Snow and ice create dangerous conditions in Colorado, but people still must travel, work, or run errands, among other things. Property and business owners typically owe a duty to clear pathways open to the public so that weather conditions do not create an unreasonable risk of harm. Likewise, homeowners or renters are also responsible to some extent to protect passersby or visitors.
At Hagen Nares PLLC, our personal injury lawyer in Colorado handle these types of cases. Call us at 720-772-8513 to schedule a Free Consultation, and we will examine the facts and circumstances to determine whether you have the grounds for a personal injury claim.
Premises Liability and Snow and Ice Accidents in Colorado
Under the principle of premises liability, a property owner or occupier has a responsibility to keep their property in a safe condition and warn visitors of potential hazards. In colder states, this concept often arises in the context of slip and fall accidents on snow or ice.
If a property owner fails to take reasonable steps to protect visitors from hazardous conditions caused by snow or ice, they may be liable for any injuries sustained as a result. What is considered reasonable will depend on the specific situation but may include treating walkways with salt and sand or clearing ice or snow within a reasonable time.
When an injured party (the plaintiff) sues a property owner, they may seek damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Who Is At Fault for Snow and Ice Accidents in Colorado?
Liability for snow and ice accidents varies between states. A property owner or occupier is not automatically liable for every slip and fall accident on their property as a result of winter weather conditions.
Whether a property owner owes a duty of care, and to what degree, may depend on factors including:
- the status of the injured person (were they a guest, invitee, or trespasser?)
- the type of property
- whether the area of the property was public or private
- the level of control the owner has over the property
In some situations, liability for a snow and ice accident might extend to a third party, such as a company contracted to plow the snow or a property management company.
Individuals must also exercise reasonable care in icy or snowy conditions. If the injured person acted negligently in this respect, the property owner may allege contributory negligence.
Liability and the Natural Accumulation Rule
In some states, courts apply the natural accumulation rule to snow and ice accident cases. This rule provides that a property owner is not liable for injuries sustained as a result of a natural build-up of snow and ice. A natural build-up occurs over time as a result of the weather.
Where the natural accumulation rule applies, a property owner is only liable for injuries resulting from an unnatural accumulation caused by their maintenance or use of the property that they knew or should have known about.
Contact a Premises Liability Attorney for Snow and Ice Accidents in Colorado Today
Strict time limits apply to file a personal injury claim. If you have been injured as a result of a slip or fall accident on snow or ice in Colorado, you should speak to a premises liability attorney as soon as possible after seeking medical attention.
The law around liability for snow and ice accidents can be complex and varies depending on the specific circumstances of a case. An attorney can review your case and advise you whether you have a basis for a personal injury case and the damages you may be entitled to claim. If you've been injured after a slip or fall on snow or ice, contact Hagen Nares PLLC today at 720-772-8513 to schedule a Free Consultation and learn how we can assist you in recovering.