The most common places for people to get needlessly injured are apartment complexes, grocery stores, hospitals and parking lots.
PREMISES LIABILITY STATUTE
The law in Colorado is exactly the same for all of these circumstances. C.R.S. § 13-21-115 requires that you prove that a landowner either knew or reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition or activity existing on the premises and failed to correct it, thus resulting in a needless injury. This requirement exists when a person is on a property for business-related purposes which benefit either the landowner or the occupant.
Despite what the legislature wrote in the Colorado Premises Liability Act, it is Colorado juries that listen to these cases and make decisions on the worthiness and value of injury claims.
For example, even though we all know how dangerous and preventable injuries from ice on a sidewalk can be, rarely have Colorado juries awarded recovery to people claiming injuries from winter outdoor slip and falls, regardless of the circumstances. However, jurors are generally more sympathetic when the premise is devoted to elderly or sick who are more susceptible to greater injury.
For example, a hospital that fails to recognize patients who should be considered falling risks tends to be more warmly received by Colorado jurors than grocery store spills that often look suspect to jurors. Furthermore, a slip and fall of a resident at an apartment complex devoted to senior citizens tends to have more jury appeal than a similar occurrence at a regular apartment complex. The idea in these type of cases is that the complex should have been more on notice and has a higher degree of perceived responsibility.
Historically, jurors tend to be more sympathetic to injuries caused by objects that fall from above onto people than injuries sustained based on a patron's slipping and falling. On the other extreme, almost no injury that occurs after a person has consumed alcohol, such as a slip and fall at a bar or a rough encounter with a bar-bouncer, has any jury appeal.
WHY THESE CASES CAN SETTLE
Cases settle when insurance companies view that their failure to settle a case will result in a jury of Colorado citizens awarding substantial money. Considering a jury's likely reaction to a particular set of circumstances is often a game played on both sides of these cases.
The above examples serve as the general rule about cases involving premises liability and the level of jury appeal. Please note, however, that every injury case is different and the facts, including the degree of injury, must be considered in each case by a trained legal professional.
At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we will take the time to consider your case on an individual basis and help you understand the merits and issues associated with it. Please call us today to discuss your claim.