Aurora Premises Liability Lawyer
When injuries happen on someone else’s property, the owner or occupier could be liable for money damages based on premises liability. This principle holds that the owner or occupier of a property must keep the premises in a safe condition, or at least warn visitors about hazards. Failure to do so is negligence and gives rise to a potential claim for damages.
If you suffered injuries on someone else’s premises and believe that their negligence may have contributed to your mishap, consult with an Aurora premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. These cases can be complicated, an experienced legal attorney’s guidance can make a big difference in the outcome.
Proving Negligence in Premises Liability Claims
Proving that the owner or occupier of a property (defendant) was negligent requires showing that they had a duty to visitors that they breached, which led to the accident and injury. The extent of the duty the defendant owes depends on the reason the visitor was on the property.
Explanations of the various categories of visitors are set forth below. Owner/occupiers owe invitees the greatest duty and trespassers the least. Insurance companies and defense lawyers may argue that an injured person (plaintiff) is due only a limited duty. An aggressive premises liability lawyer could present evidence to counter those arguments.
A store customer, restaurant diner, or movie theater patron is an invitee under Colorado law C.R.S. §13-21-115(5)(a), and so is anyone who uses space that is open to the public. To prove negligence, an invitee must show that the defendant knew about the hazardous condition or should have known about it, and failed to take reasonable steps to protect visitors.
A licensee is a person who has permission to enter a property. A social guest is a licensee. To prove negligence under premises liability, a licensee must demonstrate that the defendant knew about the dangerous condition and did not use reasonable care to protect the licensee from the hazard.
A person who enters a property without permission is a trespasser and the owner/occupier owes no duty to them. However, the owner/occupier may not intentionally harm a trespasser. If a defendant took deliberate action to cause a trespasser injury, they could be held liable for damages to the trespasser.
Owner/occupiers of premises that contain features that might attract children have special duties to protect trespassing youngsters. If a reasonably careful person would understand that the feature posed a danger to children too young to appreciate the risk, the owner/occupier must take steps to protect them from injury.
Failure to do so could be negligence. A child who is 14 years of age or older is presumed mature enough to appreciate risk.
Comparative Negligence May Reduce Damages
Sometimes negligence is not limited to one party, and the injured person bears some responsibility for the accident that caused their injuries. Colorado follows a modified comparative theory, which allows a negligent plaintiff to collect damages as long as no more than 50 percent of the fault lies with them.
When a premises liability lawsuit is decided, the judge or jury allocates fault among the parties. They then will reduce any award the plaintiff receives by an amount that reflects the plaintiff’s relative degree of fault. A local premises liability attorney might present arguments that show that the plaintiff bore little blame for the incident that led to their injury, which could result in a larger award.
Team Up with a Committed Injury Lawyer
There are many strategies defendants in premises liability cases use to try to reduce the amount they owe the plaintiff. They may argue that an invitee was a licensee, or blame the accident on the plaintiff. Having a knowledgeable legal professional going to bat for you could help ensure these strategies fail.
The law allows injured people only two years to bring a lawsuit seeking damages for injuries. Spend that time building your case. Call today to review your case with a Aurora premises liability lawyer.