Property owners have rights. They also have obligations and responsibilities, one of which is to provide for the safety of people on the property. If you have been injured because of unsafe conditions on either public or private property, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses.
Premises liability claims are filed when your injury was the fault of a property owner and the incident could have easily been prevented if the owner was vigilant rather than negligent in the care of his or her property — this can extend to ownership of pets as well as real estate.
Lakewood personal injury attorney James L. Finegan provides clients throughout Jefferson County, and across Colorado, with aggressive and effective representation in premises liability cases involving:
A swimming pool is a real luxury — it offers a refreshing break on a hot day and a place to socialize. Whether a private pool or an amenity at a condominium, a pool requires constant maintenance. It also requires a variety of safety measures to avoid children and even adults from drowning. Owners and managers of the property should be maintaining a safe environment, and if they have been negligent, you may have a strong premises liability case.
A homeowners association, for example, has a duty to install barriers or other means to keep toddlers from wandering in. Teenagers are tempted to swim at night, and entering the pool area secretly is exciting. Lighting should be adequate for them to be seen and ejected for their own safety. Swimming at night can be dangerous when there is no lifeguard, and dim lighting allows tripping or slipping.
Motels attract business by having a pool, but many show signs of neglect, with ladders and drains in disrepair. Many drowning victims have been unable to simply get out of a pool. Slippery surfaces are a constant around a pool. Striking one’s head on a diving board or the side of a pool can lead to drownings. Even when there are lifeguards, they are sometimes too young and too inexperienced to save a drowning adult.
Have you been attacked or robbed in an office building, store or other premises in Colorado? The owners of apartment complexes and almost any business have some duty to keep you safe. Hotels and motels profit from your stay, and they must take certain steps to keep dangerous persons out.
Muggers, rapists and other criminals are aware of gates that don’t lock, of alternate entrances to buildings and of lapses in security. Parking lots can be vast, open spaces where criminals can hide. If you have been victimized due to poor lighting or security guards who are not watching out for you, you may have a legal claim for damages. Attorney James L. Finegan can help, having assisted clients in Lakewood and throughout the state.
While newer parking ramps generally have much better lighting than in the past, older ones have been the scene of rapes and even murder. Older buildings also lack the security features of new buildings.
When someone has been attacked on a premise lacking appropriate security, Attorney James L. Finegan is here to listen and help. He has more than 40 years of experience in personal injury law in Lakewood. He will examine the history of crimes in the same building or area and learn what the owner should have done to prevent recurrence.
Crime statistics are easily available and the community has certain standards as to expectations of safety. Depending on the circumstances, you may have a strong case for compensation for the damages you have suffered. Wrongful death cases are the most serious.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common types of premises liability claims in Colorado. Statistics from the National Floor Safety Institute estimate that around 1 million hospital emergency room visits are from slip and fall accidents annually. Slips and falls can happen anywhere in Colorado, including workplaces, grocery stores, shopping malls, parking lots, sidewalks, schools, nursing homes and private residences.
The most common causes of slip and falls in Lakewood include:
Determining the cause of your slip and fall accident is one of the first steps toward obtaining financial compensation for your related costs. If you aren’t sure why you fell, an attorney can return to the scene to investigate for you. If the hazard or property defect that caused your slip and fall accident is something that the property owner reasonably should have noticed and remedied before you fell, you may have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.
Lakewood property owners are no strangers to ice and snow. On average, Lakewood, Colorado receives around 65 inches of snow per year. This is more than twice the average amount of snowfall in the United States. It also sees an average of over 150 nights where temperatures fall below freezing.
It is a property owner’s responsibility to make sure that snow and ice do not put their visitors at risk of injury. Keeping visitors reasonably safe from slip and fall accidents in bad weather or after a snowstorm may take the following:
No one expects Colorado property owners to control the weather, but the law does place a duty of care upon them to take reasonable steps to reduce the hazards that bad weather presents. Typically, this duty of care is to take the steps that a reasonable property owner would in similar circumstances. If a property owner ignores weather-related hazards or takes too long to respond to an accumulation of ice or snow, he or she could be held liable for a related visitor slip and fall accident. Our attorneys know how to handle these specific types of cases in Lakewood.
One of the responsibilities that a Colorado property owner has is to keep a premises free from slip or trip and fall hazards. This involves inspecting the property for slippery or dangerous surfaces and making prompt repairs. If a landowner falls short of the duty of care toward a lawful visitor, he or she can be held responsible for a related slip and fall injury or death.
A property owner can be negligent in many ways that result in slip and falls, such as:
If there are signs that the owner of the property where your accident took place should reasonably have known about the slip and fall hazard and taken steps to prevent your injury, he or she can be held liable for the accident. In Colorado, even if the property owner proves that you could have prevented the fall yourself, you could still be eligible for at least partial compensation as long as you are less than 50 percent responsible.
According to Colorado state law, the burden of proof in a slip and fall injury claim is a preponderance of the evidence. This means clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is more likely to be responsible for the slip and fall accident than not responsible. Proving a slip and fall accident claim requires evidence of the property owner’s negligence. Negligence means to breach or violate the duty of care, or to act in a way that is unreasonable for the circumstances.
This burden of proof in a slip and fall claim has five key elements:
Proving a slip and fall accident claim can be difficult. If you are pursuing compensation for a soft-tissue injury, for example, you won’t have x-rays or hard evidence to prove your injury. These cases often need attorneys to collect and present compelling evidence for them to succeed. This evidence may include photographs of the slip and fall hazard, surveillance footage of the accident, interviews with eyewitnesses who saw the fall, and testimony from premises liability experts.
Slip and fall accidents in Lakewood can cause much more than just minor bumps and bruises. A bad fall can lead to shattered bones, painful soft-tissue injuries, traumatic brain damage and other serious injuries. A severe slip and fall accident, such as a fall to a lower level or an accident involving a vulnerable elderly person, could be fatal.
These are common injuries associated with slip and fall accidents in Colorado:
Seek medical attention from a doctor or hospital immediately after a slip and fall accident. If you can, take photos of where you fell and what caused the fall before you leave the scene. Report the slip and fall to an authority, such as a store manager or the owner of the property. Write down the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses. Keep the clothes and shoes that you were wearing. Then, contact an experienced premises liability lawyer in Lakewood for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your slip and fall accident.
Victims of premises liability accidents in swimming pools, garages and buildings deserve justice when the responsibilities of ensuring safety are disregarded. If you have lost a child or another family member, Attorney James L. Finegan understands the type of magnitude that this kind of tragedy can have on surviving individuals.
If you are looking for an experienced lawyer to represent you — someone who will fight for justice and your future — James L. Finegan, P.C. is the right choice. The firm represents injured clients in metro Denver and throughout Jefferson County from its office in Lakewood.