The pandemic has caused an increase in household delivery services across a wide variety of industries. If you order meals, groceries, and other goods to your home, it is a good idea to think about the safety of the people who make those packages magically appear on your doorstep. No one wants to be the cause of someone’s twisted ankle or worse. No one wants to end up paying for the damages, either.
Colorado’s Premises Liability Statute
If a delivery person is injured on your Colorado property, you can be held liable for their injuries. Colorado’s premises liability statute, C.R.S. §13-21-115, divides injured persons into three categories for the purposes of recovering damages:
- Invitees: people who are on a property for the benefit of the property owner. For example, customers visiting a grocery store are invitees.
- Licensees: people who are on a property to advance their own interests. This category includes social guests and contract workers.
- Trespassers: people who are on a property without the landowner’s consent. Trespassers are owed only a minimal duty of care.
Whether delivery workers are invitees or licensees is a matter of debate. Regardless, they are “invited” to be on your property and are therefore owed a high duty of care. Whether a homeowner is found liable depends on whether the homeowner is found to be negligent in their duty to keep their property safe for guests. Homeowners are expected to take reasonable steps to mitigate hazards on the property about which they know, or should know. This includes conditions that can lead to slips and falls.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Many property owners are so accustomed to the hazards they live with that they instinctively accommodate the uneven stair, the loose handrail, the tricycle. However, a delivery person dropping off a package at 10:00 PM does not know to avoid these things. Falls are most often caused by wet and slippery floors, snow and ice, poor lighting, and improperly maintained stairways and walkways. It is important to note that for the purpose of Colorado’s premises liability statute, one does not have to literally own a property to be found liable. Renters must maintain safe premises, too.
Premises Liability Cases
Slip and fall injuries can be severe, including broken bones and brain injuries. Victims can recover compensation for damages including current and future lost wages and medical expenses, lost earning capacity, and more. Usually these damages are paid for by homeowner’s insurance. However, slip and fall cases are never a “slam dunk.” Insurance companies will often argue that the injured person is to blame because they did not watch where they were going or wear safe shoes, for example. Still, if a homeowner is found to be 51% liable for a victim’s injuries they will owe some compensation to the injured person. Keeping your property safe is not just the kind thing to do. It avoids a lot of legal risk due to current premises liability laws!
Have You Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
If you have been injured by slipping and falling, you should document the unsafe conditions if you are able. Photos of ice or other hazardous conditions can be very helpful to your case. Excellent legal representation makes a big difference too. We want to hear your story.
Article by Molly Fuscher, Paralegal