Slip and Fall Lawyer in Denver, CO
Premises liability is a complex area of Colorado personal injury law that applies to injuries caused by a business property owner, homeowner or landowner’s disregard for safety. In some instances, property owners are responsible for injuries, and in others they are not. Your right to file a premises liability claim in Denver depends partly on whether you were an invited guest to the property, a customer at a retail business or a trespasser on the property. If you have an injury that you believe was caused by a property owner, you should speak with a knowledgeable Denver premises liability attorney at our Denver injury law firm today.
Attorney Michael Sawaya and the legal team at The Sawaya Law Firm are committed to providing clients with excellent legal representation. Our effective advocacy on behalf of clients and the 12 core values on which our firm was founded 40 years ago have shaped our success and allowed the firm to grow to more than 20 lawyers and 80 staff members. Many of our attorneys including our founding attorney have been listed among Colorado Super Lawyers®. The Sawaya Law Firm is a full service personal injury firm that focuses on helping people who have been injured through the carelessness or negligence of others. Our premises liability attorneys serve clients in Denver, Greeley and throughout Northeastern Colorado.
Call us today at 720-709-2855 for a free consultation with a Denver slip and fall injury attorney about your accident. If you or a loved one is struggling to recover from a serious injury caused by another’s negligence, we may be able to help you regain control of your life. You deserve reliable guidance so you can make well-informed decisions about how to proceed. Call to find out how we can help. There is no fee unless we obtain compensation for you.
What is Premises Liability?
Property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their property is reasonably safe condition and to provide adequate warning of any hazard or unsafe condition that cannot be quickly corrected. When a visitor to the property is injured due to an unsafe condition, inadequate security, inadequate maintenance or construction defects, the person who is injured may be entitled to seek compensation from the property owner.
The Colorado Premises Liability Act makes landowners and those who exercise sufficient control of the property such as business tenants responsible for activities and conditions on the property. The duty that the property owner or business tenant owes depends on the status of the person injured. The duty that a landowner owes to a customer visiting a business or a social guest invited to a home is generally higher than the duty owed to a trespasser. The relation of the injured person to the property owner or manager is determined on a case-by-case basis. If the accident victim is a child, that fact must be taken into account because children may be too young to comprehend a property hazard or unsafe condition. For instance, a young child who cannot swim may be attracted to an unsecured swimming pool and not recognize the danger of getting in the pool.
When the property in question is a retail business, there may be an implied invitation that customers are invited to visit the business or patronize a restaurant or hotel. The property owner or business owner has a responsibility to check for any unsafe conditions such as spills on the floor or loose railings on stairs and to provide adequate warning of the hazards if they cannot be fixed promptly.
Common examples of premises liability issues involve slick floors caused by spilled liquids, slippery stairways caused by melting ice or snow, boxes on high shelves at big box stores toppling onto customers, and faulty stair rails and other fixtures.
Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle in Denver
- Slip and Falls — Many people suffer serious injuries in falls. A property owner or business may be liable if the owner created an unsafe condition or knew of a hazardous condition and failed to correct it or provide adequate warning. Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents represent the majority of premises liability claims.
- Inadequate Maintenance — Property owners have a duty to maintain property in reasonably safe condition. If a person is injured because an elevator, escalator or ski lift has not been adequately serviced, allowing it to become unsafe, it may be grounds for a premises liability claim.
- Inadequate Security — A premises liability claim based on inadequate security may be appropriate if a guest or patron has been assaulted or robbed because a property owner failed to take safety measures to make a property safe such as replacing defective windows or doors, hiring adequate security personnel or replacing burned out lights. It must be proved that the property owner or business had a duty to provide for the safety of the person who suffered injury. Our attorneys investigate to determine if similar violent crimes have occurred recently at or near the property, therefore underscoring the need for added security.
- Construction Defects — Shoddy workmanship or inadequate repairs to a piece of property can result in an injury and be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit involving construction defects. In some instances, homeowners’ associations may bring construction defects claims when many homeowners have been harmed by a builder’s poor workmanship. Some Colorado municipalities such as Denver have local ordinances that must be taken into consideration when assessing these cases.
If I Have Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property, What Should I Do?
You should seek prompt medical treatment if you have suffered serious injuries on another’s property. If your injury does not require urgent medical treatment, you should still seek a prompt medical evaluation within 72 hours after an accident on another person’s property. You should explain to the doctor how your injuries occurred. The doctor’s report provides an independent evaluation of your injuries. Insurance adjusters will rely upon the medical report in evaluating your claim.
You should use your phone camera to take photographs of the unsafe property conditions that caused the accident. It is important to document the unsafe conditions before they are repaired. If you pursue a premises liability claim, the medical report and photographs of the unsafe conditions and your injuries may provide evidence to support your claim for compensation.
If possible, you should file an accident report with the property owner or business owner who occupies the property where your injury occurred.
You should contact a knowledgeable Denver premises liability lawyer to discuss your injury and whether you have a valid premises liability claim. Understanding your legal options will help you make better informed decisions. You may be contacted by the insurance company representing the property and offered a quick settlement. You should not sign anything presented by the insurance adjuster or give any recorded statements until you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer.
How Will It Be Determined Whether I Have a Case?
Premises liability cases are very fact specific. Each claim depends on the specific circumstances of how the injury occurred and the relationship of the injured person to the property owner, such as customer-business owner or social guest-homeowner.
Our Denver premises liability lawyers will review the specifics of your accident and answer your questions during a free consultation. We will assess whether the property owner owed a duty of care to you and is potentially liable for your injuries. We will determine whether the property owner created or left unrepaired conditions that caused the accident and whether you contributed to your own injury. We all have a certain responsibility to remain aware of our surroundings. You may still have a case even if you were partially responsible for a premises liability accident. If your case is the type that we handle, we will offer to represent you on a contingency fee basis. Our attorneys will investigate the accident, determine all the potentially liable parties and the sources of insurance available to provide compensation.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Slip and Fall Case?
