Colorado’s premises liability laws hold negligent property owners responsible for any injuries or accidents that can happen on their premises.
These accidents are more common than you might think. Slip and fall cases alone account for more than 9 million hospital emergency room visits each year.
That’s why it’s so important to understand premises liability and how to file a claim if you or someone you know were injured by an accident on someone’s property.
To help property injury victims, we at Norton Frickey P.C. share more about how to file a premises liability claim in Colorado below.
Provide Extensive Documentation
Prior to filing an official premises liability claim for an injury that you received on someone’s premises, you’ll need to collect necessary documents.
1. Alert the landowner or property owner. The landowner, property owner, etc. should be notified of your accident and how it occurred. Make sure to do so in writing, whether in an official letter or email. Include the date of draft as well and save this document to go along with your claim.
2. Take pictures. Photograph the area where the accident occurred and what may have caused the accident to boost your claim. Keep both digital and print copies of the photos, if possible.
3. Gather and preserve necessary information. Gather insurance details from the landowner or property owner. Speak to witnesses who can describe what occurred or what may have triggered the accident and have them write down their view of events, asking them to include their signature and the date. Preserve any clothing that shows signs of the incident.
4. Record any medical records. If medical care was sought post-accident, make sure to keep records of any treatments or expenses that ensued. This includes medical reports, but also receipts and notes you took while receiving care.
Another important note: you’ll need to file your claim properly and within a reasonable time. Premises liability claims, like all civil claims, have a timeframe in which they must be filed. In Colorado, premises liability claims must be filed within two years of the date the injury occurred. If claims are submitted outside of the time restriction, they will be dismissed. So, don’t wait!
What You Need to Prove
With the aid of the documentation gathered, the victim will need to prove the following:
- The person held liable for your injury is either the owner or lessor of the property
- The property owner was negligent and did not uphold “duty of care” for his or her property
- Harm was done to the victim
- The harm that occurred was due to the negligence of the landowner
“Duty of care” is an important component in any premises liability case. It is the notion that a person, or in this case a property owner, must provide safety and communication to others when there is risk of danger or harm. In essence, a victim will need to show that a property owner neglected their duty of care, which led to the injury or accident.
Liability is decided in part depending on the status of the injured person and the property owner’s duty of care. There are three types of victims: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees – Invitees are visitors who were invited by owner; the property owner has a duty to warn the invitees of any risks that could occur on the premises.
Licensees – Licensees are individuals who visit or stay on the property for purposes other than business. Again, the owner has a duty of care to communicate any known dangerous conditions.
Trespassers – Trespassers are least likely to have a strong case for premises liability as they entered the property without consent.
Damages Offered for Premises Liability Cases in Colorado
In Colorado, a judge will decide on the type of damage for your premises liability case. However, if the case continues to escalate, a jury will determine the compensation deserved for a victim’s injuries, depending on the evidence and circumstance. Damages are determined by the victim’s liability status at the time of the accident.
The Colorado Judicial Branch’s Pattern Civil Jury Instructions outline damages based on status:
- Trespasser: A trespasser may recover only for damages willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner.
- Licensee: A licensee can only recover for damages caused:
- By the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner of which the landowner actually knew; or
- By the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on the property, and of which the landowner actually knew
- Invitee: An invitee may recover for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he actually knew or should have known
Regardless of your status, filing a premises liability claim requires attention to detail and a strong commitment to collecting evidence. If you’re injured or incapacitated due to your injury, this can be a stressful time. To get the compensation you’re owed without injuring yourself further, a premises liability attorney may be able to help.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered from a severe injury while on someone else’s property, a specialized premises liability attorney can assist you through the ins and outs of filing a personal injury suit. Bringing in an expert premise liability attorney gives you peace of mind as you focus on recovery.
Not only can your lawyer handle the pre-trial process, but they will also fight for the compensation to which you’re entitled. Get in touch with a specialized premises liability attorney at Norton Frickey P.C. today. They’ll listen to your needs and advise you on the right strategy going forward.