Everyone in the state of Colorado should have at least a basic understanding of the state’s premises liability laws. Landowners will find it easier to keep visitors safe and protect themselves from preventable lawsuits. Those who are injured will find it easier to move forward with the process of filing a personal injury claim, should they choose to do so. In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of the Colorado Premises Liability Act.
The state legislature wrote and passed the Colorado Premises Liability Act in 1986 for two primary purposes. For one, they wanted to establish guidelines for any persons injured on another person’s land. The Colorado Premises Liability Act aimed to establish guidelines for how such parties were to collect damages. Additionally, the state legislature wrote the Act to promote landowner responsibility. When you visit a property, you should be able to expect a certain reasonable standard of care. Landowners must account for this and take care to minimize any potential risks on their property. Tenants and contractors may, at times, also be held responsible for property conditions. The court may even find multiple persons or entities responsible, depending on the case.
According to Colorado statutes, there are three different classifications of persons who enter another person’s property: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Each classification places a unique level of responsibility on the landowner to provide a safe environment. As the name may suggest, an invitee’s presence is welcome onto the property. More than that, an invitee has a mutually beneficial relationship with the property owner. Examples of invitees include customers and tenants. Licensees enter the property for their own benefit. However, they are still there with the landowner’s consent (which can be either implied or expressed). Social guests (of tenants) and volunteers are examples of licensees. Trespassers, on the other hand, are those who enter the property without any consent. They may or may not have passed by “No Trespassing” signs or refused to leave the property after being asked. Trespassers are often thieves or other types of criminals. Landowners have the highest degree of responsibility to invitees, then to licensees, and then to trespassers. All three classifications may file a personal injury claim if they feel as though they suffered an accident as a result of landowner negligence.
It is important to note that landowners are under the highest obligation of responsibility for visiting children. As such, they must account for any “attractive nuisances” on the property. These are anything on the property that could attract a child and cause harm. Examples include unfenced swimming pools, mining caves, farm machinery, and aggressive animals. In the state of Colorado, this doctrine of attractive nuisance applies specifically to children under fourteen years of age. Because many young children are not yet capable of reading, warning signs alone are not sufficient. Furthermore, the law does not classify children as invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Thus, a landowner may be liable for a child’s injuries, even if he was not welcome on the property.
An invitee or licensee that suffered injury as a result of landowner negligence may recover damages for any measurable injuries. However, they must be able to prove a direct correlation between their accident and the landowner’s breach of duty of care. If a landowner could not have reasonably anticipated the risk, then they may not be held liable. For instance, the landowner may have transferred control of the property to a tenant. Though the landowner may have the right to inspect and repair, this may not be enough to make them responsible for the tenant. Of course, there are cases where there is proof that the landowner was aware of the dangers on their property. Trespassers may only recover damages for any injuries sustained by a landowner’s knowing and willful actions. Landowners may also want to consider posting “No Trespassing” signs around their property to show an effort to keep uninvited persons off the land.
When it comes to personal injury, time is of the essence. If possible, try to document as much evidence of the incident as you can. Take photos or videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and any other potentially relevant information. If anyone witnessed your incident, ask if you can take down their account. Make sure to get their contact information, as you may need to refer back to them later. You may even want to consider asking nearby business owners if they caught the accident on their security cameras. You should also make sure to seek medical attention right away, regardless of whether or not you plan to file a personal injury claim. Many injuries can lie dormant until it is too late. Additionally, the other party may argue that you chose not to see a doctor because you are exaggerating or faking your injuries.
Property liability lawsuits are complicated and difficult to handle on your own. Legal jargon can get confusing, especially when you are just trying to focus on your recovery. Speaking to a respected Colorado property liability lawyer is the best thing you can do for your case. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses and also for any wages lost as a result of the injury. The right legal team will be able to get all the necessary evidence to build your case. You deserve care as individualized as you are.
If you or a loved one have recently fallen victim to personal injury, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide personal injury attorneys. Let us fight for you.