If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you likely need an attorney’s help ASAP. You may think that your case is cut-and-dry, but I guarantee that the property owner and their insurance company are going to fight hard against you. Time is of the essence in building a strong case so that you get the compensation and care that you are owed.
Call or text the O’Sullivan Law Firm at 303-388-5304. We handle slip and fall accident cases regularly and we have a deep understanding of Colorado’s laws. We have also seen all the tricks that insurance companies use to weasel out of their financial responsibilities. But time is of the essence. We need to get down to the property where you fell ASAP so that we can collect witness statements, video footage, employee statements, and records of the property’s maintenance.
At The O’Sullivan Law Firm, we focus on providing a client-centered approach to every case. We listen to the goals and needs of every client so that we can formulate the best strategy moving forward.
We get results for our clients and are successful in 99 percent of our cases. Success for us means that our clients secure compensation for all of their needs after an injury occurs.
Our personal injury lawyers in Denver take slip and fall accident cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that clients will not have to worry about paying legal fees until after we secure the compensation they need.
A Denver Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Can Help Your Claim
A slip and fall attorney is going to play an integral role in a slip and fall accident case. The reality is that many people think that these incidents are minor, but that is not always the case. An attorney may be necessary to help stand up to aggressive insurance carriers or property owners in these situations. The job of a personal injury attorney in a slip and fall accident case is multifaceted and begins with gathering the evidence needed to prove liability. This includes:
Video surveillance of the incident
Photographs that show the immediate aftermath of the incident
Statements from eyewitnesses
Statements from employees
Documents showing the safety history of the property
In addition to gathering this evidence, an attorney is going to simultaneously work to ensure clients are evaluated by a trusted medical professional who can treat their injuries and properly assess their total expected losses.
Using all of the information gathered, an attorney will handle all communication and negotiation with other parties involved in an attempt to reach a fair out-of-court settlement. If they are unable to reach a fair settlement, it may be necessary to file a civil personal injury lawsuit in order to ensure the client receives the compensation they need.
How Do Slip and Fall Incidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents have a variety of causes. At The O’Sullivan Law Firm, our team regularly finds that these incidents occur due to the following:
Wet entry or exits due to rain, sleet, snow, or slush.
Spills of food or drink in pedestrian walkways.
Obstructions in walkways or pathways, including wires, cords, boxes, or another type of equipment.
Floor mats that are bunched up or out of place.
No “wet floor” signs posted after mopping or waxing the floor.
Broken pavement on the sidewalks or in a parking lot.
A lack of handrails on ramps or stairs.
Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
According to a study done by the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall injuries account for more than one million emergency room visits each year across the country. This makes up about 12 percent of total fall injuries where a victim must seek emergency medical care each year.
Unfortunately, injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents can be severe and lead to significant setbacks for victims. Our spinal cord injury attorneys in Denver regularly help clients who have sustained the following:
Severe sprains or strains
Broken or dislocated bones
Traumatic brain injuries
Other severe spine or back injuries
Lacerations or puncture wounds
We do want to point out that even a seemingly minor slip and fall injury can lead to significant setbacks for a victim, particularly if they have to take time off of work while they heal.
Types of Compensation Available for a Denver Slip and Fall Accident
There may be various types of compensation available to slip and fall accident victims in Denver. The attorneys at The O’Sullivan Law Firm have been able to recover the following types of economic and non-economic compensation on behalf of slip and fall accident victims throughout Colorado:
Complete coverage of their medical bills
Coverage of prescription medications or medical devices
Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
Lost income if a victim cannot work
General household out-of-pocket expenses
Pain and suffering damages
Loss of quality of life damages
The total amount of compensation available in these situations will vary depending on the circumstances surrounding each particular slip and fall scenario. Some of the factors contributing to how much compensation a person receives include the severity of the injuries, the level of the victim’s pain and suffering, whether or not the victim is able to work, and the length of recovery time. If you have lost a loved one due to a slip and fall accident, consult with our wrongful death lawyers in Denver today for a free consultation.
