When you are on someone else’s property, you reasonably expect to be safe from unexpected hazards. As such, if a dangerous condition such as an uncleaned spill, uneven surface, or unsecured flooring causes you to slip and fall and suffer injuries, you should not have to pay for someone else’s negligence. If you want to seek compensation for your losses, both economic and non-economic, get in contact with a seasoned injury attorney. A Lakewood slip and fall lawyer could help you establish fault and pursue damages in civil court.
Who May Sue for a Slip and Fall Action?
As a Lakewood slip and fall lawyer may explain, private homeowners, businesses, and other property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, correct any hazards, and warn visitors of any dangers that cannot be immediately fixed. If they are negligent in this duty, Colorado Revised Statutes §13-21-115 allows injured visitors to hold property owners liable for any resulting injuries.
The degree of care a defendant owes depends on the type of guest the plaintiff was at the time of the accident. There are three categories of guests under Colorado premises liability law,
An invitee is someone who is requested or expected to be on the property or who is on the property to transact business, such as a customer in a retail store. An invitee can recover for damages caused by the owner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers the owner knew or should have known about.
A licensee is someone who is on the property for their own benefit with the owner’s consent or permission, such as a social guest at a private residence. They can recover damages caused by the landowner’s failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to known dangers created by the owner, or for failure to warn of dangers not created by the owner.
A trespasser who is on the property without the permission of the owner may only recover for damages that were willfully or deliberately caused by the property owner.
Establishing Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
In Lakewood, a plaintiff who claims that their injuries were caused by the negligence of the defendant for failing to fulfill their duty must prove the elements of the tort of negligence, which are:
- A duty of care on the part of the defendant
- A breach of that duty by the defendant
- Direct causation between the defendant’s negligence and the plaintiff’s injuries
- Compensable damages suffered by the plaintiff as a result of their injuries
Like many states, Colorado adheres to the doctrine of comparative fault in negligence cases. What that means is that if the plaintiff is less than 50 percent at fault, they can still recover damages; however, the amount of the damages would be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault.
Damages in Slip and Fall Suits
A Lakewood slip and fall lawyer could help plaintiffs recover both economic and non-economic compensatory damages for bodily injury resulting from a slip and fall. Allowable damages include compensation for:
- Hospital, medical, and care expenses
- Lost wages and future impaired earning capacity
- Impairment and disfigurement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional stress
There is no cap in Colorado for economic damages and no cap for noneconomic damages related to physical impairment or disfigurement. However, the state caps damages for pain and suffering at $250,000 under CRS §13-21-102.5, although this cap may rise to $500,000 under certain circumstances.
Speaking with a Lakewood Slip and Fall Attorney
The statute of limitations for bringing a slip and fall lawsuit in Lakewood, Colorado is two years from the date the injury occurred. Alternatively, this period may start when the plaintiff was aware of the injury or should have been aware of it, since some injuries are not immediately apparent.
An experienced Lakewood slip and fall lawyer could help you hold negligent parties accountable for your injuries and recover much-needed damages following your accident. Call today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.