Most people don’t expect to fall victim to an injury while walking down an aisle or the parking lot of their favorite retail store. It can be devastating when a dangerous situation occurs in a familiar place and injures someone. An injury can result in extensive medical treatments, missed work, and other intrusive disruptions to your life.
Property owners must keep people who visit their property reasonably safe from harm. When they don’t uphold this duty, and a dangerous condition or activity causes an injury, the victim might be able to pursue compensation under a legal theory called premise liability. Premises liability is an area of negligence and personal injury law. It grants legal remedies to people injured due to a property owner’s negligence.
If you were injured while visiting a business or someone else’s home, contact the experienced Colorado Springs premises liability attorneys at Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. today. Our skilled attorneys will fight for the compensation you deserve. We always have our client’s best interests in mind and are not afraid to go to trial to enforce your rights.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability holds landowners responsible for a wrong that occurs on their land. Legally, property owners must keep their premises in reasonably safe conditions. They must also sufficiently warn visitors of any known hazards they cannot remedy.
The Colorado Premises Liability Act defines a property owner’s roles and duties based on the type of visitor on their property. Generally, there are three types of visitors and three types of duties.
- Trespassers—People who enter a property illegally or without the owner’s implied or express permission are trespassers. With some exceptions (e.g., the trespasser was a child lured onto the property by an “attractive nuisance”), the only duty a property owner owes a trespasser is to abstain from causing willful or wanton injury or injury through gross negligence.
- Licensees—People the property owner knows are on the property—but to whom they did not extend an implied or express invitation—are known as licensees. Guests like family and neighbors who commonly pop by unannounced fall into this category, and the owner’s duty to licensees include warning of dangerous conditions.
- Invitees—People the property owner expressly or impliedly invite onto the property for business or commercial reasons—such as retail store owners—are invitees. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care, which means they must fix the dangerous conditions they know about or should have discovered with a reasonable inspection and warn invitees of hazardous conditions that cannot be remedied promptly.
Once you’ve established that you belong to one of these three classes, you can file a premise liability claim. However, you will also need to prove that the property owner is liable for your injuries.
To file a successful premise liability claim, like other negligence claims, you and your attorney must show:
- That you were a member of one of the three mentioned categories and that, as such, the property owner owed you a duty of care;
- That the property owner breached that duty;
- That their breach caused your accident; and
- That the accident caused your injury.
Colorado applies a comparative fault model to determine how much compensation a victim receives. Comparative fault considers all the parties involved in the accident and how much their actions contributed to the injury. So, for instance, if you were behaving recklessly when you fell, you might not receive total compensation. This is true even if the property owner breached their duty to you. As long as your contribution is below 50%, you could still be entitled to some compensation. However, the amount you’d receive would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Common Premise Liability Claims
Premise liability claims cover accidents caused by a hazardous property condition that results in injury. Common dangerous conditions or activities that give rise to liability claims include potentially hazardous bodies of water, inadequate lighting, unsafe exposed construction areas, dog bites, burns, structural defects, and insufficient security. However, slip-and-fall accidents are the most common.
People frequently slip and fall on slick walkways. This can include a market aisle, icy public sidewalk, restaurants, theaters, and office buildings. Common at-home culprits include stairs, backyards, and bathrooms.
In 2020, 805 workers died in falls on the job, and another 211,640 suffered injuries that required them to take time off from work. In the general population, over 800,000 patients are hospitalized every year in the U.S. because of a fall injury. Common causes of trip and fall injuries that send people to a healthcare professional include:
- Liquids spilled on the floor,
- Uneven walking surfaces,
- Loose rugs or mats,
- Loose cords or cables,
- Cluttered spaces,
- Poor lighting,
- Inadequate or non-existent handrails, and
- Weather hazards like rain and sleet.
The outcome of a slip-and-fall case hinges on the circumstances surrounding your injury’s cause. Pursuing a claim will require your Colorado Springs slip-and-fall attorneys to investigate where you slipped and fell, your rights as a visitor, what steps the property owner took to mitigate harm, and your behavior preceding the accident. Understanding these factors will help you and your Colorado Springs slip-and-fall lawyers decide whether to pursue a premise liability claim.
Contact Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C. Today
If a dangerous property condition, poor maintenance, or insufficient security injures you, contact Gerash Steiner Blanton, P.C., to speak to one of our Colorado Springs premises liability lawyers. With decades of combined trial experience, our dedicated, award-winning attorneys bring valuable insight to every case. We will review your claim and work to establish liability to pursue a successful premise liability settlement. Most of all, we will be there for you every step of the way.