Representing Clients in Serious Accident Cases
Denver’s natural beauty and adventure, trendy art and entertainment, and outdoor festivals and fun are just a few of the attractions that draw people to the area. Unfortunately, as our city transitions into a crowded metropolis, safety becomes a growing concern. The building renovations, new construction, and sprawling expansions that accommodate Denver’s growth sometimes contribute to slip and fall accidents and serious or catastrophic injuries.
A slip and fall is the common term for an incident where someone slips, trips, or falls on someone else’s property. Falls are often harmless, but they’re sometimes deadly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national fall statistics are eye-opening.
- Annually, over 800,000 Americans receive emergency treatment for falls.
- 1 out of 5 falls causes fractures or head injuries.
- Falls are the leading traumatic brain injury-causing event.
- Falls cause over 95 percent of hip fractures.
Slip and falls occur in Denver’s commercial buildings, restaurants, public spaces, and private residential properties. Falls certainly cause simple bumps, bruises, and embarrassment, but often they’re far more harmful. Falls from an elevation, on steps, or on a hard pavement cause serious, catastrophic, and sometimes fatal injuries. Injured victims must manage medical bills, lost wages, disabilities, and long-term financial and personal losses.
At Tenge Law Firm, LLC, our Denver Slip and Fall Lawyers believe that if a negligent premises condition causes your fall, the property owner or manager should pay your damages. Our lawyers have resolved many slip and fall cases, and we understand Colorado’s complex legal issues. We’ve devoted our time, effort, and resources to developing winning strategies while our clients focus on healing.
Our Case Results
Our Denver slip and fall attorneys deliver an unmatched commitment to our clients. When possible, we’ve negotiated our clients’ settlements with responsible property owners and their insurance companies. We’ve resolved cases through Alternative Dispute Resolution such as mediation and arbitration. Wherever possible, we have resolved our clients’ cases informally. Still, we thoroughly prepare each case so our evidence is always ready if a trial becomes our only option.
We understand that each slip and fall case is unique. We can’t guarantee a specific outcome for any particular case, but our past case results demonstrate our successful track record:
- $675,000 – Retail premises slip and fall: A hazard caused our older client’s fall. Her fractured hip required surgery and inpatient care for six weeks. Despite the retailer’s initial liability denial, we eventually settled the case.
- $1,100,000 – Construction site accident: When a subcontractor created a construction site hazard after relocating materials, our client sustained injuries. Our client developed Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Originally, the subcontractor refused to accept responsibility. Eventually, we settled three months before the trial.
- $1,350,000 – Auto accident: A vehicle struck our client head-on. The severe impact injured her ankle, foot, and leg, requiring surgical repairs. We settled for the limits of three policies under which the defendant had liability coverage.
Negligent Conditions that Can Cause Slip and Fall Accidents
Many different types of dangerous premises situations cause slip and fall accidents. Property owners overlook or ignore hazardous conditions inside buildings, retail stores, private residences, and outside on the property’s grounds and paved areas. A property owner is negligent when he knew or should have known an adverse condition existed but failed to correct it. Property owners are also negligent if they knew of a hazard but did not warn about the danger. Examples include:
- Cracked or uneven stairways
- Poorly maintained, lit, or unmarked stairways
- Rippled or damaged carpet
- Wet, poorly maintained, or unclean floors
- Unbalanced flooring
- Poorly maintained elevators and escalators
- Unsafe retail merchandise displays
- Defective handrails
- Damaged sidewalks and pavement
- Tripping hazards
- Potholes in parking lots and driveways
- Uneven or damaged sidewalks
- Inadequate snow and ice removal
- Inadequate hazard warnings
What Are Common Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip, trip, and fall accidents cause minor wounds, but they can also cause life-altering, catastrophic injuries. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center’s 10-year data documents spinal cord injury trends through 2017. Nationally, their system tracked falls as the causative factor in 30.67 percent of all spinal cord injuries. National Data and Statistical Center research shows that falls caused 27 percent of all traumatic brain injuries. They’re also one of Construction’s Fatal Four accident risks, and consistently the number one construction site fatality event.
The costs incurred while recovering leave injured people with heavy physical and financial burdens. The most seriously injured victims require extensive and costly medical treatment and rehabilitation. Even with health insurance coverage, co-pays, deductibles, and uncovered expenses add up quickly.
When your injuries cause disability, you lose wages during your recovery. If your disabilities are permanent, your economic losses continue indefinitely. When you lose your primary breadwinner in a serious or catastrophic slip and fall accident, it changes your family’s emotional and financial security forever.
COMMON SLIP AND FALL INJURIES:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries
- Broken bones
- Fractured hips
- Torn tendons and ligaments
- Wrongful death
What Should You Do When You’re Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Embarrassment is often the first reaction when a person slips or trips and falls in a public place or on someone’s private property. While you may desire to get up as quickly as possible and leave the scene, that’s usually not a good idea. When you fall, you must first determine if you’re hurt, and whether or not you can move. While you assess your situation, stay still and calm until you figure things out. Here are a few additional actions you should take. They can help you protect your legal rights and prevent further injury.
- If you require emergency medical attention, call 911.
- While you’re waiting for an EMT to arrive, use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the dangerous condition that caused your fall. If the property owner corrects the condition after you leave, you will have lost your opportunity to document the hazard.
