Denver Slip and Fall Lawyers
Businesses and landowners have a duty to provide a safe and secure environment. When they do not, and people get injured, the at-fault business or landowner can be held liable for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and paid and suffering. If you have been the victim in a slip and fall, otherwise known as a premises liability accident, please contact Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC, for a free consultation with our experienced Denver Slip and Fall Lawyers.
As it relates to slip-and-fall injuries, liability depends on whether or not the victim was owed a “duty of care” and whether or not this duty was breached. In Colorado, the exclusive remedy against a business or landowner is pursuant to the Colorado Premises Liability Statute (“the Statute”). The Statute divides potential claimants into three different groups: (1) trespassers; (2) licensees; and (3) invitees. The requisite duty varies significantly depending on the victim’s status.
A trespasser is a person who enters or remains on the land of another without the landowner’s consent. A trespasser may recover only for damages willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner. While there is generally no duty owed to trespassers, businesses and landowners must take measures to protect children on the property, including trespassing children. Under the attractive nuisance doctrine, businesses and landowners have a duty to maintain and protect children from artificial conditions on the property. Accordingly, liability may be established if the business or landowner knew, or had reason to know, that children were likely to trespass in the area but the children are too young to appreciate the reasonable risk of injury or death. A common example of an artificial condition is a swimming pool.
A licensee is a person who enters or remains on the land of another for the licensee’s own convenience or to advance his own interests, pursuant to the landowner’s permission or consent. A licensee may recover only for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner of which the landowner actually knew or by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew. For social guests, by way of example, businesses and landowners are required to either fix known dangers on the property or provide sufficient warning of any potential dangers. Licensees, when entering a property, assume the risk of injury from any potential dangers about which they were warned or should have been aware.
An invitee is a person who enters or remains on the land of another to transact business in which the parties are mutually interested or who enters or remains on such land in response to the landowner’s express or implied representation that the public is requested, expected, or intended to enter or remain. An invitee can recover for injuries sustained on the property when (1) the business or landowner actually knew or should have known of the danger and (2) the business or landowner unreasonably failed to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitee from danger.
The first prong is satisfied by either actual or constructive knowledge. Actual notice is such notice as is positively proved to have been given to a party directly or personally, or such as the party is presumed to have received personally because the evidence within the party’s knowledge was sufficient to put the party upon inquiry. Constructive knowledge is knowledge that one exercising reasonable diligence should have.
Colorado courts have consistently used a liberal definition in its evaluation of what constitutes knowledge. As a matter of public policy and safety, the law imputes certain knowledge to prevent individuals from denying knowledge or acting in a way so to remain ignorant. Thus, businesses and landowners have a duty to act reasonably in light of the foreseeability of injury occurring on the property. Within this context, foreseeability is not a mere possibility, but a probability. One indicator is whether injury-causing-situations have occurred before and whether they are likely to happen again, if reasonable precautions or preventive measures are not undertaken by the landowner. In other words, the test of foreseeability is not whether a particular landowner foresaw a particular risk but, rather, whether a reasonably prudent person should have foreseen the risk.
If the business or landowner had knowledge of a danger, they are also required to exercise reasonable care to protect invitees from such conditions. Generally, the law balances the burden of precaution against the foreseeable risk of serious injury in establishing liability for negligence. If the foreseeable risk of serious injury is great, landowners are expected to be more demanding and stringent in their maintenance and safety precautions. Moreover, where the risk of danger is not apparent to those making use of the property, the landowner’s burden is greater. In other words, landowners are responsible for assuring their property is no more dangerous (or safe) than it appears to be.
While there is no precise way to measure what is reasonable care, the law defines reasonable as what a person of ordinary intelligence and judgment would do under like or similar circumstances. For example, it may be reasonable for a store owner to conduct periodic inspections to look for spills or other potentially dangerous conditions and monitor and clean public areas on his or her property to make sure they are safe. However, the same store owner cannot be expected to continuously inspect his or her property around the clock to ensure nothing is spilled or broken in public areas.
Other Denver Premises Liability Cases
If it is reasonably foreseeable that crime may occur on or near a property, a business or landowner has a duty of care to keep the property safe and secure for tenants or customers. This typically involves employing a certain level of security to monitor and prevent criminal behavior on the property, including the perimeter, parking lots, and building(s). Employing a security guard to monitor and protect the property can fulfill the requisite duty, as long as the security is competent and responsible. If the business or landowner fails to provide adequate security, they may be liable for damages that result.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Unfortunately, accidental drowning in swimming pools is not uncommon in Colorado. If a landowner has a swimming pool on or in their property, they owe an extra duty of care to protect guests from harm. Landowners must take reasonable steps to protect guests. This may include providing safety netting around the pool or keeping the pool in a locked area not accessible to children or without permitted use. If a landowner fails to do so, they may be liable for damages that result from an injury or death.
Contact our Denver Slip and Fall Lawyers
If you were injured as a result of the negligence of a business or landowner, your first priority should be receiving appropriate medical treatment. Subsequently, however, you should contact an experienced Denver premises liability attorney. It is important to keep in mind that your case has a statute of limitations, or a time period within which you must file suit in court or be forever barred from any recovery. Even if you are well within the limitations period, timely legal advice can be critical. Contact the slip-and-fall lawyers at Bowman & Chamberlain, LLC, by calling 720.863.6904 or emailing us to schedule a free consultation. Our lawyers handle a wide range of cases, including Car Accidents, Bicycle Accidents, Bike Accidents, Motorcycle Collisions, Pedestrian Accidents, Slip and Fall Accidents, Dog Bite Accidents, and any other form of personal injury in Arvada, Aurora, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Commerce City, Lakewood, Littleton, Thornton, Westminster, Wheat Ridge, and other parts of metropolitan Denver, Colorado.