Liability for slip-and-falls on ice and snow in Colorado
When living in Colorado, you will encounter a lot of snow and ice, so you need to be extremely careful when walking on a sidewalk, in a parking lot, or anywhere else.
Property owners and managers have a responsibility to make their property as safe as possible, even when the elements are at their worst. If they fail to uphold and maintain a safe property, they may be held liable for any slip-and-fall injuries.
If you were injured after slipping and falling on ice in Colorado, you may be able to take legal action against the property owner. Talk to a Denver premises liability lawyer with Zaner Harden Law to learn more about your options. You can schedule a free consultation by calling (720) 613-9706 or contacting us online.
What parties are potentially liable for a slip and fall on ice?
This isn’t always a simple answer because multiple parties might be liable for your accident–here are just a few.
The property owner
In Colorado, property owners are responsible for keeping that property in a safe condition, especially if any persons are invited onto the property. If the owner knows that a lot of snow and ice have accumulated but they fail to properly remove it within a reasonable time, and someone is injured as a result of their delay in removing the dangerous ice or failure to fully remove it, they may be held liable for their negligence.
The property manager
Many people who own property have a company or person manage it for them. In some circumstances, the manager or the management company has been tasked with the daily responsibility of maintaining a safe property. If they’ve been designated that task, they could also be held liable for the damages associated with your injury.
A government agency
If the property where the accident occurred belongs to the city, county, or state government, the rules can be different, but they might still be held liable.
If you’re injured on government or city property, such as slipping in the city hall parking lot, you must provide the governmental entity notice of your claim no later than 180 days after the accident took place. If you miss this deadline, you’ll be ineligible to pursue compensation.
In addition to acting quickly to file your claim, you’ll need an attorney who knows how to handle cases against the government because they have additional rules that must be followed and they can be extremely difficult cases to win, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the tactics they’ll employ to deny your claim.
What does Colorado law say about snow removal?
Most, but not all, cities in Colorado have ordinances that require property owners to remove snow within a certain amount of time after snowfall. Although a city’s ordinances may not address snow removal, Colorado Colorado Revised Statute § 13-21-115, also known as the Colorado Premises Liability Act (PLA), thoroughly addresses the issue.
In a nutshell, the PLA makes property owners, property managers, and vendors liable for any injuries caused by “known dangers” on their property if they fail to take reasonable care to mitigate those dangers.
This means that if you’re invited onto a property or are otherwise lawfully there (i.e., not trespassing) and are hurt after falling on ice or snow, you can sue those who didn’t take the reasonable care necessary to ensure the property was safe for visitors.
Obligations for keeping premises safe during winter
Some of the obligations of property owners and managers have to ensure their property remains safe when snow or ice is present include the following.
Removing snow from main walkways and corridors
All walkways, stairs, and corridors must be kept clear of snow and ice–this applies to stores, businesses, apartment complexes, and homeowners.
Clearly marking areas where black ice is present
When our temperatures fluctuate in the late fall, winter, and spring, freezing rain or re-freezing of melted snow or ice causes black ice, a thin layer of ice you can’t see. Black ice is commonly found on roads, sidewalks, and stairs.
Property owners and managers must continue to treat high-traffic areas to make sure no one slips on black ice, and provide clear warnings that black ice might be present.
The sun, foot traffic, and tires melt the upper layers of snow and ice on pavement, but it will re-freeze overnight or during periods of less use if appropriate precautions aren’t taken. One common precaution is applying salt or magnesium chloride to high-traffic areas.
Ensure water from melting ice and snow drains properly
Another method of reducing the amount of ice that might form on walkways is to ensure that rain and snowmelt properly drains from the property, especially off walkways, and not onto other high-traffic areas or roadways.
Post warning signs
Similar to providing warnings that black ice might exist, landowners and managers have a duty to post signs and warnings of the risk of slipping and falling on ice or snow. Failure to provide adequate warnings of these dangers, even if they appear obvious, could expose the owners or managers to liability.
Talk to a Zaner Harden Law attorney for more information
If you suspect a property owner’s negligence is to blame for your injury, you have the right to pursue compensation to pay your medical bills and other expenses.
The Denver premises liability lawyers at Zaner Harden Law will work to hold the negligent owner liable and get you the compensation you need to recover.
Call (720) 613-9706 or contact us online to schedule your free case consultation.
Contact our Denver Premises Liability Law Firm Today For Help