A four-day trial concluded recently in the Colorado's 6th Judicial District Court, with a jury awarding $225,000 to Kathy Sloan, who was injured in front of Maria's Bookshop, a local bookstore that has been in Durango for over 30 years. Sloan had visited the store for a purchase and was exiting the retailer when she attempted to dodge an oncoming pedestrian. In her efforts to avoid a collision, Sloan's foot landed in a dog water bowl resulting in damage to her foot and ankle. She suffered broken bones that were surgically mended by attaching a metal stabilizer plate and screws. Since the incident, she has experienced numbness in that foot. Peter Schertz, the owner of the store, acknowledged that the situation was unfortunate and said that he had that dog bowl in the same place for over 15 years without an incident. Durango is widely considered to be a “dog-friendly” city. Sloan stated that she is an animal lover, yet feels that placing water bowls on the sidewalk creates an unnecessary hazard.
Injury Victim Has Some Lasting Effects
Following the accident, Sloan had a cast on her leg for roughly eight weeks and was restricted from walking for nearly three months. She was unable to attend her daughter's military graduation. She had previously remained active during the course of her life, completing multiple marathons and Ironman events, but the injury has diminished her ability to run. When she visits Durango now, she stops at retailers with dog bowls positioned on the sidewalk and encourages them to reposition them in safer locations.
Durango Code Enforcement
Steve Barkley works in code enforcement for the city and explained that dog bowls are considered to be obstructive when placed in areas of foot traffic. Up until the recent incident at Maria's, he was unaware of other such accidents. The Business Improvement District says that they do encourage retailers to keep their walkways clear of objects. Jen Reeder of the U.S. Dog Writers Association says that businesses have increasingly been trying to appeal to pet owners through actions such as providing water because consumers spend about $60 million annually on pet-related products and services.
Colorado Premises Liability Statute
The Colorado Statute explains that landowners or agents in possession of a property are legally responsible for accidents that occur based on the circumstances. Landowners owe a duty of care to those on their property and should warn visitors of potential dangers that they are aware of (or should be aware of). A landowner who fails to exercise reasonable care may be liable for damages according to the statute.
The Law Firm of Jeremy Rosenthal advocates for those who have suffered an injury in matters of premises liability. Some of the common cases involve cracked, damaged & slippery floors, collapsing stairs, and detached handrails. Contact the office to discuss how we may be able to assist you in obtaining financial compensation at (303) 825-2223.