Denver Premises Liability Lawyer
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A premises liability claim can arise if you are injured on the property of another. The owner or possessor of the property can be held liable for your injuries if they failed to maintain or keep their property in a safe condition. Slip and fall cases are one of the most common types of premises liability claims. Slip and fall accidents can occur anywhere, whether you’re outside or inside, in a public place, in a retail or grocery store, or at someone’s home.
If you sustained injuries in an accident on someone else’s property, it is important that you contact an experienced Denver premises liability lawyer. The premises liability attorneys at Zinda Law Group of Denver have the knowledge and the resources necessary to seek successful results in your case.
What do I need to file a claim?
If you decide to file a claim to seek compensation for your slip and fall, you need to show that somebody else was at fault. Often, this someone is the owner of the property where you fell. However, in a slip and fall case, unlike other personal injury cases, you cannot simply just sue the property owner by claiming he or she was negligent. There are aspects that must be proven:
1. Duty of Care
Although you must show some type of negligence, it must also be shown that the property owner owed a duty of care towards you. A duty of care means that the property owner was expected to not act in a way that would endanger you while you were on their property. Whether you were owed a duty depends on what kind of status you held when you were on the property. There are generally three types: licensee, invitee, and trespasser.
If you were a licensee when you were on the property, this means that you were on the property for your own benefit than for the benefit of the property owner. For instance, if you went to a friend’s house for a party, you would be considered a licensee.
On the other hand, if you were an invitee, then you were on the property for the property owner’s benefit. There are two types of invitees: business and public. An example of a public invitee is someone who goes to a public place like a library. An example of a business invitee is someone who goes to a store to buy merchandise. However, if you went to the store simply to ask for directions or use the restroom, you will likely be considered a licensee rather than an invitee.
The reason why you need to distinguish these seemingly similar-meaning words is that depending on what status you held while you were on the property, the more or less likely the property owner owed a duty to you.
Invitees are owed the most protection because they are on the property for the property owner’s benefit. Property owners thus must take more steps to provide a safe place for invitees. However, even if you are a licensee, the property owner owes you a duty to tell you of any dangerous conditions on the property.
However, a property owner does not have to rectify the dangerous condition as he or she would have to do for an invitee. To give an example, if you were at a friend’s house and your friend knows that his or her bathroom’s floor is slippery as ice, your friend must tell you that the bathroom’s floor is slippery as ice. However, he or she does not have a duty to actually make it less slippery.
On the other hand, if you were at a grocery store, and the grocery store also has a bathroom with a slippery floor, the grocery store management must place signs and place barriers or the like to prevent people from using the bathroom. Otherwise, the grocery store will likely be found at fault for an accident.
If you trespass on another person’s property without their knowledge or consent and you injure yourself, you may not be entitled to make a claim for compensation. The reason being that the property owner was not obliged to keep a safe environment for you.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
Once you have established that the property owner owed you a duty, it must be shown that the property owner breached the duty. Thus, using the above examples, if your friend knew of the slippery floor and did not tell you or if the grocery store knew of the slippery floor, had warnings placed near the bathroom, but did not place barriers to prevent you from using the bathroom, your friend or the grocery store will likely be found to have breached their duty.
Once you have shown breach of duty, you must show that the breach of the duty caused your injury. So, in the above scenarios, you must be able to show that the failure of the friend or the grocery store to tell you or protect you from the slippery floor caused you to injure your back.
Finally, you must show that that you actually suffered an injury. This is generally done by presenting medical records, that show your injury and confirm that it is or is not an injury from a past accident. Your lawyer can get these medical records together in other to have the proof needed to prove whether your injuries were caused by the accident.
How To File A Claim
After a slip and fall accident, there are a number of steps that you can take to look after your health as well as your legal rights:
1. Report the Accident
First, you should report the accident to the property owner as soon as possible. This is in order to provide a record of your accident, which will be important later on if you decide to file a claim. For example, if you slipped and fell in a grocery store, you should report the accident to the manager on duty at the time.
2. Collect Evidence
When making a claim for compensation, it is important that you gather as much evidence as possible and keep a clear and accurate account of what happened. This will be most helpful to your lawyer when they are building your case. Some forms of evidence you could gather are:
- Name and location of the place you fell
- Weather conditions at the time (if you fell outdoors)
- Photos of the scene of the accident – showing the cause of the accident where possible
- Photos of your injuries
- The name of the person you reported the accident to
- A copy of the accident report they filled out
- Medical records
- Other expenses relating the accident
- Witness contact details
3. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your health is your number one priority. However, by getting medical attention, you also get the benefit of having doctors to record your injuries.
