Visits to other people's property, whether a private residence, business office, retail store or other public place are part of everyday life, and nobody embarks on such outings expecting to suffer serious physical harm. Unfortunately, it is all too often the case that hazards present on such premises end up producing severe injuries and sometimes even worse, leaving victims wondering how they will ever recover. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal knows the pain and upheaval that result from being injured as a guest on another party's property and is prepared to help individuals across Colorado receive maximum financial compensation from those responsible.
Colorado's Premises Liability Act
As is the case in many other jurisdictions across the country, Colorado's Premises Liability Statute establishes the duty of care a landowner has to those who visit his or her property. This legislation offers important guidance concerning when and under what circumstances and injured guest may be able to pursue financial compensation in the aftermath of accidental harm. Of critical importance in terms of a property owner's liability is the legal status of a particular visitor at the time of the event in question, something which must be concretely determined before a claim can properly proceed.
Importance of Visitor's Status in Assessing Liability
For the purposes of premises liability matters, the first key category of guest is that of the “invitee.” Such individuals are those who have been extended an invitation to enter or visit an owner's premises for the express benefit of the person in possession of the property. This is frequently seen in the context of a retail or other sort of business enterprise where customers or clients routinely appear in person. Under these types of scenarios, the property owner owes a high duty of care to ensure against dangers known to that individual or risks of which he or she should have been aware.
The next classification of guest is that of the “licensee.” This is someone who has been extended an invitation to enter or remain on an owner's property for a non-business purpose, perhaps for a social visit to a residential home. Licensees are owed a similarly high duty by property owners to exercise a reasonable degree of care with regard to hazards they created or of which they were aware. Failure to warn about or prevent such risks can cause liability to attach.
A final category of guest which must be examined is that of the “trespasser.” This is an individual who enters upon another party's property without an implied or express invitation to do so. In most instances, trespassers are unable to recover compensation for harm sustained on the owner's premises unless the person in possession of the property deliberately or willfully causes the injuries alleged.
Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
There are numerous factual scenarios which can give rise to a premises liability claim due to injuries suffered as a guest. Some of the most commonly seen circumstances include:
- a property owner's failure to clear accumulations of ice and/or snow from areas known to be frequented by licensees or invitees
- slip and fall events occurring at retail stores, dining establishments and other places in which spills are not promptly addressed
- accidents resulting from improper facility maintenance which could include cracked or uneven stairways, loose railings, exposed wiring and other similar physical hazards which are not remedied or marked
Establishing Property Owner Liability
Premises liability claims generally proceed under theories of negligence, and in order for a plaintiff to prevail, it will be necessary to establish a series of critical elements, including:
- the existence of a condition that represented a unreasonable danger
- knowledge on the part of the property owner of the danger or evidence that he or she should have known of the risk
- existence of the property owner's legal duty to the injured party
- property owner's actual failure to address the condition
- the existence and extent of the injuries alleged
Duties Owed to Hotel Guests in Colorado
In addition to general premises liability considerations, Colorado law also affords hotel guests a series of protections and imposes on hotel operators a number of specific duties. Liability can attach if a hotel guest sustains harm and it is established that the proprietor failed to:
- exercise a reasonable degree of care in maintaining the safety of all guests
- provided reasonable protection for guests against harm caused by others
- conduct appropriate background investigations on hotel employees
- ensure the reasonable safety of the hotel premises, including corrective action and necessary warning concerning known hazards
Scenarios in which hotel owners may be found liable for damages suffered by guests can include:
- escalator and elevator malfunctions resulting in injury
- criminal acts committed by improperly screened staffers
- drowning and other pool-related injuries
- lack of security resulting in assault or other criminal acts
- food poisoning at hotel restaurants
- injuries stemming from improperly maintained gym equipment
Potential Compensation for Injuries Suffered as a Guest
Clearly, the realm of accidental injuries routinely suffered by guests on the property of others is extremely broad. Victims may experience everything from cuts and bruises to broken bones, traumatic brain injury or even death. As a result, the compensation potentially available in such cases is often quite substantial. It is not uncommon for successful premises liability plaintiffs to receive payment for things such as lost wages, medical bills, rehabilitation and therapy costs, physical pain, emotional suffering and more. In cases where death results from a property owner's negligence, it may also be possible for surviving dependents to receive compensation for the financial support that would have been provided by the decedent.
Aggressive Pursuit of Justice for Colorado's Injured
Anyone who has ever suffered a serious injury while a guest on another party's property understands the feelings of disappointment and perhaps even betrayal that can arise. Making matters worse is the fact that the resulting pain and suffering can cause extraordinary inconvenience and financial disruption, sometimes for years into the future. If you have been a victim of a property owner's negligence, you owe it to yourself and your family to pursue the compensation you deserve. Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal is prepared to review the facts of your case and begin the process of seeking the resources so essential to your recovery. To schedule a no-cost consultation, contact us at 303.825.2223.