Colorado Slip and Fall Law
In Colorado, slip and fall claims are governed by the Premises Liability Act, C.R.S. §13-21-115. The act divides injured persons into three categories for the purposes of recovering damages:
- Invitees: people who are on a property to conduct business
- Licensees: people who are on a property to advance their own interests, including social guests
- Trespassers: people who are on a property without the landowner’s consent
The highest duty of care is owed to invitees; however, there is a high duty of care whenever a property owner invites others onto their property.
Slip and Fall Cases
Most slip and fall cases are brought against property owners when slipping or tripping hazards, like wet or damaged floors, loose throw rugs, cables, or snow and ice, cause someone to fall and become injured. Falls can be caused by other hazards too, like inadequate lighting and loose handrails. For severe or permanent injuries, recovery can include current and future lost wages and medical expenses, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, and loss of quality of life.
COMMON LOCATIONS FOR SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
- Private Property
WHAT TO DO IN A SLIP AND FALL SITUATION
When you have been injured by falling on someone else’s property, you should seek medical care as soon as possible, even if you are not sure you are hurt. Not only is this important to protect your health, but it is also important for the purposes of documenting your claim. You should also report the incident to the property owner or manager, and take pictures of the scene of the fall. If you have an injury requiring medical care, you should contact a Denver personal injury lawyer before speaking to any insurance agent or company.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
The statute of limitations for slip and fall cases in Colorado is 2 years. However, if the fall occurs on public property, a special letter must be sent within 180 days. There are a few exceptions, but generally the time to obtain records and build a case is very short. It is important to get legal representation early so your attorney has time to gather evidence. Surveillance videos, in particular, are often only kept for a certain length of time.
Are Slip and Fall Cases Difficult to Win?
Slip and Fall cases are among the more challenging kinds of negligence cases to prove, and winning them requires a high degree of legal skill. That being said, the four elements of any negligence action also apply to slip and falls. Your attorney will have to prove:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The plaintiff sustained injuries.
- The injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.
To put it more specifically, in most cases your Colorado slip and fall attorney will have to prove that a hazardous condition was present on the property, property owner knew or should have known about it and mitigated the hazard, and the hazard caused the plaintiff to become injured.
COMMON DEFENSES AGAINST SLIP AND FALL
As you can imagine, property owners (and their insurers) are not eager to pay damages when someone falls on their property. Two common defenses against slip and fall cases are that the property owner was not negligent (because the hazard was not within the property owner’s control) or the plaintiff was not being careful. Colorado courts allow for shared liability, which means plaintiffs can be found to be partially at fault and the damages reduced accordingly. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 10% at fault, then 10% will be subtracted from the award ($10,000 award minus 10% fault equals $9000 award). As long as a plaintiff is not found to be 50% or more at fault, then some recovery can be obtained.
WAYS TO BOOST YOUR CASE
There are many ways you can help your Colorado attorney prove your case, and several of them have to do with what happens right after a fall:
- Seek medical attention and tell the doctor what happened
- Take pictures of the accident scene
- Get the contact information of any witnesses
- Report the incident to property management
- Contact an attorney
- Do not speak with insurance agents or companies without contacting your attorney first
- Communicate with your attorney as needed
- Participate in settlement negotiations
- Be willing to go to trial if necessary
COMMON SLIP AND FALL INJURIES
Slip and fall injuries can be devastating and permanent, but even a relatively mild injury can cause months of inconvenience and pain. Common injuries include wrist and ankle injuries, back and neck injuries, and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
CALL A PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Slip and fall cases are never a “slam dunk,” and winning them is practically an art form unto itself. At Shafner Law, we have decades of experience recovering damages for slip and fall clients. We have taken these cases to trial and won. We work on a contingent fee basis and collect nothing unless you win, too.
For a free consultation, call Shafner Law at (303) 796-0555 or fill out the Case Form below.
Additional Slip and Fall Injury Resources