Falls are one of the most common kinds of accidents. They can result in severe injuries as well, including hip fractures and head and brain trauma. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 800,000 people each year require hospitalization due to falls. The costs can be daunting. According to Becker’s Hospital Review, the average cost per day as a hospital inpatient in Colorado ranges from $2,119 to $2,896.
If you suffer a slip and fall injury in Colorado because of the negligence of a property owner or manager, you may be eligible to recover compensation from that person or business – typically through an insurance policy. Here, we discuss some of the general factors that will determine your eligibility for compensation. To discuss the specific facts of your case, contact us today through our offices in Denver, Greeley and Colorado Springs.
Factors in a Colorado Slip and Fall Claim
The Colorado Premises Liability Act imposes a duty on property owners and those who exercise control over property and are responsible for its condition such as business tenants or managers. Property owners and managers must maintain their property in reasonably safe condition or provide adequate warning of any hazards or unsafe conditions which they cannot promptly correct. If a lawful visitor suffers injury because the property owner or manager failed to fulfill its duty, the visitor may have the right to recover compensation.
To establish your right to recover compensation in a Colorado slip and fall claim, you generally must show the following:
- The property owner or manager was responsible for the hazard or unsafe condition, and the hazard caused your injury.
- The property owner or manager knew or reasonably should have known that the hazard existed and failed to repair it or provide adequate warning of it.
- The property owner or manager owed you a duty to provide safe conditions because you were there as a customer for a valid business purpose or as an invited social guest.
It is important to note that commercial property owners in Colorado are expected to regularly inspect their premises, look for any hazardous conditions and fix them in a reasonable amount of time.
How Do I Know If I Have a Slip and Fall Accident Case?
Several factors can have an impact on your slip and fall injury claim in Colorado. One of the most important factors is whether you were on the property legally. If you were trespassing at the time of your fall, it may be difficult to pursue a claim. Some other factors to consider are:
Would a reasonable person have known to avoid the hazard?
In other words, did an “open and obvious” hazard cause your fall? If so, then it would weigh against your ability to recover compensation.
Did the property owner or manager make a reasonable effort to address the hazard?
A property owner or manager has a reasonable amount of time to discover a hazard and either eliminate it or adequately warn visitors about it if the owner cannot immediately correct it.
For example, a Denver ordinance gives business owners four hours and private residence owners 24 hours to clear snow and ice from their sidewalks. If they fail to clear the snow and ice within those time periods, they face fines. So, in those situations, the law actually defines what a “reasonable amount of time” is for property owners and managers to act.
When a property owner or manager posts a warning about a hazard such as a sign, cones or a barricade, the question becomes whether the warning is adequate enough. Would a reasonable person understand the warning?
Did you act reasonably as a visitor?
We all have a responsibility for our own safety. This is true regardless of the conditions that we encounter when we visit a store, mall, office building, park or other property. If you acted in a careless or reckless manner that contributed to your fall, then it could hurt your claim. For instance, you may have been looking at a cell phone as you walked along and fell, or you could have been carrying packages that obstructed your view.
A slip and fall claim in Colorado is subject to the state’s modified comparative fault rule. Under this rule, the amount of damages which you recover could be reduced in proportion to your degree of fault. For example, if you were 25 percent at fault for a slip and fall accident and suffered $100,000 in damages, the most you could recover would be $75,000. If you are 50 percent or more at fault for your injury, you would not be eligible to recover any damages.
Get Help Today from Our Experienced Colorado Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall in Colorado that was the fault of a negligent property owner or manager, the attorneys of The Sawaya Law Firm want to help you. We understand the complexities of these cases and how to overcome the many challenging issues which they can present. Our goal is to secure the funds our clients deserve.
We will quickly investigate your slip and fall, calculate the damages you have suffered and work tirelessly to pursue full and fair compensation for you. We will always aggressively challenge any attempt by a property owner or manager to shift blame for the fall to you.
To learn more about how we can assist you, call or reach us online today. We will review your case with you in a timely and free consultation. You won’t pay any costs or fees unless we secure a settlement or judgment that benefits you. Don’t wait: Contact us today and get started.