Colorado Springs Premises Liability Attorneys
Premises liability cases arise when property owners fail to take adequate steps to protect property entrants.
Slip-and-falls on wet or icy walkways, animal attacks, or faulty security equipment are just a few ways property owners become entangled in a premises liability lawsuit.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. An experienced injury attorney from Norton Frickey P.C. can help.
Colorado Premises Liability: Who’s Responsible?
Colorado’s revised statute on premises liability applies broadly to “landowners”, which includes titled owners of real property as well as those who exercise a sufficient amount of control over the circumstance existing on the premises or activities taking place on the property.
Knowing who can be held responsible for an accident is critical in these types of cases: if the defendant doesn’t qualify as a “landowner,” they may not owe any duty to the injured plaintiff.
Specifically, landowners have a duty to use reasonable care to protect invitees from dangerous conditions about which the landowner knew or should have known.
While the exact definition of reasonable care is subjective, the law defines it as what a person of ordinary intelligence and judgment would do under the same circumstances.
For example, it’s reasonable that a store owner makes periodic checks around the store for spills and other dangers. It would be unreasonable for a store owner to monitor every inch of the floor 24 hours a day.
Property owners, property managers, landlords, and private homeowners are common defendants in premises liability lawsuits.
However, not every land entrant enjoys equal protection under Colorado’s premises liability statute.
To understand what (if any) duty is owed to an injured plaintiff, the status of the plaintiff must be identified. There are three types of land entrants: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
- Invitee: an invitee is directly or indirectly invited to the property. Examples might include store customers or patrons at a bar or restaurant. Landowners owe invitees the highest duty of care including warning invitees of obvious and hidden dangers, inspecting the property for potential hazards, and fixing problems within a reasonable amount of time.
- Licensee: a licensee is a land entrant with express or implied permission and enters for his or her own purposes, rather than the landowner’s benefit. A social house guest is a useful example. Landowners have a duty to warn a licensee of property dangers that create an unreasonable risk of harm if it is known to them and unlikely to be discovered by the licensee. However, there is no duty to regularly inspect for dangers like the duty owed to invitees.
- Trespasser: Lastly, trespassers are those who did not have permission to enter the land owner’s property. Property owners owe only a duty to refrain from willfully or deliberately injuring a trespasser.
Pools, old playground equipment, unkempt vehicles, and other enticing dangers are likely to draw the attention of children. In some cases, children can trespass and still enjoy protection under Colorado’s premises liability statute.
The attractive nuisance doctrine can be used in cases where the landowner knew or should have known that children were likely to trespass on the property; the condition or object on the property has the potential to do serious harm; the children involved are too young to adequately assess risk; the cost to repair the danger is minimal; and the landowner neglected to fix the dangerous condition.
Important Information for Victims & Family Members
Colorado follows contributory negligence laws, which means the victim can play a role in the accident and still collect compensation. However, if the plaintiff is more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, he or she will not be eligible for compensation.
If you’ve been seriously injured on someone else’s property, it’s important to seek medical attention right away; should the injury result in a premises liability claim, medical documentation is very important.
Depending on the location, and only if possible, file an accident report before leaving the property.
Just like with car accidents, photos of the scene and evidence preservation is critical. If possible, take photos of where the accident occurred, the injury, and secure any evidence in a safe location. If there are witnesses, collect their information too.
Finally, contact an experienced premises liability lawyer to discuss the case and review your legal options. An attorney can help maximize a claim to ensure comprehensive compensation including:
- Past and future medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death
Don’t wait to get the answers you need. Slip and fall accidents and other premises liability claims are restricted by Colorado’s statute of limitations. Victims have two years from the date of injury to file a claim against a liable property owner.
At Norton Frickey P.C., we’re dedicated to protecting the rights of injured people. Our compassionate, professional legal staff is prepared to answer your questions and navigate you through the complex legal system.
Plus, our attorneys work on a contingent-fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything unless we win your case. Even if you don’t think you can afford an attorney, give us a call.