Denver Premise Liability Attorney
Whenever an individual enters property occupied by owners – whether it be a restaurant, retail store, grocery store etc. – these owners have a legal obligation to protect the individuals on their premises from harm. This entails ensuring that their property is safe and secure by maintaining safe conditions devoid of defects and malfunctions. When the duty to protect visitors is breached, an injured person may be able to file a premises liability claim. Whether one has a viable claim depends on whether there is an element of negligence, and if the property owner should be legally responsible for the accident. If you have been injured on some else’s premises and you believe their negligence lead to your injuries, talk with our Denver premise liability attorneys for you may be entitled to compensation.
Colorado Premise Liability Resources:
- Colorado Premises Liability Act
- What are common types of premise liability claims?
- Who is responsible for my slip and fall?
- What are property owners liable for in a premise liability case?
- What is the visitors liability in a premise liability case?
- What if I was injured in a hotel accident?
- When should I contact a Denver premise liability lawyer?
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.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
Although many premises liability claims cover slip and falls that occur on someone’s property, there are a multitude of other accidents that can be covered such as:
- Dog bites and animal attacks: Individuals who are bitten by someone’s dog, cat, or other pet are entitled to seek compensation through that person’s homeowners insurance – even if the attack did not occur on that person’s property.
- Negligent security: Visitors to a restaurant, bar, nightclub, gas station, mall, or other commercial property, should expect to be free from harm. Our Denver personal injury attorneys pursue premises liability claims for clients who were attacked at an apartment building, commercial property, or other areas that should have been secure.
- Negligent supervision of children: When a parent trusts his or her child to the care of a teacher, daycare, hospital, or even a foster home, there is a duty of care owed to him or her. If a child has been injured because of a lack of proper supervision, our team can investigate and pursue a claim.
- 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.
- Pool accidents: Children are often the most vulnerable to swimming pool accidents and an incident can happen anywhere from someone’s home to a public pool.
- Shooting accidents: It is important to remember that in cases like these, a lawsuit is filed against the insurance company, not the friend or family member so that victims can get the compensation they need to move past the accident.
Slip and Fall Liability Claims
Most injuries that inspire an injured person to file a premises liability claim stem from a slip and fall accident. Each state assigns liability in civil cases differently. In Colorado, courts adhere to a system of modified comparative fault. This means that an injured party may only recover damages if he or she is found to be less than 50% liable for their own injuries.
For example, let’s say you decide to talk up a stairway while simultaneously texting a friend. While distracted, you don’t notice a sign saying that a handrail is broken and will be fixed shortly. When you reach the top of the stairway, you lose your balance and reach out for the handrail, but it falters, causing you to fall down a flight of stairs. A court may find that you are somewhat responsible for your injuries, due to the fact that a sign was there, but you didn’t bother to read it. Other factors of a case may pin some liability to the premises owner. Nevertheless, if a judge or jury finds that you are 70% liable for your injuries, you will not be able to recover damages.
The Duty of Colorado Property Owners
When a visitor enters a property, they have every right to have a reasonable expectation of staying safe and unscathed upon abiding in a space. In accordance with Colorado law, a landowner must take all necessary precautions to ensure visitors are protected. This effort is called the duty of care. In the event that this duty is breached and a visitor is injured, a plaintiff may be able to file a premises liability claim. In order for this claim to be considered viable in a court of law, it must include several elements that prove the actions, or lack of actions, constitute as negligence. Therefore, through evidence and testimonials and with the assistance of a skilled Denver premise liability attorney, a plaintiff should be able to comprehensively prove all of the following elements:
- A landowner knew, or should have reasonably known, that the space they own and maintain is unsafe,
- With this apparent knowledge, the landowner failed to make any efforts to remedy or correct the unsafe conditions of his or her premises
- There was a correlation between the landowner’s failure to take steps to ensure the safety of visitors and the injury inflicted upon a visitor, and
- The injury led to damages and losses that a plaintiff wishes to be compensated for
It’s important to note that assessing an owner’s “reasonableness” depends on their prior efforts to maintain safe and secure premises and their realistic ability to correct a hazardous space.
For example, let’s say a teenager in a grocery store accidentally spills soda in an aisle and leaves the spill to get help from an employee. One minute later, you enter the aisle completely focused on shopping, and you slip and fall in the puddle, injuring yourself. Since the hazardous area had not been there long enough for the owner to be informed of it, there would be no way to clean up the spill within a reasonable amount of time. Therefore, a court may find that a landowner is not at fault for a plaintiff’s injury.
Minor details of any accident on another persons property should be discussed with a Denver premise liability attorney to determine if an injured person’s claim would be feasible to a court of law.
Visitor Status In Premise Liability Claims
As mentioned earlier, determining liability in a premise liability case almost always involves the question of duty. Various degrees of responsibility is owed to visitors based on their status. Under Colorado law, there are three types of visitors: an invitee, a licensee, and a trespasser.
Invitees are members of the public that have explicitly or indirectly been asked to enter and remain on a property. In most case, invitees are individuals who go to places that are available to the public. Guests in a restaurant or consumers in a store are examples of invitees.
Unsurprisingly, these types of visitors are the ones that most commonly file premises liability claims due to the fact that they are granted the highest duty owed by a property owner. Landowners are obligated to warn invitees about blatant and observable defects and malfunctions. If they themselves are unaware of these potential hazards, they are required to conduct inspections to locate them on their premises.
A licensee is an individual who obtains the privilege of entering or remaining on premises for their own benefit. An example of a licensee would be a house guest. A licensee injured on a property and wishes to pursue legal recourse must prove, with the help of a legal professional, that the owner was knowledgeable of unsafe conditions and did not provide an adequate warning. However, licensees have the burden of proving that he or she was not aware, and could not have been reasonably aware of the hazardous conditions prior to being injured in the accident.
Trespassers are referred to as individuals who enter a property without the permission of a landowner. The only way a trespasser may recover damages while unlawfully on premises is when an owner exhibits willful misconduct – intentional conduct that an owner knows, or should have reasonably known would end in an injury to the trespasser.
Premise Liability and Hotel Guests
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
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.
Learn How a Denver Premise Liability Attorney Can Help
If you have been injured on another persons property but are not sure what type of lawsuit you should file, a premise liability claim may be worth investigating. Contacting a premises liability attorney in Denver about your accident is the first step and the Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal has experience handling these types of cases. We offers a free consultation to all potential clients. Call the office today at (303) 825-2223, or click here to fill out the online form.