4. Get a Lawyer
Meet with a slip and fall lawyer to discuss your case. A lawyer will be able to build the strongest case possible for you, estimate the value of your case, negotiate with insurance companies for you, and fight for you to seek the maximum compensation possible.
How is Compensation Calculated?
Compensation after a slip and fall accident is usually made up of a combination of economic losses and non-economic losses.
Economic losses are your financial losses incurred because of the accident and typically include:
- past and future medical bills
- past and future lost wages
- damaged property
- past and future loss of earning capacity
Non-economic losses include the compensation for non-financial or intangible losses you have suffered and may include:
- past and future emotional anguish
- pain and suffering
- loss of enjoyment of activities
Be aware that in Denver, courts use what is called comparative fault when it determines how much compensation a victim may be entitled to. Comparative fault looks at all the parties involved in the accident and looks at how much fault each party had in contributing towards the accident.
In a slip and fall accident, for instance, you could be considered at fault if you were being reckless when you fell. If in the grocery store, the floor was wet, but you were rollerblading along the floor when you fell, you will probably not likely be able to seek full compensation if you win your case. This means that compensation may be reduced depending on how ‘at-fault’ you are considered to have been.
Slip and fall at work
A common type of work-related accident is a slip and fall. These accidents can happen anywhere from an office to a construction site. In such cases, it can be useful to:
1. Report the incident to your superior
2. Seek medical attention
3. Keep an account of the incident
4. Speak with an attorney
Your ability to sue your workplace for an injury will depend on whether they are subscribed to workers compensation or not. Speaking with an experienced attorney may help you in establishing your legal rights after a slip, trip, or fall at work.
If your workplace subscribes to workers compensation, generally after a work-related accident, workers compensation kicks in. This may mean that whatever amount workers’ compensation gives you is the max limit.
Because the purpose of workers’ compensation is to prevent employees from suing their employers, you will likely be unable to sue your employer if you have workers’ compensation.
When can I sue outside of workers’ compensation?
However, as is always the case, there are exceptions to the rule. If your employer intentionally provided an environment to make you slip and fall, you will likely be able to sue your employer even if you have workers’ compensation. Moreover, if your employer is not subscribed to workers compensation, you may be able to pursue legal action.
Slip and fall in a grocery store
Slip and falls in grocery stores are a common occurrence. There is an endless number of ways slip and falls can occur in grocery stores. To give just a few, a customer might fall due to snow in front of the entrance. Or a customer may trip over grocery items scattered over the floor or slip on a wet floor that was not cleaned up in an appropriate amount of time by the staff. In such cases, it is important to:
1. Report the accident to the manager on duty at the time
2. Document the incident and take pictures of the scene
3. Get medical attention
4. Speak with a lawyer
In some cases, surveillance footage may have captured the incident on tape. In these cases, your lawyer may requested the footage from the store, which could be used to prove that the accident was not your fault.
Slip and fall in public place
Every city or local government has an obligation to provide a safe environment for their residents, within reason. In cases where a hazardous environment in a public place caused an accident, you may be entitled to sue the city for damages. These cases may be a little more difficult to prove; that is why speaking with a lawyer may be your best option. Using their resources, they can investigate your claim and help you in establishing liability where the state or city were negligent.
How long do I have to make a claim?
There are legal time limits associated with seeking compensation. These time limits are known as the statute of limitations. In Denver, the statute of limitations for a slip and fall accident is two years. This means that a person generally has two years from the date of the accident to file a claim. If you try to make a claim after these two years, you may not be allowed to move forward.
This is why speaking with a slip and fall lawyer can be very beneficial to your case and help you ensure that you don’t miss any important deadlines.
Our Denver Slip and Fall Lawyers are Here to Help You
If you were in an accident that occurred on the property of another, you may have sustained injuries that could require extensive and expensive medical treatment or you may be facing a long road to recovery.
Call our experienced Denver premises liability lawyers today at 303-225-9846 and schedule your free consultation. Our firm also operates on a contingency basis – this means if we don’t win your case, you don’t owe us a dime. Call today.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.