Colorado Springs Premises Liability LawyersLast updated on: August 1, 2019
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A premises liability lawyer seeks compensation on behalf of accident victims who sustained injuries on another person’s property. One of the most common premises liability claims is a slip and fall accident. A slip and fall sounds much less serious than a car accident or medical malpractice, but these accidents can lead to severe injuries. A single slip and fall can cause a lifetime of pain. Thus, it is important that if you had a slip and fall accident, you seek some sort of recourse.
If you or your loved one suffers from an injury in a public place, on another person’s property or due to a slip and fall and seek to file a compensation claim, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability simply means that a landowner has liability for a tort or wrong that occurs on his or her land. If you decide to file a claim to seek compensation for your slip and fall, you will file what is called a tort action. Tort simply is the French word for ‘wrong’. To file a tort action for a slip and fall, you need to show that someone was at fault. Often, this someone is the property owner who owns the property where you fell. Thus, in a tort action for a slip and fall action, you are generally suing the property owner who owns the property where you fell.
What Are My Rights After a Slip and Fall Accident?
Where you have a slip and fall accident heavily determines whether you have any right to compensation. Though there are many places a slip and fall can occur, you should be aware that your right to compensation is lower if it takes place in a public space or at the workplace
For instance, if you slip and fall on a public sidewalk, you may still be able to have a claim against the government, but it may be difficult because governments are often immune to civilian lawsuits.
In the workplace context, workers’ compensation generally prevents an employee from suing the employer for a slip and fall accident. However, if your employer intentionally provided an environment that made you slip and fall, you may be able to sue your employer even if you have workers’ compensation.
Premises Liability in the Slip and Fall Context
However, in a slip and fall case, unlike other personal injury cases, you cannot simply just sue the property owner and win by claiming he or she was negligent. Although you must show some type of negligence, you have to also show that you were an individual who was owed a duty by the property owner. Whether you were owed a duty depends on what kind of status you held when you were on the property. There are generally three types: licensee, invitee, and trespasser.
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.
However, even if you are a licensee, the property owner owes you a duty to tell you of any dangerous conditions on the property. However, a property owner does not have to rectify the dangerous condition as he or she would have to do for an invitee
To give an example, if you were at a friend’s house and your friend knows that his or her bathroom’s floor is slippery as ice, your friend must tell you that the bathroom’s floor is slippery as ice. However, he or she does not have a duty to actually 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 simply 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 were at a grocery store, and the grocery store also has a bathroom with a floor as slippery as ice, the grocery store management must place signs and place barriers or the like to prevent people from using the bathroom. Otherwise, the grocery store will likely be found at fault for an accident.
Common Slip and Fall Accidents
- Slip and falls due to loose floorboards
- Slip and falls due to potholes
- Slip and falls due to damaged sidewalks
- Slip and falls due to wet floors
- Falls in construction work
What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accidents
1. Report the Accident
First, you should report the accident to the property owner as soon as possible. This is in order to provide a record of your accident, which will be important later on if you decide to file a claim.
2. Collect Evidence
Gather the names of witnesses who were there to witness your fall. Take photographs of the scene of the accident and your injuries.
3. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health is your number one priority. However, by getting medical attention, you also get the benefit of having doctors to record your injuries.
4. Get a Lawyer
If you decide to file a claim and you believe that you may be able to file a claim on your own without hiring a lawyer, it may be still useful to at least consult with a lawyer in order to find out if there are any pitfalls in your case.
- Bruises and Cuts
- Stretched Tendons, Pulled Muscles, Torn Ligaments,
- Sprained or Broken Ankles/Wrists
- Broken Arm/Legs
- Fractured Collarbones
- Damaged Knees
- Fractured Tailbones
- Hip Fractures
- Spinal Cord Injury
Making a Claim
1. Talk to a Premises Liability Attorney
If you are thinking about making a claim, an attorney is the best place to start as they can help you establish fault, build the strongest case possible for you and help you evaluate how much your case may be worth.
Your attorney will then begin investigating your claim with the aim to build the strongest case possible for you. At this point, your lawyer may ask you for information about your case, request receipts of expenses, details of lost income, etc. to help evaluate your claim.
Once your case has been built, your attorney will then issue a demand letter to the other side, and begin negotiation of how much compensation you should be paid.
If an agreement is met at the negotiation stage, then your case will be settled and your attorney will walk you through the steps of receiving your check. Most personal injury cases are settled before ever having to step foot into a courtroom. If your case is not settled at this stage, then your case will proceed to trial. Your attorney and legal team will be right there beside you every step of the way, should this happen.
Like any other negligence claim, to make a proper slip and fall claim against a property owner, your attorney must show that there was a duty, a breach of that duty, that the breach caused the accident, and the accident caused an injury.
Once you have established that the property owner owed you a duty, you must show that the property owner breached the duty. For example, if your friend knew his bathroom had a slippery floor and did not tell you or if the grocery store knew of a slippery aisle, had warnings placed near the bathroom, but did not place barriers to prevent you from using the bathroom, your friend or the grocery store will likely be found to have breached their duty.
Once you have shown a breach of duty, you must show that the breach of the duty caused your injury. So, in the above scenarios, you must be able to show that the failure of the friend or the grocery store to tell you or protect you from the slippery floor caused you to injure your back.
Finally, you must show that that you actually suffered an injury. You would generally do this by producing images of your injuries along with medical records to prove your injuries.
Compensation is provided for economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses include the following:
- past and future medical bills
- past and future lost wages
- damaged property
- past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the following:
- past and future emotional anguish
- loss of enjoyment of activities
Be aware that Colorado courts use what is called comparative fault when it determines how much compensation a victim receives. Comparative fault looks at all the parties involved in the accident and looks at how much fault each party had in contributing towards the accident.
In a slip and fall accident, for instance, you could be considered at fault if you were being reckless when you fell. If in the grocery store, the floor was wet, but you were rollerblading along the floor when you fell, you will probably not likely receive full compensation if you win your case.
Imagine that you win your case, but you were found to be twenty-five percent at fault and the jury awards you $100,000 in damages. In such a case, you would only receive $75,000 in compensation rather than $100,000.
Legal Time Limits
The statute of limitations refers to legal time limits in place which determine how long you have to make a claim after an accident. In Colorado, you have two years from the date you received your injuries to file a claim.
It is important to speak with an attorney to understand more about the legal time limits pertaining to your case.
OUR BOULDER PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS CAN HELP
Our premises liability attorneys will fight diligently for you and your rights. We can help you investigate your accident, negotiate with the insurance companies, and handle the entire legal process so you can focus on what is most important: your recovery.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (720) 204-3994 to receive your free consultation with our slip and fall lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.