Many years ago Colorado law was very basic concerning the everyday slip and fall injury. Essentially, a carelessness standard was used to determine if the property owner would be held liable for injuries suffered by someone who fell on his/her land. However, the Colorado Legislature has seen fit to make it much more difficult for injury victims to recover for injuries suffered on another person’s property. On days like today people should be aware of the current state of the law concerning slip and fall accidents.
First, slip and fall incidents will be controlled by Colorado Statute C.R.S. sect. 13-21-115. Next this statute places individuals into categories and depending on which category you fall will determine the duty owed to you by the landowner. With respect to these classes of people I would like to focus on the social guest. Most people would assume as a guest on the property, many times invited by the owner to be present, that the highest standard of care would be owed. This is not the case under the current state of the law. As a social guest people are classified as a licensee. A licensee may recover for injuries suffered on another’s property:
For a “landowner’s unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner of which the landowner actually knew; or …the landowner’s unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on the property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew.” See C.R.S. sect. 13-21-115(3)(b)(I) and (II).
While the above language may seem complicated the most important piece of knowledge to take away is that an injured licensee must prove actual knowledge on the part of the landowner of the danger causing the injury. This can be extremely difficult and has resulted in many a social guest not being able to recover for serious bodily injury caused by neglect of a property owner.
I write this blog to arm the social guest with the knowledge that they must exercise extreme caution when on the property of another and to encourage people to advise property owners about dangerous conditions so that there is actual knowledge of these dangers and they are either removed or there is compensation for innocent victims.
As always if you are the victim of an injury accident please call the attorneys at Sisun & Scriven, P.C., (303) 377-8861.