When we visit a museum, grocery store or recreational facility, we expect the area to be safe of hazards that could cause injuries. Unfortunately, all too often, poor maintenance, defective safety mechanisms or simple carelessness can result in serious injuries. In addition, poor security can also result in someone being attacked and victimized at a shopping center, parking garage or other property where we have a reasonable expectation of safety.
Understanding the victims
When a person ventures onto another piece of property, they typically fall into three separate classifications of visitor. These three classifications also define the responsibility the property owner has to the potential victim.
- The person who is invited – when a store is open for business and you visit the store to shop you are considered an “invitee”. As such, the property owner has a duty to ensure that the area is safe when you visit. This means making sure that defective staircases do not exist, that wet floors have clear warning signs and that merchandise is properly displayed in a manner that will not create a falling hazard.
- The social visitor – homeowners and others who are entertaining for non-business, non-commercial purposes have a duty of care that must be exercised when inviting someone for an event. For example, if a dinner guest trips over a poorly secured carpet and sustains an injury, your homeowner’s insurance should be paying for their injuries.
- The uninvited visitor – when an adult trespasses on your property, you owe them the least “duty of care” to prevent an accident. However, when a child trespasses, there is a need for proper warnings and proper repairs since children are not necessarily aware enough to sense danger or to understand they are trespassing.
Injuries that occur because of poor maintenance, poor security or bad lighting can be very severe and cause life-altering injuries. Some types of accidents include:
- Slip and fall – caused by wet surfaces or by damaged staircases or bannisters
- Cuts, bruises and broken bones – failing escalators, porches that collapse or stairway collapses can cause serious injury
- Head and spinal cord injuries – can be caused by serious falls, a physical attack on a property that is adequately secured or lit
If you or someone you love has been injured on someone’s property because of their negligence, failure to maintain or because they failed to provide adequate security, it is imperative you contact a personal injury lawyer for help. Only after speaking with an attorney will you know if you have a premises liability case. Feel free to contact us if you or a loved one suffered any type of injury that could have been avoided had the property owner exercised a reasonable degree of care.
Attorney Dianne Sawaya is licensed to practice law in Colorado and the District of Columbia. Dianne Sawaya has practiced law for nearly 30 years, and has devoted more than half of those years to achieving personal injury settlements for accident victims. She practices law in Colorado District Courts, U.S. District Courts in Colorado and Washington, D.C., and U.S. Courts of Appeals in Colorado and Washington, D.C.