real property, (2) a person legally responsible for the condition of real property, and (3) a person legally responsible for the activities conducted on real property or circumstances existing on real property.”[1]

Does Colorado have any special duties that a property owner owes a trespasser, licensee or invitee?

Landowners, or a person is possession or real property, have different duties of care depending on the category of person who is on their land.

Colorado law employs the Premises Liability Statute. The Premises Liability Statute. This statute requires the court to determine the plaintiff’s status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser to determine which standard of care is owed to the plaintiff at the time of injury.

A trespasser is a person that enters the property without invitation or permission.  Under the Premises Liability statute, a trespasser on land may only recover from a landowner for damages that are willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner.[2]  This means that there is no recovery for the negligence (carelessness) of a landowner; rather, there would only be recovery for the landowner’s intentional torts.

A licensee (social guest) is a person who enters or remains upon the property with the consent of the landowner for licensee’s own purpose.[3]  A licensee may recover damages caused by, “(1) the landowner’s deliberate failure to exercise reasonable care in the conduct of the landowner’s active operations upon the property or (2) the landowner’s failure to warn of dangers that are not ordinarily present on the property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew.”[4]

An invitee (a person that enters the property to transact business) is a person who is expressly or impliedly invited by the landowner onto the real property for the purposes of the landowner.[5]  An invitee may recover damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers that they actually knew or should have known.[6]

What is an attractive nuisance?

The attractive nuisance doctrine was developed to provide legal relief for certain trespassing children that were lured onto a property, and injured, by an object that is likely to attract children.

Generally, under Colorado law, a trespasser may only recover from a landowner because of their willful or deliberate acts.  However, under the attractive nuisance doctrine, children under 14[7] may recover if they are trespassing on land and injured under certain circumstances.

What is a slip and fall accident?

“Slip and fall” is a term that is used in a case where a person trips or slips and is injured on someone else’s property.  The slip and fall cases are personal injury cases and usually fall under the broader category premises liability claims.  These injuries usually occur on the property of someone else, and the property owner may be held legally responsible.

Examples of a slip and fall accident may be tripping on slippery flooring at a business, tripping because of poor lightening or torn carpeting at someone’s residence, falling on a cracked or broken public sidewalk, or slipping at the entryway to a store because of snow, rain or ice.

If I slip and fall on a sidewalk is the business that is next to the sidewalk liable?

Generally, under the Premises Liability Statute, the owner of property abutting a public sidewalk did not owe a duty to pedestrians to keep the walks adjacent to his property free from snow and ice that accumulated through natural causes.[8]

However, many municipalities have ordinances that require abutting owners to keep sidewalks belonging to the municipality free from snow and ice.  Such municipalities set forth penalties for failing to comply.[9]  Yet, these penalties may only be penal in nature, and do not impose civil liability for damages.[10]

Landowners may be liable for placing obstructions on the sidewalk that cause pedestrians injuries, or for creating a condition that may cause injury.[11]  An example of this is when a business owner moves a downspout onto the sidewalk and the water from the downspout freezes on the sidewalk causing a postman to slip and fall.[12]

If I own a business will I be liable for the criminal acts that third parties may cause my patrons?

Under certain circumstances a business owner may be liable for the criminal acts that a third party may cause to their patrons.  Under the Premises Liability Statute, a business proprietor may be responsible for injury resulting from the foreseeable criminal acts of third persons.[13]

For this to occur, a landowner must deliberately fail to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers that are not ordinarily present on the property, and they must have actually known about the danger.[14]

If I am invited to a friend’s home and I am injured who is liable?

Under the Premises Liability Statute, if you are invited to a friend’s home you are considered a licensee, which is a social guest.  If you were to slip and fall, or injury yourself in your friend’s residence, they may be liable for your injuries if they deliberately failed to exercise reasonable care in operations on their property, or if they failed to warn you of dangers that they knew about that are not ordinarily on a property of the type that you were visiting.[15]

If I fall while I am shopping at a business, who is liable?

Under the Premises Liability Statute, if you are shopping at a business you are considered an invitee, and have been expressly or impliedly invited by the landowner onto their property for the purposes of the landowner.

If you fall while shopping at the landowner’s business, the landowner may be liable for your injuries if they were unreasonable in their failure to exercise reasonable care to protect you from dangers that they knew or should have known which were in their store.[16]  An example of this is if there was a water leak on the floor that made the concrete slippery and dangerous and the landowner knew of the condition but did nothing to clean the water.

If I rent a property, is my landlord responsible for injuries to my guests that occur on the premises?

Generally, under Colorado law, a landlord is not liable for the injuries to the tenant’s guests that occur on the leased property.  However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

The first is that a landlord will be liable if they are aware of a defect at the time of entering into the lease and the condition was not ascertainable by the tenant through a reasonable inspection of the premises.[17]

The second exception is where the landlord contracts to repair a defective condition, which existed before the tenant occupied the premises.[18]

The third exception is when the landlord leased the property for public, or semi-public use and knew or should have known of a dangerous condition existing at the time the property was leased.[19]

The final exception is if a landlord retained control of a portion of the leased premises for the use and benefit of all of the tenants they must exercise reasonable care to keep those portions in safe condition.[20]  Examples of this are parking areas, elevators and sidewalks.

What if I am injured while skiing in Colorado?

If you are injured while skiing you generally will not be able to recover unless there has not been warning signs posted, or unless a ski-area operator in the parking lot injured you.[21]

Under the Ski Safety Act, ski areas are protected from liability for injuries or death resulting from the “inherent dangers and risks of skiing.” The inherent dangers and risks of skiing are defined to include “weather conditions, snow conditions, surface and subsurface conditions, natural objects, man-made objects, variation in the steepness or terrain (whether natural or as a result of slope design, snow making or grooming operations) roads, collisions with other skiers, and the failure of the skier to ski within his own abilities.”[22]

Get Your Free Consultation Today

By working with the Lamber Goodnow legal team, you get to work with us under our No-Fee Promise. Through this process, you won’t have to pay out-of-pocket expenses while we pursue your case. Instead, we’ll foot the bill, and we won’t get paid unless or until we win for you through a settlement or in a verdict.

To find out more, schedule a no-obligation consultation with us today by calling (303) 800-8888. We’ll talk to you, go over your options and answer your questions. If you’re suffering from a falling injury, make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

 

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