The Client: D.M.
The Case: Colorado premises liability
The Injuries: Skull fracture, bleeding from the ear, arachnoid hemorrhage, knocked unconscious
Case Result: Settlement reached in favor of D.M.
Case Type/Summary IN City, State
On a sunny June day in Colorado, two parents ventured to a ranch to purchase an RV and brought their two-year-old son with them. The property had several goats and three horses. Our client, the two-year-old boy, was walking toward one of the horses when the horse suddenly kicked our client on the side of his head, knocking him unconscious. His father performed CPR, and our client was transported to a hospital in Aurora.
Our client suffered a skull fracture, a subarachnoid hemorrhage, and damage to his ear. He underwent surgery, remained at the hospital for several days, and will need treatment for the foreseeable future.
This case settled after a petition was filed, and our clients received compensation for the following:
- Past medical expenses;
- Future medical treatment;
- Emotional distress; and
- Pain and suffering.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are some frequently asked questions related to premises liability cases.
Q: What is premises liability?
A: Premises liability is just a fancy way of saying that a property owner has liability for injuries that occur on his or her land. To file a successful premises liability lawsuit, you must show that the property owner was at fault. Most premises liability lawsuits occur because a property owner was negligent with his or her property. However, just because you received injuries on another person's property does not mean that the property owner was negligent. In general, you can only prove that a property owner was negligent if the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about a danger on their property, but failed to take steps to ensure the safety of visitors.
Q:What are the duties of property owners?
A: In all negligence claims, you must show that you were owed a duty and that the duty was breached by another party. In the slip and fall context, whether you were owed a duty depends on whether you were a licensee, invitee, and trespasser while you were on the property.
If you were a licensee when you were on the property, this means that you were on the property for your own benefit than for the benefit of the property owner. For instance, if you went to a friend’s house for a party, you would be considered a licensee.
If you are a licensee, the property owner owes you a duty to make you aware of any dangers on the property. However, a property owner does not have to fix anything to make the property safe.
In the slip and fall context, imagine that you are at a friend’s house and your friend knows that his or her stairs recently were washed. Your friend has a duty to tell you that the stairs are wet. However, he or she does not have a duty actually to make it less slippery.
On the other hand, if you were an invitee, then you were on the property for the property owner's benefit. There are two types of invitees: business and public. An example of a public invitee is someone who goes to a public place like a library. An example of a business invitee is someone who goes to a store to buy merchandise. However, if you went to the store to ask for directions or use the restroom, you will likely be considered a licensee rather than an invitee.
The reason why you need to distinguish these seemingly similar-meaning words is that depending on what status you held while you were on the property, the more or less likely the property owner owed a duty to you. Invitees are owed the most protection because they are on the property for the property owner’s benefit. Property owners thus must take more steps to provide a safe place for invitees.
For example, if you went to a restaurant and the restaurant knows that a certain section of the restaurant has a wet floor, the restaurant management must place signs and place barriers or the like to prevent people from slipping. Otherwise, the restaurant will likely be found at fault for an accident.
Trespassers are those who enter another’s property without permission. Though counterintuitive, even trespassers are owed a duty by property owners. Texas law forbids property owners from willfully injuring trespassers. For instance, a property owner may not purposely set up booby traps in order to harm trespassers.
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