Who is Liable in a Slip and Fall Case?
Determining liability in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident can be challenging, particularly if the property owner makes it hard to gather evidence. However, it is important to understand that property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises safe for those who have a right to be there, particularly invitees and licensees. Some of the most common liable parties after a slip and fall incident occur include:
Property owners. If a property owner’s negligence is the reason why an individual sustained a slip and fall injury in the first place, then it is certainly possible for them to be held liable. However, determining who actually owns the property can be challenging. For example, let us suppose a slip and fall occurs right outside of a grocery store entrance. While it may be possible for the grocery store to own the property, that is not always the case. There may be a separate property owner responsible for repair and maintenance right outside of the grocery store.
Property operators. In some cases, there are companies that operate properties on behalf of the property owner. When this occurs, it is very likely that liability falls to these property operators, depending on how the operational contract has been written. In these cases, as you and your attorney begin digging into liable parties, you may find that a property owner will be the one facing a civil lawsuit.
Store owners. The owners of a store may not necessarily own the property they operate on, but they may be the ones held liable in the event a slip and fall incident occurs. For example, if a slip and fall incident occurs inside of a grocery store due to a spill of food or drink, then the store will likely be held liable, not the person who actually owns the property (if these are separate entities).
What Should I Do After a Slip and Fall Accident in Colorado?
If you sustain a slip and fall injury in Denver, there are various steps that you can take to help ensure whether you recover maximum compensation. We understand that taking all these steps in this exact order may not be possible, but you should at least try to do all of these as quickly as you can after an incident occurs.
Seek medical care. Your number one priority after sustaining a slip and fall injury is seeking medical treatment immediately. This may involve dialing 911 and having emergency personnel come to the scene to treat the injury and take you to the hospital. Even if you do not take an ambulance to the hospital, you should go directly to a doctor to receive an evaluation.
Report the incident. The slip and fall incident needs to be reported to the store owner or property manager immediately. Most property owners have policies in place that outline how to handle these incidents. You need to make sure that a supervisor or store owner knows that the incident has occurred.
Gather evidence. If possible, you should gather as much evidence as you can at the scene. Get out your phone and use the camera to take photos or a video of the entire scene, including causes of the incident, your injuries, nearby surveillance cameras, and more. If there were any eyewitnesses to the slip and fall incident, get their names and contact information quickly.
Contact an attorney. You should speak to a skilled slip and fall accident attorney in Denver as soon as possible. An attorney can get involved quickly, investigate the incident, and preserve any evidence needed to help your claim.
Contact Our Denver Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Today
If you or somebody you love has sustained an injury in a slip and fall accident in the Denver area, contact The O’Sullivan Law Firm as soon as possible. Our attorneys have significant experience handling premises liability claims, particularly slip and fall incidents. We know what it takes to help our clients obtain full compensation for the medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering damages, and more.
Let us get to work investigating your claim so we can determine liability and help get you back on your feet. We do want to point out that victims have a two-year window with which to file these claims, per the Colorado personal injury statute of limitations. When you need a Denver slip and fall accident lawyer, do not hesitate to contact us online for a free consultation or call us at (303) 388-5304.
More Information about Slip and Fall Laws in Colorado
Colorado’s Premises Liability Act
The following is Colorado’s Premises Liability Act in full. At the bottom of the statute, see a summary of what it means for Colorado slip and fall victims.
Colorado’s Premises Liability Statute, C.R.S. 13-21-115
(1) The short title of this section is the “Colorado Premises Liability Act”.
