Premises liability law refers to the legal duty of residential, commercial, and public property owners and business tenants to reasonably ensure that the property is safe for those who enter it. When property owners breach this duty and their breach results in injuries, the injured parties might be eligible to bring a personal injury claim against the property owners based on negligence.
A Fort Collins premises liability lawyer may be able to help you hold a negligent property owner accountable for their careless behavior and seek compensation for your injuries and losses. Once hired, a personal injury attorney could assess the viability of your claim and identify the specific duty of care owed by the negligent property owner.
Premises Liability in Fort Collins
While most premises liability claims that attorneys in Fort Collins handle are from slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, other types of accidents may also result in legal claims. For instance, falling merchandise, exposed pipes or wires, and faulty or missing railings on stairways can cause individuals to suffer significant injuries as well.
Regardless of the specific hazard, business owners or commercial tenants who have a specific level of responsibility or control over business property must keep the property safe in various respects under Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. §13-21-115. This obligation includes the following duties:
- Regularly inspecting their property for dangerous conditions and taking prompt action to either remedy the situation or warn others of it until they can remedy it
- Taking steps to periodically maintain conditions on the property that could become hazardous in the absence of proper upkeep
- Providing adequate security for individuals who are lawfully on the property, such as by ensuring that parking lots have enough lighting and other safety measures
- Remedying poor construction, workmanship, or repairs that make property dangerous for others
Defining Types of Visitors
C.R.S. §13-21-115 also defines who may recover damages based on the status of the injured person as an “invitee,” “licensee,” or “trespasser.” An invitee is a person who enters a property by express or implied invitation of the landowner for some purpose of the landowner—for example, a customer at a retail store. An invitee may recover damages for injuries that result from dangerous conditions that the landowner knew or should have known about.
A licensee is a person who enters a property for their own purpose or pursuant to the permission of the landowner, such as a house guest. A licensee may recover damages for injuries that result from dangerous conditions the landowner actually knew about.
Finally, a trespasser is someone who enters property without the landowner’s permission. A trespasser generally cannot recover damages for injuries that result from dangerous conditions on the land. However, there are a few exceptions, such as highly dangerous artificial conditions that are unlikely to be discovered or appreciated by a trespasser when the landowner knows of trespassers.
Damages in Premises Liability Cases
A personal injury claim based on premises liability can enable injury victims to recover various forms of damages.
Economic damages may include medical bills, lost income, both currently and in the future, rehabilitation costs, and prescription and medical device expenses.
Non-economic damages include damages for loss of enjoyment of life, inability to perform activities of daily living, and pain and suffering.
Permanent impairment damages include compensation for permanent injuries that impair the physical function of the body or parts of the body. The extent of damages available depends on the severity and permanency of the injuries sustained in the accident.
Comparative fault also may be a factor, since in some situations a plaintiff may be partially to blame for the accident that caused their injuries. In this kind of case, that plaintiff still may be able to recover a reduced amount of damages with the help of a premises liability lawyer in Fort Collins, but only if they are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident.
Call a Fort Collins Premises Liability Attorney for Guidance
Premises liability cases can be complicated matters and often involve allegations that all parties involved bear some amount of fault for the accident in question. Furthermore, you may be dealing with multiple parties and multiple insurance companies, all or some of whom may deny liability.
As a result, you may want to rely on the knowledge and experience that legal counsel can offer you in this situation. A Fort Collins premises liability lawyer could work to document the accident scene, gather evidence, explore your legal alternatives, and decide upon the best course of action in your case. Call Mac Hester Law today to learn more.