Protect Your Rights After Being Injured on Someone Else’s Property
To many people, slipping and falling doesn’t sound significant. On the contrary, slip-and-fall accidents can lead to serious injuries that can leave a long-lasting negative impact on your life. While only a small fraction of falls each year are fatal, when you suffer an injury on someone else’s property, you may have to contend with steep medical bills, lost income, and years of emotional pain.
Under Colorado Revised Statutes Section 13-21-115 (Actions against landowners), you may have the right to recover compensation for your injuries. Colorado has a two-year statute of limitations to take legal action from the date of injury, so contact a Boulder personal injury attorney to help you navigate this difficult and often confusing system. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, at (303) 665-2929 to learn about how we can help you following a fall.
Slip and Fall Accidents: An Overview
When you walk into a business in Colorado, the business owner has a legal obligation to ensure that the premises is safe and secure to prevent injuries. When they fail to do this, they could potentially be held liable for any serious injuries you get. Slip and fall accidents can lead to a wide range of injuries and complications, including:
- Broken bones. Depending on the circumstances, falls can result in serious damage to your hip, legs, and other important areas on your body. In serious cases, you could even suffer from a skull fracture.
- Traumatic brain injury. If the head strikes the ground or another object—a shelf in a retail store, for example—it can quickly lead to symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI, can cause speech difficulties, problems with concentration or processing, memory difficulties, and even seizures.
- Death. In some cases, falls can lead to death. This is especially common in nursing home facilities or hospitals, where patients may already be struggling with other difficulties.
There are many differences as to how you should approach your slip-and-fall case if it did not occur on commercial property. If you sustained injuries on local, state, or federal land, there will be specific rules that protect the government entity from liability. It’s necessary that you work with an experienced Colorado premises liability attorney who understands how to best fight for your case, regardless of whether it is against a business, a landlord, or a governmental entity.
Common Causes of Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Any unintentional fall might result in an injury, but here are some of the most common causes of slip-and-falls:
- Slippery flooring from rain, cleaning, waxing, or spills
- Uncleared snow and ice on sidewalks and in business parking areas
- Poorly maintained sidewalks and walkways
- Falling debris from construction or a run-down building
- Broken, uneven, or poorly maintained stairs
- Loose or broken handrails and guardrails
- Poor lighting
- Inadequate warnings about potential hazards
Where Can I Get Money for Medical Bills?
Virtually every property owner has a particular type of insurance coverage called medical payments coverage or medpay. This is a no-fault-based insurance that provides payment for accident-related medical bills for anyone injured on the property. The problem is that medpay is usually a small amount like $5,000 or $10,000. Even if you have health insurance, medpay coverage is “primary,” meaning it pays first, and once exhausted, your health insurance would pay next.
Establishing Responsibility After a Slip and Fall
You were walking across what seemed to be a perfectly level, dry floor, and slipped and fell on an unanticipated puddle. You were navigating through a too-crowded store and tripped over a cart or shelf left in just the wrong place. Who is liable for your injuries?
Colorado has a Premises Liability Act, which sets forth a standard of care for landowners and land possessors. Generally speaking, you have to prove the landowner or possessor knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed on their property, and that it was because of the dangerous condition that you were injured. In nursing homes and hospitals, for example, doctors, nurses, and facility employees have a duty of care to ensure that their patients and residents don’t fall and injure themselves. In a retail establishment or other public area, the establishment has a duty of care to provide a safe environment for their customers. Finally, you must prove that your injuries occurred as a result of the negligence.
Your Slip and Fall Accident: Damages Potentially Recovered
After a fall, you have a number of expenses that you’ll have to deal with—and receiving appropriate compensation for your expenses and your injuries may quickly become critical. The full amount you can recover will depend on the injuries you received and the circumstances of your injury; however, it may include:
- Compensation for your pain and suffering, sometimes including emotional or mental damages as well as physical
- Payment for your medical bills, which will be paid directly to you and then must be paid to the hospital and other facilities
- Coverage for wages lost due to time out of your job after your accident
- Compensation for lost earning potential if you are unable to return to work long-term following your slip and fall accident
Why Hiring an Attorney Can Help
When property owners and their insurance carriers are faced with a lawsuit because of a slip-and-fall accident, they will try to avoid liability. One common strategy is to attempt to shift fault to the victim. Colorado is a so-called “modified comparative negligence” state, meaning that a plaintiff cannot recover damages if the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for his own injury. As a result, defendants in Colorado try and prove the injured party was trespassing, acting negligently, or failing to heed posted warnings on the property.
Because of this strong incentive to shift blame, anyone injured on another’s property in Colorado can benefit from consulting with an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer. A lawyer can help resolve any ambiguity about the injured person’s status on the property, and help identify any failure by the property owner to meet the duty of care.
A Look at Our Past Results
When you’re looking for a Boulder personal injury lawyer to help you with your slip-and-fall accident, you want one with proven results—and at Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we can offer you exactly that. When an elderly woman tripped and fell at a retail store, fracturing her hip, the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, was able to secure $625,000 in damages for her. In many cases, we’ve been able to attain the maximum amount covered by insurance policies—generally around $250,000—for patients who have been injured in a wide range of different ways. Of course, this is one example and does not guarantee results in any future case. But, the legal team at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, will diligently pursue the best outcome for each of its clients.
“What is hiring a lawyer going to cost me?” This is one of the most common questions injury victims have. Fortunately, at the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, we’re dedicated to making the process affordable for our clients. We’ll begin with a free consultation to learn more about your premises accident, then establish whether or not we can accept your case on a contingent fee basis. If we don’t win a verdict or secure a settlement, you don’t pay for our services.
Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. Contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC, online, or call our office today at (303) 665-2929 to set up your free consultation.