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Colorado Premises Liability Laws [2024]

Colorado Premises Liability Laws [2024]

In Colorado, the set of laws that allows an injured victim to seek financial compensation from a property owner after an accident caused by a property defect is premises liability. If you get hurt in a slip and fall accident, dog attack, or another incident involving a property hazard, it is important to understand Colorado’s premises liability laws to seek fair financial compensation.

What Is a Premises Liability Claim?

The Colorado Premises Liability Act (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-115) states that it is the responsibility of landowners and controllers to adhere to the correct standards of care regarding the safety of lawful visitors. If they fail to do so and this leads to a preventable accident and injury, the injured party can file a civil claim to recover damages (financial compensation) from the negligent property owner.

What Are the Elements of a Premises Liability Claim?

In a premises liability case, the burden of proof – the responsibility to establish that what is being claimed is more likely to be true than not true – rests with the injured victim or plaintiff. To recover damages from a property owner, the following elements must be established using clear and convincing evidence:

  • The property owner (or occupier) owed the victim a duty of care.
  • The property owner breached his or her duty of care.
  • The owner’s breach of duty is what caused the victim’s accident and injury.
  • The property owner knew or should have known about the defect or hazard that caused the injury but failed to address it in a timely manner.
  • The victim suffered actual harm as a result.

Most premises liability cases involve in-depth investigations into the circumstances surrounding the accidents. The property itself may need to be inspected to identify the hazardous condition or defect responsible for the victim’s injuries, for example. The landowner will also be subject to investigation to determine if he or she should have done more to protect guests on the property.

What Are a Property Owner’s Duties of Care in Colorado?

A property owner’s duties of care regarding the safety of a premises depend on the classification of the visitor. They can include inspecting a property for unknown or hidden hazards, repairing discovered defects, and warning visitors of potential risks. There are three types of visitors:

  1. Invitees: a person who is invited to the property by the owner for the owner’s purposes, such as customers at a store. Invitees are owed the highest duties of care.
  2. Licensees: a person who has permission to enter a property but does so for his or her own reasons, such as social guests. Licensees are owed a moderate duty of care.
  1. Trespassers: a person who does not have permission or legal authority to be on a property. Trespassers are not owed any duties of care (except for children under age 18).

Property owners, controllers, landlords, tenants, property managers, management companies, businesses, maintenance companies and contractors could all be held responsible for injuries that arise due to their failure to meet their duties of care.

What Is the Statute of Limitations on a Premises Liability Claim in Colorado?

If an accident victim wishes to bring a premises liability claim in Colorado, the paperwork must be filed within Colorado’s statute of limitations or legal deadline for filing. This time limit is two years from the date of the accident, in most cases. If the victim does not discover his or her injuries right away, the clock will start ticking on the date of discovery.

If you have questions about Colorado’s premises liability laws or a potential case in Denver, contact a Denver slip and fall attorney from the Fang Law Firm to request a free consultation.