Premises Liability Attorneys in Denver Assisting Clients in Denver and Surrounding Areas
According to Colorado law, any property owner has an obligation to keep people who come onto the property reasonably safe. If you have been injured while on another person’s property, whether a business, a private piece of land, or a residence, you may be able to hold the owner accountable and receive compensation.
Call Greer Law Group at our Denver office today at 303-331-6460 to speak to a Premises liability attorney and explore your options.
What Are Some Common Accidents That Involve Premises Liability?
Any accident that happens due to the negligence of the property owner may involve premises liability. The property owner has a legal obligation to keep the property free of hazards and to provide reasonable safety for anyone who visits the property. A few examples of premises liability accidents include:
- Dog bites
- Animal attacks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Falls from decks or balconies
- Construction site accidents
- Play structure accidents
- Tripping on obstacles
- Stepping or falling on sharp objects
- Ceiling or structural collapse
- Inadequate lighting or signage
- Negligent security
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Defective stairways
- Parking lot accidents
- Accidents caused by inadequate maintenance
…and many other situations too numerous to list.
What Kinds of Damages Can I Seek in My Premises Liability Case?
The first factor in determining what damages might be recoverable in a premises liability case is the status of the plaintiff. There are three legal statuses for the plaintiff in a premises liability case, based on the purpose of the plaintiff’s presence on the property. These are the three categories:
- Trespasser: A trespasser is defined as a person who has not been invited or given permission to be on the property and who is not allowed ( or no longer allowed) to be on the property. Having granted permission previously does not necessarily mean that the property owner has granted permission indefinitely.
- Licensee: An licensee is a person who is on the property with the permission of the owner. Licensees include social guests. Most visitors to a property are licensees.
- Invitee: An invitee is a person who enters or remains to conduct business transactions or through the welcoming of the public. Invitees are generally the customers of a business. This can include business establishments such as stores or offices, and can also include any area open to the public, whether or not business is transacted.
A judge will determine the status of the individual who was on the property. This legal status determines the type of damages the plaintiff is allowed to receive:
- Trespasser: A trespasser is only entitled to damages that were caused willfully or deliberately by the property owner.
- Licensee: A licensee may recover damages for the property owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care in preventing or warning about known dangers on the property.
- Invitee: Invitees are eligible to recover damages for a property owner’s failure to provide reasonable protection against harm from dangers they actually knew about or should have known about.
Is There a Limit on the Amount I Can Seek in Compensation for my Premises Liability Claim in Colorado?
Premises liability cases are personal injury cases. The damages you may seek in a personal injury case in Colorado include economic (pecuniary) damages and non-economic( non-pecuniary) damages.
Economic damages include actual, documented expenses caused by your premises liability injury, including things like medical bills, lost wages, the costs of over-the-counter medications or medical devices that you may require, and other costs such as travel to and from medical appointments. These costs are easily proven with pay stubs, receipts, and copies of bills. There is no limit on how much you can receive in economic damages in Colorado.
Non-economic damages include less tangible losses caused by your premises liability injury. They can include things like pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of relationships, permanent scarring or disfigurement, and the loss of the enjoyment of life you had previously, to name a few. There are limits on what you can recover in non-economic damages in Colorado. While the amount of the limit changes periodically to account for inflation, the current limit on non-economic damages in personal injury cases in Colorado is $613,760 for incidents that occur on or after January 1, 2020, and before January 1, 2022. For accidents that happen on and after January 1, 2022, and before January 1, 2024, the cap is $642,180. A judge can increase these amounts under certain specific circumstances. The Colorado Secretary of State publishes a Certificate with all of the current damage caps, and it is a good idea to check it out to see what the caps may be at the time of your personal injury claim.
A third kind of damages that may be awarded in certain cases is punitive damages. Punitive damages cannot be sought by the plaintiff in the initial complaint, but will be considered by the court once the trial has started if extreme negligence, including maliciousness or intentional harm, is proven. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant, as the name suggests, and also to serve as a deterrent to those who might act in a similar fashion in the future. Punitive damages are generally limited to an amount equal to the total of the economic and non-economic damages that have been awarded, and are awarded in addition to those damages. There are certain cases in which a judge can increase the amount of punitive damages, depending on the details of the case.
Is There a Time Limit for Filing a Premises Liability Claim in Colorado?
A time limit on filing claims is called a statute of limitations. In Colorado, the statute of limitations for premises liability cases is two years from the time of the incident. In some rare cases, such as the case of an injury that did not become apparent until some time after the accident, the deadline can be extended, but this is not common in premises liability cases.
What is an “Attractive Nuisance”?
One type of premises liability case involves what is known as an attractive nuisance. An attractive nuisance is a feature of the property that is likely to attract children and also harm them. Some examples of attractive nuisances include:
- Swimming pools not fenced with a locked gate
- Outdoor play equipment such as playsets, jungle gyms, or trampolines
- Discarded appliances such as old refrigerators or freezers that may trap a child who gets inside
- Abandoned vehicles that children may play in and set in motion or otherwise injure themselves
- Water hazards such as cisterns or rain collection canals that are not fenced or otherwise blocked off
- Falling hazards such as abandoned wells or deep holes
- Construction sites with unattended heavy equipment or tools or dirt piles and construction materials
There are five criteria necessary that must be met in order to recover compensation for damages caused by an attractive nuisance:
- The landowner knows, or should know, that children could trespass on the property.
- The condition on the property could possibly cause serious injury or death to children.
- The children involved are too young to understand the risk of the dangerous condition.
- The cost required to remedy the dangerous condition is minimal compared with the risk to children.
- The landowner does not take reasonable steps to eliminate the danger posed by the condition.
What Can a Premises Liability Lawyer Do for Me?
If you, your child, or another loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, you may be entitled to monetary compensation that will pay medical bills, make up for lost wages, and at least partially compensate you for the pain and suffering the accident caused. Handling the legal requirements of a premises liability case can be complex and time-consuming, and success requires legal knowledge and experience. The skilled premises liability attorneys at Greer Law Group understand that recuperating from an accident can be a long process that requires rest. We are here to take on the burden of your premises liability case so that you can have the rest and peace of mind you need to recover from your injuries and get back to as normal a life as possible.
The premises liability attorneys at Greer Law Group have the right combination of compassion and skill to stand by your side and fight for what’s right. You need us on your side, and we will be there, every step of the way. Our injury lawyers are here to help. 303-331-6460