Premises Liability – Slip and Fall LawyerLast updated on: August 7, 2019
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If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident that may have been caused by the property owner’s negligence, you may be able to file a premises liability claim. Depending on the specifics of your accident, you may be able to file slip and fall claim against the property owner, employees who may have been responsible, or in the case of workplace accidents, against your employer. An experienced Fort Collins premises liability attorney can help you determine if you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. For a free consultation, call (512) 246 2224. You will not owe us anything unless we win your case.
What Are My Rights After a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you have certain rights which may vary depending on if the fall was at your workplace or in public. First, you may have the right to seek compensation for any injuries resulting from your fall. You may be able to seek this compensation by filing a claim against the property owner’s insurance company, the property owner personally, or any third-party who was responsible for causing your fall. If you are unable to reach any settlement, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit, as long as the statute of limitations has not expired yet.
If you have been injured while at work, you may also have the right to fall a worker’s compensation claim if your employer has worker’s comp insurance coverage. If your employer does not have this coverage, you may have the right to file a claim or lawsuit against the employer, the employer’s insurance company, or any other third-party who may have caused the accident. Importantly, if your employer does have worker’s compensation coverage, you may not have the right to also file a separate lawsuit, except against third-parties.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the legal concept that property owners must ensure that guests or others on their property are not knowingly exposed to hazardous conditions that could harm them, such as a slippery surface. If an unsafe or potentially hazardous condition does exist, the property owner has a duty to remedy the condition, or if unable to immediately do so, must provide proper warnings. If you are injured on someone else’s property, whether it is private or commercial, you may be able to claim damages based on premises liability. However, not all injuries that occur on someone else’s property are necessarily the fault of the property owner. In order to file a successful premises liability claim, the injured party must be able to prove that an unsafe condition on the property caused the accident, such as a spill, poorly constructed stairs, or poorly maintained grounds. Even if it can be proven that the accident was caused by a hazardous condition that existed on the property, it must also be proven that the property owner was aware of the unsafe condition or should have reasonably been aware of it.
Common Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents often happen at places such as gas stations or grocery stores, and they can have a variety of causes, including:
Surfaces can often become slippery due to spilled substances, cleaning and maintenance, inclement weather, while some surfaces are naturally slippery, such as worn or polished stone. These conditions can easily cause a person to slip and fall, potentially causing injury. For example, if the floors in a 7/11 gas station have been freshly mopped, or a container has leaked, spilling liquid onto the floor, the floor could become slippery, and customers walking through this area may slip and fall.
Debris and Cluttered Walkways
Sometimes, a walkway may become difficult to navigate due to debris, such as boxes, pallets, dropped food, or other items. Items may be placed in walkways intentionally, such as boxes, containers, cords, or tools. These can all make walkways dangerous and cause an accident. If you are in a grocery store like Walmart, and there are pallets or other obstacles in the aisles, these can pose a danger, and they could cause a person to potentially trip over one of the containers and fall.
Staircases and Ramps
Stairways and ramps can often cause falls, especially if not properly constructed and maintained. Loose or broken handrails, uneven risers, and loose boards are frequently the cause in these accidents. For example, if you are climbing a set of stairs that have uneven risers, meaning the height of the individual stairs is uneven, you could stumble and fall, causing injury.
Uneven or Unstable Surfaces
Walking over torn or crumpled carpets, loose or uneven floor tiles, potholes, and uneven or broken masonry can cause falls that may result in injury. For example, if you are in a store and step on a broken floor tile, this can cause you to lose your balance, slip and fall, causing you to be injured as a result.
Occupational Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents not only occur in public and commercial spaces but can also occur on the job. Indeed, the CDC reported that almost 250,000 injuries occurred in 2014 within the private sector as the result of falls, according to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the common slip-and-fall accidents that can occur in the workplace include:
Slippery, Cluttered, or Unstable Walking/Working Conditions
Workplaces are often busy places, and spills, leaks, tools and materials may litter the walkways, or walkways may have been hastily constructed or poorly supported, causing them to be unstable. For example, a machine that is leaking oil onto the floor can cause an employee to slip and fall.
Some workplaces may require employees to perform duties on elevated platforms or unfinished areas. If the edges of these areas do not have proper guards to prevent falls, an accident may occur that causes injury.
Floor Holes and Wall Openings
Some occupations present unique dangers, such as holes in flooring or openings in walls. While the nature of the work being done may make the presence of these hazards necessary, proper precautions and warnings are still required to prevent injury-causing accidents from occurring.
Unsafely Positioned Ladders
Ladders that not properly positioned, such as those placed on an uneven surface can cause accidents resulting in injury.
