Important Things to Know After a Slip and Fall in Colorado
Any time a person visits a friend’s house, shops in a store, or even just walks down a city sidewalk, that person has the right to do so safely. If that does not happen and a dangerous condition on that property causes a person to slip, fall, and become injured, he or she is often entitled to compensation for those injuries. Colorado, like all other states, has slip and fall laws that allow those injured on someone else’s property to collect damages that can help pay for any expenses related to the accident.
These laws are intricate and often confusing. Anyone injured in a slip and fall accident should speak to a personal injury attorney who can help.
Colorado Premises Liability Act
Slip and fall accidents are governed by premises liability law in Colorado. The Colorado Premises Liability Act covers these laws. The law defines the relationship between the landowner and the person injured. The relationship will dictate what type of damages, or compensation, the injured party is entitled to receive. The three different types of visitors outlined in the law are invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
An invitee is a person invited onto a property in order to conduct business. A customer visiting a store is considered an invitee, as is a contractor asked to visit a home to do renovation work. Invitees are owed the highest standard of care according to the law. This means the owner of the property must take utmost care to ensure the property is in a safe condition and that no one will become injured upon entering the property.
When the property is in an unsafe condition, but the property owner has warned invitees about the danger, this may protect the owner from a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if a store owner posts a sign stating that a stairway is unsafe and customers should not use it, but a customer uses the stairs anyway, they may not have a legitimate personal injury claim.
Licensees on the other hand, are people who visit a property for any purpose other than conducting business. Social visitors for example, are considered licensees. These visitors are still owed a certain duty of care, and can expect to remain safe while on the property. If there are unsafe conditions on the property and the visitor becomes injured, he or she is often still entitled to receive compensation.
Trespassers are those who enter a property without permission from the property owner. They are generally not owed a duty of care, and property owners have no obligation to warn these visitors of dangerous conditions present on the property. In most cases, trespassers are barred from receiving compensation if they slip and fall while on someone else’s property unlawfully.
Slip and Falls and Comparative Negligence
According to Colorado Revised Statutes 13-21-111, a person who is injured from a slip and fall on someone else’s property can be held partly responsible for those injuries if he or she contributed to the accident. This is the comparative fault statute in Colorado.
For example, a customer is walking into a store days after one of Colorado’s big snowstorms. The store owner did not take proper care to remove the ice and snow from the entrance to the store. The customer however, was also not wearing proper footwear for the weather. In this case, the store owner will likely still be considered at fault for the accident for not removing the snow. The courts may find though, that the customer was also partly at fault for not protecting him or herself with appropriate winter footwear.
In this instance and others like it the courts will assign a percentage of fault to each party. They may find the store owner is 90 percent at fault for not properly clearing the snow and ice. They may also find the customer is 10 percent at fault for not taking proper measures to protect him or herself. In the event that the customer is awarded compensation, the courts will reduce the total amount of compensation by the percentage of fault assigned to the customer.
Did You Slip and Fall on Someone’s Property? Contact the Colorado Premises Liability Lawyers
Everyone has the right to lawfully enter another’s property without the fear of becoming injured while there. When property owners do not take proper care to ensure a visitor’s safety, a Colorado slip and fall lawyer can help.
If you have been hurt in a slip and fall accident, contact Burg Simpson today at (303) 792-5595. We know the serious injuries a slip and fall accident can cause, and we also know how to hold property owners responsible for causing those injuries. We will fight for your rights to ensure you get the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled. We also offer free case evaluations, so call us today so we can get started on your claim right away.