What Do Business Owners Need to Know About Premises Liability?
Owning and running a business is hard work. From creating business plans and hiring staff to managing sales revenue and marketing operations, the risk of underperforming can put companies in deep trouble. However, the potential losses that come with poor performance are not the only concerns business owners should have.
One of the biggest legal issues business owners face is premise liability lawsuits. When customers step foot on a business’s property, they expect to be safe. In other words, business owners must keep their property free of hazards and comply with applicable laws. Failing to meet these obligations may result in excessive monetary losses and reputation damage.
Understanding Colorado Premises Liability Laws
The purpose of premises liability is to ensure those who step foot on a business’s property are safe from preventable injury and hazards. When guests are not protected from foreseeable harm, injured accident victims may hold those entities financially accountable for their injury-related losses. In Colorado, the law states that victims must establish that a business owner owed a duty of care to the victim. This means proving the relationship between the business owner and victim and the legal presence of the victim at the time of the incident.
If the victim is trespassing, they would only have the right to collect damages if their injuries were willfully and deliberately caused. If the victim qualifies as a licensee, they can only recover damages caused by the business owner’s failure to maintain or warn guests of easily recognizable hazards. On the other hand, if the victim is classified as an invitee, they are only eligible for recouping damages caused by a business owner who knew or should reasonably have known that the premises were dangerous.
Common Premise Liability Case Examples
Premises liability cases can arise in several ways when an invitee or licensee is on a business owner’s property. For instance, anyone visiting the premises, including delivery drivers, vendors, customers, clients, or social guests, is owed a duty of care by the person who legally owns the property. Some of the most common premise liability case examples include:
- Slip and falls
- Inadequate snow and ice maintenance
- Lack of building security
- Dog bites
- Improper escalator and elevator maintenance
- Property defects
These dangerous properties can easily cause someone to sustain severe injuries, ranging from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to broken bones and deep lacerations. The pain and suffering, coupled with the long road to recovery, may be even more excruciating for injured victims.
How Can Business Owners Keep Their Property Safe?
As a business owner, there are many ways you can keep your property safe for customers, visitors, employees, and other guests. Putting excessive effort and focus into maintaining your property may prevent an unexpected setback from occurring later. Maintenance is critical and should be an overriding priority on your property. Over time, allowing your business to decline poses a significant safety risk to the public and increases the possibility of a premises liability lawsuit.
Effective maintenance planning starts with identifying problems, allocating tasks to specific people, and ensuring work is completed efficiently and properly. Business owners should implement the following measures:
- Marked stairs
- Secure stairway railings
- Even and non-slip sidewalks, parking lots, and walkways
- Plowed and salted icy surfaces
- Wet floor signs
- Properly marked emergency exits
- Adequate lighting
- Security guard or cameras
Injured on Business Property? Call Your Colorado Premises Liability Lawyer Today
When businesses in Colorado fail to adhere to their respective legal obligations, innocent people often suffer catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries. These types of cases can present complex legal issues and require a great number of resources to litigate effectively. The Colorado premises liability lawyers at the Mintz Law Firm will investigate your case to identify the appropriate liable parties and the scope of your recovery needs.
At the Mintz Law Firm, our clients in the Colorado community rely on us to work hard at getting them the results they deserve. No matter the case, we always go above and beyond to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. If you’re looking for a competent legal advocate or think you may have a viable premises liability case, get in touch by calling (303) 462-2999 or completing a contact form for your free, no-obligation consultation today.