In Colorado, the legal standard or duty to another person in regard to premises liability will depend on the status of the injured person. For example, if the injured person is a burglar, you don’t owe them any duty of care. On the other hand, if the injured person is an invitee for purposes of commerce, the owner or manager of the premises has an affirmative duty to warn the invitee of any possible dangers on the premises. Although that’s not a strict liability standard, it applies to landowners who invite individuals onto their property for purposes of financial benefit or other type of benefit. The landowner owes a duty to investigate and prevent hazardous conditions on the land.
In regard to an invitee, the landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care by discovering and preventing hazardous conditions from harming the people on their land. By far, that’s the broadest category of people. Then, there are licensees. Licensees are people who lease land from the landowner. In that case, the landowner has a duty to warn the licensee about dangers they know about or dangers that they created on the land. When it comes to premises liability for slip and falls, it applies to invitees. The landowner has a duty to take reasonable care, to inspect the property, and to fix any hazardous conditions on the property to prevent injuries to invitees.
What Are Some Examples Of Situations Where A Property Owner Would Not Be Held Liable?
A property owner would not be held liable for an injury that occurred on the premises if the danger on the property was open and obvious to any reasonable person. The injured invitee is unlikely to prevail. For example, if you are walking through the grocery store, and there is a pile of grapes on the ground and you step on it, slip, and injure yourself, you are unlikely to prevail on a liability claim. Another common circumstance in which a person is unlikely to prevail on a slip and fall or premises liability case is when there is an emergent hazardous condition that the landowner did not have an opportunity to learn about. One famous example is a cup of water that’s spilled by the person walking right in front of you. If you slip and fall on that water, the landowner does not have the opportunity to learn about the hazardous condition to fix it and prevent injury. In essence, that condition is not something the landowner could have learned about, therefore, it’s not their fault. They will not be held liable.
What Steps Should Someone Take If They Have Been Injured In A Business Establishment Or A Store?
If someone becomes injured in a business establishment or store, the very first thing they should do is to have the store manager called over, if possible. Secondly, the injured individual should complete an incident report and ask the manager if there is surveillance footage of the area where the injury occurred. It is important to make notes about the issue, take the manager’s name, the employee’s name, the nature of the hazardous condition, whether there’s surveillance, and whether an incident report was requested and filled out. The next step is to take care of any medical needs. The last order of priority is to talk to an experienced lawyer who’s litigated premises liability cases.
Just as with any other personal injury case, the owners of properties are going to have insurance companies that, in turn, have expensive and well-trained attorneys. They will attempt to talk to you before you get an attorney. They are trained to elicit damaging statements from you that will reduce the amount of compensation you get at the end. It’s essential to hire a good lawyer before you talk to the insurance company or the attorneys for the other side about your case.
What Advice Would You Give To People Who Are Hesitant To File A Premises Liability Claim?
Most people do not understand that when they walk into a building that they’ve been invited to, they have a perfect right not to be injured by the conditions on that property. If you are injured, and it’s not your fault, it’s only fair that you are made whole. The second issue to keep in mind is that you are almost certainly not taking money away from the property owner if you sue them. Usually, about 99% of the time, there will be a very large insurance company who’s insuring the business owner. Typically, a multi-billion-dollar insurance company will be the one paying to make you whole.
Is There Any Contributory Negligence In These Cases? How Could It Impact A Settlement?
In some personal injury cases, contributory negligence can be found. In those cases, contributory negligence can affect the settlement amount. A jury could find you partially responsible for your own injuries, and therefore, reduce any verdict that you might receive. One of the ways that you can avoid contributory negligence is to hire a lawyer who has litigated these types of cases before. An experienced attorney can control the flow of information and any statements you might make that would give a savvy defense attorney a contributory negligence argument in the case.
For more information on Premises Liability Claims In Colorado, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (303) 529-3476 today.