In Colorado, slip and fall accidents are a relatively common cause of injuries. Hazards such as ice, snow, slippery floors and uneven surfaces often cause slip and fall accidents and painful injuries. Depending on the circumstances, a property owner’s homeowners insurance policy may cover the costs connected to a harmful slip and fall accident.
First, it is important to realize that homeowners are not automatically liable (financially responsible) for all slip and fall accidents that happen on their properties in Colorado. To be held responsible, the owner of the home or property must have been negligent in a way that led to the accident. Negligence is the failure to act with proper care. Examples of negligence that can cause slip and fall accidents are ignoring property defects and failing to mop up a spill.
A homeowner in Colorado will only be liable for a slip or trip and fall accident that is connected to a defect or hazard on the property, such as an unsafe staircase, slippery floor, exposed cord, uneven rug, tree root, unshoveled driveway or cracked sidewalk. If the owner of the property reasonably should have detected the hazard and made repairs to prevent a foreseeable fall accident, the owner can be held liable for a related visitor injury.
If a homeowner is found liable for a visitor’s slip and fall injury, the claim will typically go through the homeowner’s insurance company. Most personal injury cases are brought against an insurance company rather than an individual, as insurance policies generally offer greater financial reimbursement. The average homeowners insurance policy will cover slip and fall accidents that are caused by the property owner’s negligence.
A homeowners insurance policy generally offers a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance. This type of insurance pays for accidents and injuries that take place on the property. If the property owner was careless or negligent and this is proven to have caused the accident, homeowners insurance will pay for the victim’s medical bills, legal expenses and other losses connected to the accident, up to the policy’s maximum.
Liability insurance will pay to cover the costs of the property owner’s legal fees during a slip and fall accident lawsuit. If the lawsuit results in a settlement or judgment award granted to the victim, homeowners insurance will also cover the cost of the payout. A homeowner may wish to purchase more than $100,000 in insurance if the property has an attractive nuisance, such as a swimming pool, that can increase the owner’s liability risk.
If a slip and fall accident occurs on a rental property, the victim may be able to file a claim with the tenant’s renters insurance policy instead of homeowners insurance. It may also be possible to bring a lawsuit against the landlord or owner of the rental property if the slip and fall happened in a common area or as a result of a defect inherent to the premises, rather than the fault of the individual tenant.
If you slipped, fell and suffered an injury while visiting someone else, ask for their homeowners insurance information. Do not be disheartened if the person refuses to admit fault for your injury. Take photographs of the property hazard and go to a hospital immediately for a checkup. Then, contact the homeowners insurance company to file a claim.
The insurance company will send a claims adjuster to the property to conduct an investigation. If the claim is accepted, the insurer will negotiate with you on a payout. Most slip and fall accident cases settle outside of court, meaning you will not need to attend a trial. It is important to work with an attorney, however, to make sure that you do not settle for an inadequate amount for your injuries. Contact The Fang Law Firm to speak to an attorney about this type of claim for free.