Do I Have a Premises Liability Case?

Posted by: Aug 23, 2018By Steve Roberts

premises liability caseColorado law requires that the property owners and lessees keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for visitors. You may be wondering: do I actually have a premises liability case?

Unfortunately, it is not always clear whether or not the landowner has breached their duty to you. If you have been injured at a business or on a private residence, then you should meet with an experienced Denver premises liability attorney to discuss your options. Depending on the circumstances, you might be able to sue for compensation.

Types of Premises Liability Cases

At the Law Office of Steve Roberts, we handle all kinds of premises liability cases, including:

  • Slip and fall cases. Visitors can slip on spilled liquids, pieces of paper, or worn carpets, injuring themselves as they fall.
  • Trip and fall cases. Many visitors trip over holes in the floor or ground or objects left unattended.
  • Attractive nuisance cases. Something on the premises attracts the attention of children under the age of 14. For example, children might sneak onto a neighbor’s property to play with machinery that is left outside.
  • Failure to protect. Businesses must protect their clients from crime.

If you have been injured on someone’s property, you might be asking, “Do I have a claim for premises liability?” To find out, meet with a personal injury lawyer.

Identify the Landowner’s Duty of Care

Premises owners owe a different duty of care to you depending on your status as a visitor. Under the Colorado Premises Liability Act, visitors are classified as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. To identify what a landowner needed to do, you need to first identify your status.

You are an invitee if you enter property to do business or at the request of the landowner to enter. For example, someone entering a grocery store is an invitee. If your neighbor invites you over, you are also an invitee. In these situations, you can receive compensation if the landowner failed to protect against dangers he knew or should have known.

A licensee is someone who enters or stays on a property for their own convenience but with the landowner’s permission or consent. A licensee can receive compensation if they are injured by:

  • A landowner’s unreasonable failure to protect against dangers that he or she created or knew about. For example, a landowner who digs a hole in their yard knows it is a danger.
  • A landowner’s failure to warn guests of unusual dangers not created by the landowner which the landowner knew about.

A trespasser can only receive compensation if the landowner intentionally or deliberately injured them. In other words, a landowner doesn’t owe a trespasser any duty of care other than to not willfully harm them by, for example, laying traps. However, children are different.

If there is an “attractive nuisance” on your property—something that would draw their attention—then they can sue if they are injured, even if trespassing.

Analyze the Circumstances Surrounding the Accident

Imagine you visited your neighbor who has set up some saw horses around a hole in the ground. You push one of the saw horses out of the way so you can look down into the hole. In doing so, you fall in and break your leg.

Do you have a case for premises liability? Probably not. Here, your neighbor protected you from the danger by putting up the saw horses. If you decided to move them, you will have the bear the risk of falling into the hole.

Conversely, imagine you are visiting a pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions. As you walk down the aisle, you slip on some liquid another customer had accidentally spilled. After falling, you suffer a concussion when your head hits the floor.

Do you have a claim for premises liability in this case? Possibly. Your case would depend on how long the liquid had remained on the floor and how it got there. If the liquid had been on the floor for hours, then a careful business would have discovered it and cleaned it up by the time you arrived. Similarly, if someone told the store that there was liquid on the floor, they should have promptly cleaned it up.

By contrast, if the liquid had been on the floor for only a couple minutes, then it might not be reasonable to expect the store staff to know about it.

Collect Evidence

To make the strongest case possible, you should immediately begin gathering evidence.

Most importantly, you will want photographic evidence of the hazard that caused your injury. For example, if you tripped down stairs with worn tread, then take a picture of the treads. If you slipped on liquids, take a picture with your smartphone.

If you don’t have a smartphone or are too injured to move, ask someone to help you document it. The more evidence you have of the hazard, the better.

Also, identify witnesses who saw you fall. They can offer testimony about the hazard and can back up your story. Ask for the names and contact information of whoever saw you. If you were injured in a store, remember to ask for the names of the staff on duty at that time.

Remember to go to the hospital as soon as possible so that a doctor can examine you. Your attorney will also want to look at your medical records to better understand the severity of your injuries.

Compensation in a Premises Liability Case

Our clients have received compensation for a variety of losses, such as:

  • Medical bills to treat their injuries, including hospital stays, surgery, doctor’s visits, rehabilitation, assistive devices (like crutches), and prescription drugs
  • Lost wages, if our clients could not work as they recovered
  • Property damage, if any property (like a wristwatch) was damaged or destroyed in the accident
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disability

The amount of compensation available will depend on the facts of each case. Generally, however, the more serious your physical injuries, the more you can receive in compensation.

Contact Us for Legal Help with Your Case

The Law Office of Steve Roberts proudly represents injured clients in premises liability cases. We know how to collect the evidence you need to win your case, and we leave no stone unturned as we seek to maximize your compensation.

To schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation, please contact us today. Avoid delay. Colorado law gives victims a short window of time to protect their rights when injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability case.

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