Depending on the severity of injuries involved, an accident victim may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- medical expenses and rehabilitation
- future medical expenses
- lost wages
- future lost wages
- permanent disability
- loss of quality of life
- pain and suffering.
Colorado courts use the legal doctrine of comparative fault in determining damages in premises liability accidents. An accident victim may be entitled to receive compensation so long as the victim was less than 50 percent at fault for his or her injury. If you are partially at fault for your injury, you may still recover compensation, but any jury award you receive would be reduced proportionately. For example, if you were found to be 25 percent at fault for a slip and fall accident and a Denver jury awarded $100,000 in damages, then you would receive $75,000 in compensation.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A surprising number of people suffer broken bones, head injuries, neck injuries and other serious from slip and fall accidents on slick floors, stairs, uneven sidewalks and icy parking lots. Some of the injuries can be life-altering, forcing the injured person to adapt to a new life. A slip and fall injury may occur at a personal residence, at a store or business, or on a public sidewalk or in a parking lot.
A slip and fall claim is a type of personal injury claim filed in Colorado civil court to seek compensation for the fall victim’s injuries. It alleges that a business owner or homeowner was negligent in not fixing a dangerous condition and therefore caused an accident.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Slip And Fall Case?
To prove that you are entitled to compensation for a slip-and-fall injury, your attorney must show certain things:
- that the property owner or business owner was responsible for the hazard or unsafe condition and that the hazard caused your injury;
- that the property owner or manager knew or reasonably should have been aware that the unsafe condition or hazard existed and failed to repair the condition;
- that the property owner knew of the unsafe condition and did not provide adequate warning of it;
- that the property owner 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.
Commercial property owners are expected to inspect their premises on a regular basis to look for any hazardous conditions and to fix them in a reasonable amount of time.
A claim for injury due to a slip and fall accident is a tort action in the United States. Generally, an individual suffers harm due to slipping and falling while on another’s property. The property may be public or private property, although most slip and fall claims are based on accidents that occurred on private property (such as a business). The person at fault, or liable for the accident, may be the owner of the property where the accident occurred. The injured party filing a claim will usually be seeking monetary damages for injuries sustained due to the slip and fall.
Proving a Slip and Fall Claim
A plaintiff must prove four elements to prevail in a slip and fall case. The elements are the same for any tort, and are duty, breach of duty, causation and injury. The defendant (usually the property owner) must have a legal duty to prevent injury to the victim. The court will generally hold the defendant to the standard of what a reasonable person would have done under the same circumstances, There is a legal duty to prevent predictable harm to another individual. Once a duty is established, the plaintiff must show that the duty was breached, meaning the defendant violated his or her legal obligation to ensure the safety of the plaintiff. Next, causation must be shown; that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the plaintiff’s injury. The defendant (property owner) does not have to directly cause the plaintiff’s injury by committing an action to be held liable. If a defendant’s inaction or failure to create a safe environment caused the injury, the defendant can also be held responsible. Lastly, the plaintiff must prove to the court that an injury occurred. In the case of a slip and fall, the injury will be physical in nature.
Property Owner Defenses
Generally, a property owner will have one of two defenses; lack of negligence or fault of the injured party. The most common location that a slip and fall occurs is in a place of business. In these cases, a property owner may try to prove that he or she exercised reasonable care in keeping his or her property safe for customers. Business/property owners are required to exercise due diligence in making their property safe for all persons that may enter it. This includes detecting any hazardous conditions that may be present and making sure they are resolved and do not cause harm to patrons. Property owners may show that the cause of the injury was outside of their control. For example, the injured person slipped on liquid that had just been spilled by another customer.
Likewise, the property owner may claim that the injury was caused by the injured party. Individuals are required to exercise due care to avoid injuring themselves. If they do not exercise care, others cannot be held accountable for their own negligence. An example may be if the injured party saw the other patron spill liquid on the floor and then stepped directly in the liquid instead of waiting for it to be cleaned up or walking around it.
Preparing to Meet With Your Denver Premises Liability & Slip And Fall Lawyer
To read and print out a copy of the checklist, please follow the link below. Contact us today with any further questions.
You can download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader here.
How Our Denver Slip-and-Fall Attorneys Can Help You
Slip and fall cases and all premises liability cases are complex and require a thorough investigation of all the contributing factors. The property owner and the business operating in the location may share legal liability for the unsafe condition and the accident.
We get to work quickly to document the accident scene before the condition is repaired and the evidence lost. Our attorneys seek security camera footage that might help determine how long the hazardous condition had been present at a business. We search for other accident reports at the location to help show that the owner should have recognized the unsafe condition.
Pursuing a claim may involve dealing with multiple insurance companies representing different potentially liable parties. You will need experience on your side. The slip and fall lawyers at The Sawaya Law Firm understand the complexities of slip and fall cases and how to present our client’s case in the most favorable terms.
Since Colorado applies comparative fault to premises liability cases, a Denver jury will need to determine to what degree you were responsible for your own injury. The opposing side will try to show that you were to blame for your own injury. Part of our task as your slip-and-fall attorneys is to prepare for how the opposing side may attempt to shift the blame for the accident. We work to collect evidence to rebut that argument.
If you have sustained a slip and fall injury, you will improve your chances of a positive outcome by working with an experienced Denver slip and fall attorney. It is important to have an attorney who has handled numerous similar claims to get to work investigating your slip and fall accident as soon as possible. You need an attorney with trial experience, who knows what to expect in the courtroom.