(2) The general assembly finds and declares that:
(a) The provisions of this section were enacted in 1986 to promote a state policy of responsibility by both landowners and those upon the land as well as to ensure that the ability of an injured party to recover is correlated with the injured party’s status as a trespasser, licensee, or invitee;
(b) These objectives were characterized by the Colorado supreme court as “legitimate governmental interests” in Gallegos v. Phipps, 779 P.2d 856 (Colo. 1989);
(c) The purpose of amending this section in the 1990 legislative session was to:
(I) Ensure that the language of this section effectuates these legitimate governmental interests by imposing on landowners a higher standard of care with respect to an invitee than a licensee and a higher standard of care with respect to a licensee than a trespasser; and
(II) Create a legal climate that will promote private property rights and commercial enterprise and foster the availability and affordability of insurance;
(d) The general assembly recognizes that by amending this section it is not reinstating the common law status categories as they existed immediately prior to Mile Hi Fence v. Radovich, 175 Colo. 537, 489 P.2d 308 (1971) but that its purpose is to protect landowners from liability in some circumstances when they were not protected at common law and to define the instances when liability will be imposed in the manner most consistent with the policies set forth in subsections (2)(a) and (2)(c) of this section; and
(e)(I) The Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. v. Wagner, 2020 CO 51, 467 P.3d 287, and Wagner v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., 2019 COA 26, 471 P.3d 1089, decisions do not accurately reflect the intent of the general assembly regarding landowner liability and must not be relied upon in applying this section to the extent that the majority opinions determined:
(A) The foreseeability of third-party criminal conduct based upon whether the goods or services offered by a landowner are controversial; and
(B) That a landowner could be held liable as a substantial factor in causing harm without considering whether a third-party criminal act was the predominant cause of that harm, as noted by the dissenting justices and judge.
(II) In making this declaration, the general assembly does not intend to reject or otherwise disturb any judicial decision other than the Wagner decisions.
(3) In any civil action brought against a landowner by a person who alleges injury occurring while on the real property of another and by reason of the condition of such property, or activities conducted or circumstances existing on such property, the landowner is liable only as provided in subsection (4) of this section. Sections 13-21-111, 13-21-111.5, and 13-21-111.7 apply to an action to which this section applies. This subsection (3) must not be construed to abrogate the doctrine of attractive nuisance as applied to persons under fourteen years of age. A person who is at least fourteen years of age but is less than eighteen years of age is presumed competent for purposes of the application of this section.
(4)(a) A trespasser may only recover damages willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner.
(b) A licensee may only recover damages caused:
(I) By the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner that the landowner actually knew about; or
(II) By the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner that are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and that the landowner actually knew about.
(c)(I) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4)(c)(II) of this section, an invitee may recover for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers the landowner actually knew about or should have known about.
(II) If the landowner’s real property is classified for property tax purposes as agricultural land or vacant land, an invitee may recover for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers the landowner actually knew about.
(5) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting the provisions of subsection (4) of this section that the circumstances under which a licensee may recover include all of the circumstances under which a trespasser could recover and that the circumstances under which an invitee may recover include all of the circumstances under which a trespasser or a licensee could recover.
(6) In any action to which this section applies, the court shall determine whether the plaintiff is a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee, in accordance with the definitions set forth in subsection (7) of this section. If two or more landowners are party defendants to the action, the court shall determine the application of this section to each landowner. The issues of liability and damages in any such action must be determined by the jury or, if there is no jury, by the court.
(7) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) “Invitee” means a person who enters or remains 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.
(b) “Landowner” means, without limitation, an authorized agent or a person in possession of real property and a person legally responsible for the condition of real property or for the activities conducted or circumstances existing on real property.
(c) “Licensee” means a person who enters or remains on the land of another for the licensee’s own convenience or to advance the licensee’s own interests, pursuant to the landowner’s permission or consent. “Licensee” includes a social guest.
(d) “Trespasser” means a person who enters or remains on the land of another without the landowner’s consent.
(8) If any provision of this section is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, the remaining provisions of the section are deemed valid.
A Summary of the Colorado Premises Liability Statute
Colorado’s Premises Liability Statute, C.R.S. 13-21-115, governs the legal responsibilities of landowners in Colorado when it comes to injuries or accidents that occur on their property. This statute distinguishes between three categories of individuals who may enter a property: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. It also outlines the duties that a landowner owes to each of these categories. To explain these concepts in plain language, let’s break it down:
1. Invitee: An invitee is someone who is on the landowner’s property with the landowner’s express or implied invitation for the mutual benefit of both parties. This typically includes customers at a store, clients at a business, or guests at a social event hosted by the landowner. The landowner owes invitees the highest duty of care.
