One of the most common types of cases that are brought by personal injury lawyers are slip-and-fall cases. If a hazard could have been prevented but wasn’t, like picking up a banana when it falls off a stand, the landowner or occupier could be liable.How careful does a landowner or occupier have to be?
Colorado’s Premises Liability Act controls all cases in which a person is injured on property. The law divides plaintiffs into three categories, depending on how or why they are on the land. First there are trespassers. A “trespasser” means a person who enters or remains on the land of another without the landowner’s consent. Next are individuals like social guests or others who are on the property for their own convenience or to advance his or her own interests, pursuant to the landowner’s permission or consent. The law identifies them as “licensees.” Finally, there are people like customers at a store who enter or remain 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. People who fall into that category are called “invitees.” The labels can be confusing, but they are critical to determining whether a land owner is liable.
A landowner’s duty to protect trespassers is minimal-- they are only liable for injuries caused by the willful or intentional acts of the landowner. A “licensee” may recover for injuries that result from a landowner’s unreasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner about which the landowner actually knew, or his or her failure to warn about dangers that a person would not ordinarily be aware. Finally, the standard of care owed to an invitee is that typical in other types of negligence cases: a landowner is liable for injuries caused by the failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he or she actually knew or should have known.
There are, of course, exceptions. Children who are injured may be protected by the attractive nuisance doctrine. Liability may be affected by who owns the property—the government or a private party. Sometimes it matters if the land is leased or owned or if someone else is responsible for the condition of the proper or the activities conducted on the property.Get help navigating the complex issues that can arise in property cases.
The law related to premises liability is surprisingly complex and the courts are constantly refining who can and cannot recover for damages. Here are a few situations that the courts have recently addressed:
- In Arapahoe County a neighbor is injured while returning a borrowed propane tank.
- A child is injured in Fort Collins on a rented inflatable bungee run at a private club.
- A woman is injured at the Cherry Creek State Park when a branch falls on her tent.
- A Jefferson County resident is injured on a sidewalk outside a medical clinic leasing office space.
- A Denver construction worker was injured while he was in a house at night that was under construction.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you should seek legal advice about your options. At Springer & Steinberg, our attorneys handle many premises liability cases on behalf of Denver residents and other individuals. Our experience allows us to anticipate both multiple defendants and alternative theories of liability as we work to assist you in pursing all possible causes of action against landowners, property managers and others. To schedule an appointment to discuss a premises liability case, call us today at 877-473-6004 or contact us online to set up a free initial consultation. We also help accident victims elsewhere in Colorado, including in Aurora, Centennial, Boulder, and Colorado Springs.