Slip and fall lawyer Jeffry Dougan sees slip and fall accidents all the time since they are the most common. Most of the time, these cases involve people slipping on a puddle of water in the grocery store or falling on an icy parking lot.
And although slip and falls are the most common accidents that occur on other people’s property, Colorado’s Premises Liability Act is meant to address any type of injury that one suffers on another’s real property. If you haven’t already read Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney‘s piece on what to do in case of a slip and fall, stop now and click here.
In Colorado, the degree of premises liability for a property owner varies depending on the type of person that is on the property. Wait, what? Type of person? Aren’t all persons treated equally? Not under the law.
Colorado slip and fall law breaks people down into 3 categories: (1) trespasser; (2) licensee; and (3) invitee.
A trespasser is legally defined as a person who enters or remains on the land of another without the landowner’s consent. Under Colorado slip and fall law, a person who is deemed a trespasser (say someone who was breaking into a Wal-Mart or, conceivably, a person who had a restraining order out against him that prevented him from entering a certain store), can only sue a landowner if the landowner willfully or deliberately causes harm to the trespasser. For a ridiculous example of this concept, check out this case where a burglar was shot by a 90-year-old homeowner and is now suing him. Yes, the burglar (trespasser) is suing the homeowner.
The second type of person classified under Colorado’s slip and fall law is a “licensee.” A licensee is defined as any “person who enters or remains on the land of another for the licensee’s own convenience or to advance his own interests, pursuant to the landowner’s permission or consent.” A licensee is also a social guest or partygoer.
A licensee may only recover damages from a landowner for damages caused by (1) the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner of which the landowner actually knew; or (2) by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew.
The last type of person that Colorado slip and fall law deals with is the “invitee” which is 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. In your typical invitee slip and fall case, we’re talking about a person like a Wal-Mart shopper or a Chili’s diner for example.
In the case of invitees and slip and fall litigation, an invitee can recover for damages caused by the landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he actually knew or should have known. It’s not enough – like in the case of the licensee – for the landlord to say “he didn’t know” that there was an angry bear hanging out in the back of the complex that liked to break into people’s homes. If the apartment complex is in Evergreen and abuts a national forest, then the landlord should have known that the possibility of a bear breaking into someone’s home could be a real danger.
In most slip and fall cases, Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney is going to be dealing with cases involving invitees – persons that slip and fall in a restaurant or a grocery store. As you can see, the slip and fall language of “unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he actually knew or should have known” is a very squishy standard. What’s “reasonable?” What does “should have known” mean?
Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney is here to help you navigate the often complex and murky waters of your Colorado slip and fall case. Call 303-704-1222 today to schedule your FREE consultation with Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney.
*The foregoing information is just that: information, not legal advice. If you would like legal advice, call Your Denver Personal Injury Attorney at 303-704-1222 today.