Duty to Invitees:
Landowners have a duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure the property is safe for invitees. This includes regularly inspecting the premises, addressing any hazards promptly, and warning invitees about any known dangers that the invitee might not reasonably discover on their own. The landowner must take steps to maintain a safe environment for invitees.
A licensee is someone who is on the landowner’s property with permission but for their own benefit, not for the mutual benefit of the landowner. Examples of licensees may include social guests who visit your home or neighbors who come over to borrow a tool.
Duty to Licensees:
Landowners owe licensees a duty to warn them of any dangerous conditions that the landowner knows about and that the licensee is unlikely to discover. This means the landowner must disclose any hidden dangers that they are aware of but the licensee may not reasonably expect to encounter.
A trespasser is someone who enters the landowner’s property without permission. Trespassers have the least legal protection under the statute.
Duty to Trespassers:
Landowners generally do not owe a duty of care to trespassers except in situations where the landowner is aware of the trespasser’s presence. In such cases, the landowner must refrain from willfully or deliberately causing harm to the trespasser and must avoid creating dangerous traps intentionally.
In summary, Colorado’s Premises Liability Statute classifies individuals on a property into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers, each with different duties and responsibilities for the landowner.
The statute’s primary aim is to promote safety by ensuring that landowners take reasonable measures to protect those who enter their property, depending on the nature of their presence and their relationship with the landowner.
If a landowner fails to fulfill these duties and someone is injured as a result, they may be held liable for the injuries and damages.
Slip and Fall Examples
Let’s consider a scenario where Colorado’s Premises Liability Statute, C.R.S. 13-21-115, would apply to a situation where a person falls while getting gas at a gas station due to snow or ice:
Scenario: Slip and Fall at a Gas Station due to Snow or Ice
Imagine that it’s winter in Colorado, and there has been a recent snowfall. A person, whom we’ll call Sarah, stops at a local gas station to fill up her car’s gas tank. As Sarah walks toward the gas pump, she slips and falls on a patch of ice near the fueling area. As a result of the fall, Sarah suffers injuries, including a broken wrist.
Application of Premises Liability Statute
1. Determine Sarah’s Status:
First, we need to determine Sarah’s status in terms of premises liability. Was she an invitee, licensee, or trespasser?
In this case, Sarah is likely considered an invitee. She is on the gas station’s property for a purpose that benefits both her and the gas station (getting gas for her car), and she is there with the implied invitation of the gas station.
2. Assess the Landowner’s Duty:
Next, we need to consider the duties that the gas station owner owes to Sarah as an invitee under C.R.S. 13-21-115.
Duty of Reasonable Care: The gas station owner owes Sarah a duty of reasonable care. This means they must take reasonable steps to ensure that the premises are safe and free from hazards, including snow and ice. In a snowy and icy environment, this might include regular snow and ice removal, salting or sanding walkways, and warning signs where necessary.
3. Analyze the Circumstances:
Now, we need to evaluate whether the gas station owner fulfilled their duty of reasonable care in this specific situation.
Failure to Maintain Safe Premises: If it can be shown that the gas station owner knew about the icy condition near the fueling area (or should have known) but failed to take appropriate actions to address it, such as clearing the ice or placing warning signs, they may be found negligent in maintaining safe premises.
4. Legal Consequences:
If it is determined that the gas station owner was negligent and that negligence directly contributed to Sarah’s slip and fall and subsequent injuries, Sarah may have a valid premises liability claim against the gas station owner.
Sarah could seek compensation for her medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from the accident.
It’s important to note that the outcome of such a case can depend on various factors, including the specific circumstances, the evidence presented, and whether the gas station owner met their duty of reasonable care. Consulting with an attorney experienced in premises liability cases would be essential for both Sarah and the gas station owner to navigate the legal process and determine liability.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, call or text The O’Sullivan Law Firm today: 303-388-5304