Misused Fall Protection
Even when fall protection is provided, accidents resulting in injury can still occur if the protective equipment is not properly utilized.
What to Do After A Slip and Fall Accident
If you have been involved in a slip and fall accident, you should:
1. Seek Medical Attention
After an accident, the most important thing to do is seek medical care to address any injuries. Even if an injury is not readily apparent after an accident, you may still be injured. It is important to seek immediate treatment after an accident, as it maximizes your potential for recovery. Medical documentation will also help your slip-and-fall lawyer prove your injuries and their extent.
2. Report the Accident
After an accident occurs on someone else’s property, you should always report the incident, either to a manager, the property owner, or if it occurs at work, to your supervisor, manager, or owner. Be sure to ask for a written report to be filed, as well as for a copy for your own records.
3. Document Evidence
You should gather as much evidence of the accident as possible. Make sure you obtain the contact information of any witnesses that may have been present. Take photos of the site of the accident, being sure to include any details that may have contributed to your accident. You should also preserve the clothes and footwear you were wearing at the time of the accident, as they may be useful as evidence.
4. Do Not Give Statements
After an accident, it is important to not give out any more details than required to fill out the initial report of the accident. Afterwards, you should contact an experienced Fort Collins premises liability attorney before making any statements regarding the accident. You should not place or admit any blame or fault. You should consult your lawyer before discussing anything about the accident
5. Consult an Attorney
Premise liability cases can be difficult to prove and may often involve dealing with large corporations or insurance companies. An experienced Fort Collins slip-and-fall attorney can help you to investigate and prove your case, as well as navigate the intricacies of the law involved in these matters. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner they can begin to help you obtain a potential settlement.
- Bone fractures, such as broken arms, legs, hips, etc.;
- Neck, shoulders, and back injuries, such as sprains and dislocated discs;
- Spinal cord injuries, some which may lead to paralysis;
- Knee injuries;
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI);
Making a Claim
To make a premises liability claim based on a slip and fall accident, you must be able to prove the property owner was negligent, particularly regarding their duty to use reasonable care to prevent injuries. To prove negligence, you will generally need to prove:
- The property owner occupied, owned, or leased the property where the accident occurred;
- The property owner behaved in a negligent manner or negligently failed to act;
- The victim was injured or harmed; and
- The injury or harm suffered was caused by the owner’s negligence;
Another important factor in determining liability is determining the duty of care that was owed by the property owner, which may be dependent on the status of the injured party regarding their reason for being on the property. A person injured on someone else’s property is usually considered as:
- Invitees: Someone who is invited onto the property for the purpose of business transactions, or a member of the public who enters a property which is held open to the public at large for reasons related to the property’s purpose, such as a retail store.
- Licensees: A licensee is someone who has express or implied permission to be on the property. There are two types of licensees, invited and uninvited. An invited licensee has been expressly been given permission to be on the property, such as for social reasons. An uninvited licensee would be a person whose presence on the property is uninvited, but has reasonable cause to be there, such as a mailman or utility worker conducting repairs.
- Trespassers: A person who unlawfully enters or remains on a property is considered a trespasser.
Property owners generally owe invitees and licensees a duty of care to maintain a safe environment for guests and provide warning of any known hazards. However, in Colorado, property owners do not owe trespassers any duty of care and are only responsible for deliberate or willful harm or injuries to the trespasser.
In a slip and fall premises liability case, you may be able to claim both economic and non-economic damages.
- Medical Costs: Medical costs usually include ER and doctor visits, treatments, and medication.
- Loss of Earnings: If you are unable to work because of your injuries, you may be entitled to be compensated for lost wages.
- Loss of Earning Potential: If, because of your injuries, you are not able to return to your job, you may be able to claim compensation for future lost wages.
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Pain and Suffering: You may be able to claim compensation for the pain and agony you may have suffered because of your injuries. This type of compensation is dependent on the specific details of your injuries and how they have affected you, with more severe and/or permanent injuries usually receiving larger compensation than minor injuries.
Legal Time Limits
The statute of limitations of personal injury claims in Colorado is two years from the date of the accident. If your claim is against the state of Colorado or other official municipality, you only have 180 days from the date of the accident to file a claim.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you need a premises liability attorney for your accident or were injured due to the negligence of a property owner, then contact the experienced attorneys at Zinda Law Group in Fort Collins.
We can investigate your claim, collect evidence, and file a lawsuit on your behalf if you have a claim. All at no cost to you, our consultations are free and you don’t pay unless we win.
Call us today at (888) 988-7063 for a free, no-fee consultation.
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