- Don’t apologize for falling or discuss your fall or injuries with anyone at the scene, at least no more than it takes to get help. You may come across as though you blame yourself for the fall.
- If you noticed that someone witnessed your fall, ask for their name and phone number.
- Ask a witness to contact the property owner so you can notify them of your injury.
- Give the property owner only your basic contact information. Don’t provide statements they may later quote inaccurately or out of context. Insurance adjusters also misinterpret what injured people say or they look for inconsistencies in their version of the event.
- When you’re feeling better, return to the scene and take additional photos in the area where you fell. If the property owner repaired or changed the condition that caused your fall, that’s a sign that they recognized it as a hazard.
- Before the property owner’s insurance adjuster calls, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC for a free slip and fall consultation.
Who Is Liable for Denver Slip and Fall Injuries?
A landowner must keep their premises safe. It’s a basic duty outlined by Colorado Revised Statutes. That sounds like a simple obligation, but it’s more complicated than it seems. As the term landowner is broadly defined, other entities often share a property owner’s legal duties:
- The owner’s authorized agent
- A person or entity in possession of the property, such as a construction contractor.
- A person or entity responsible for the property’s condition
- A person or entity responsible for activities on the property
Managers, leasing agents, maintenance companies, security firms, or others who manage or care for a property may also be held responsible when an injury occurs. That’s not the only legal complication in premises cases. Under Colorado law, a landowner’s duties vary based on an injured person’s status on the premises when the injury occurred:
- Invitee: A customer or other invited guest. A landowner owes an invitee reasonable care to protect them against hazards.
- Licensee: A person on the property with the owner’s permission but for their own benefit, such as a social guest. The landowner owes a licensee reasonable care concerning hazards the owner creates, and to warn of known hazards not common to the property.
- Trespasser: A trespasser has no permission to be on the property. The landowner’s only legal duty requires that they commit no deliberate harm.
What Kind of Damages Might a Slip and Fall Victim Recover?
When our law firm negotiates a slip and fall victim’s case, the claim usually includes two basic damage categories: economic damages and general damages. In a court case, the parties may also consider an injured plaintiff’s request for exemplary or punitive damages. The injured person must produce evidence that proves a defendant’s willful and wanton conduct caused the injury to prove eligibility for punitive awards.
We evaluate our clients’ economic damages based on current and future medical expenses. Economic damages include these and other expenses:
- Wage losses
- Losses due to reduced earning capacity
- Medical expenses
- Mobility devices and structures
- Physical therapy
- Medical transportation costs
- Costs for care and household services
- Funeral expenses
Evaluating a general damages claim is more complicated. It’s often based on a person’s subjective experiences following injury, rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, and other considerations. To arrive at a fair value, we work with our clients to track their day-to-day feelings and emotions about these and other factors:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Inability to care for family
- Disruption of bodily functions
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Permanent disabilities
How Do Liable Parties Try to Avoid Responsibility?
Under Colorado’s premises liability laws, a property owner’s duties are clear. Landowners must keep their property safe and secure to prevent hazards. However, when a slip and fall injury occurs, their negligent maintenance or upkeep won’t necessarily motivate them to pay for the damages they cause. To avoid insurance complications, premium hikes, or a diminished reputation, property owners often avoid reporting slip and fall claims. If they do make a report, they may explain the incident in a way that slants the facts in their favor.
Once an insurance company gets involved, they sometimes deny liability and refuse to offer a settlement. Property owners, their insurance companies, and their defense attorneys often rely on several common defenses to avoid paying the person whose injuries they caused.
- Comparative negligence: Under Colorado’s Modified Comparative Fault statute, if the defendant proves the injured person was more than 50 percent negligent, the property owner doesn’t owe for the injured person’s damages. Defense attorneys often allege the injured person had vision problems, improper footwear, or sobriety issues. Injured persons can still recover if they are less than 50 percent negligent, but their negligence percentage reduces any settlement or judgment amount.
- No negligence: If a property owner proves they did nothing wrong, they pay nothing.
- Plaintiff is a trespasser or licensee: Property owners use their varying duties of care as a defense strategy. Because they owe invitees the highest duty of care, their defense attorneys often try to prove the injured person was a licensee or a trespasser when they fell.
- Injury dispute: Defendants try to reduce the judgment potential by attempting to disprove the injured person’s damages. They sometimes acknowledge an incident occurred but deny that the injuries occurred on their property. They may also dispute the injury extent.
How Much Will a Denver Slip and Fall Lawyer Cost Me?
If you or a family member sustained serious or catastrophic slip and fall injuries on someone else’s property, Tenge Law Firm, LLC wants to hear your story. We’ll schedule a free consultation, discuss your slip and fall accident, and determine if we can help you. When you’re injured, we understand that your life is complicated enough, so we keep things simple: we never charge our clients attorney’s fees unless we resolve their case.
Contact Our Denver Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you or your family member slipped or tripped and fell because of a hazard on someone else’s property, we want to help you. When you or a loved sustain serious injuries following a slip and fall incident, the financial and personal consequences last a lifetime.
Tenge Law Firm, LLC has held Denver property owners responsible when they’ve injured our clients. Call (303) 502-5587, or contact Tenge Law Firm, LLC online to connect with our Denver slip and fall lawyers and schedule your free consultation.