As winter storms roll into the Denver Metro Area, we’ll be dealing with treacherous icy and snow packed sidewalks, walkways and parking lots. All of this snow and ice makes it more likely that we may hit a patch of ice. Before we know it, our feet can slip out from under us, we slip and fall and we may suffer an injury. If this happens, it’s important that you consult with a personal injury lawyer to see if there is a basis for a claim to cover your medical costs and lost wages during your recovery time. But while we may be aware of the dangers of snow and ice, how do we know if there is a basis for a personal injury claim?
In Colorado slip and fall accidents also called premises liability accidents, the property owner has a reasonable responsibility to keep walkways clear and free of obstacles, including snow and ice. Many slip and fall accidents can be settled before filing a lawsuit. But if your case should progress to a jury trial, Colorado law uses a system known as modified comparative negligence. This means that in a slip and fall accident the victim can recover compensation from the property owner if it’s determined that the property owner was more than 49% responsible for the accident.
We as consumers need to take responsibility for our safety and be aware of our surroundings. With modified comparative negligence, the victim can also be held responsible for their own fall. So, if you, the victim, did not take precautions and were found to be 35% at fault, then your court settlement will be reduced by 35%. If the victim was found to be 50% at fault for their fall then you will collect nothing from the lawsuit. An example would be if you parked your car in a parking lot that is partially covered in snow or ice. Instead of walking around the patch of ice, you decided to walk over it and then you slipped on that ice. In this instance, it could be argued that you could have avoided slipping on the ice if you have just walked around it.
But, as another example; if the entire parking lot has been covered in snow for several days with no attempt to clear it. You have no choice but to park on that ice and snow, so it may be easier to prove the property owner was at fault.
In these kinds of personal injury cases it all comes down to whether or not the property owner was able to make sure that walkways were as safe as reasonably possible. If they knew of the hazard, and if they had enough time to clear the hazard away. It’s always a good idea to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to answer your slip and fall questions.
If you or anyone you know has been the victim of a slip and fall on ice or snow, or any other premises liability accident, contact the Bendinelli Law Firm for a free consultation on your case.