Premises Liability

When a person is injured on someone else’s property, the relationship between injured person and the landowner has much to do with the liability of the owner of the property or premises to the injured persons.  The Colorado premises liability statute, C.R.S. § 13-21-115, provides three separate premises liability rules, depending on the relationship between the landowner and persons on the land.  Under the statute, “landowner” includes an authorized agent or a person in possession of real property and a person legally responsible for the condition of real property or for the activities conducted or circumstances existing on real property. There are three categories of occupants on any property, other than the owner: trespasser, licensee, and invitee. An injured trespasser may recover only for damages willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner.  An injured licensee (a person present on the land of another for the licensee's own convenience or benefit, with the landowner's permission or consent, including a social guest) may recover only for damages caused by the landowner's unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner of which the landowner actually knew or by the landowner's unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner which are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and of which the landowner actually knew.  Invitees (person on the land for the mutual business benefit of himself and the landowner), with certain exceptions, may recover for damages caused by the landowner's unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers of which he actually knew or should have known. In court, the judge determines whether the plaintiff is a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee. If two or more landowners are both defendants in the action, the judge determines the application of the premises liability statute to each landowner. The issues of liability and damages are determined by the jury or, if there is no jury, by the judge. Regardless of whether you were injured on another person’s land or someone has alleged injury on your land, your attorney must thoroughly assess all the evidence to determine the duty owed by the landowner to the injured party.  The attorney must then formulate a settlement strategy while keeping his eyes on trial in case the matter goes that far.  Bergford Law Group assesses premises liability cases from all angles to give clients the best possible understanding of their case at the earliest possible stage so that the wisest approach can be determined.