How To Hold a Property Manager Responsible for Negligence
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there were 37,455 accidental fall deaths in the U.S. in 2018. Many of these accidents result from the carelessness and negligence of property owners and managers. These injuries, which fall under the category of premises liability claims, can be devastating for victims.
If you’ve been injured due to a property manager’s negligence, you should speak to a premises liability lawyer as soon as you can. Jeffrey Scott Lasswell is a former insurance industry attorney who uses that experience to help accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Lasswell has more than 18 years of legal experience, and he’s helped his clients recover millions of dollars in compensation.
To learn more about how Lasswell and his team can help you, call us today or visit our contact page to set up a free consultation.
How Premises Liability Law Is Different in Colorado
While guests and tenants have certain responsibilities when they stay at or visit a property, property managers also have certain responsibilities. At a broad level, property managers should provide a clean, well-maintained environment for visitors, guests, and tenants. If they fail in these responsibilities, property managers can be held liable for the injuries sustained by people on their property.
Colorado law has very clear laws about liability for property owners and managers. State law breaks down visitors and tenants into three distinct classes. When someone files a claim, a property manager’s liability depends on which class a plaintiff belongs to. The three classes of plaintiffs are:
- Invitees – Invitees are people who are visiting a property temporarily for some reason, usually one that’s business-related. This includes someone who’s visiting a business for commerce, contractors invited into a home or building to make repairs, and delivery drivers.
- Licensees – Licensees have been invited onto the property by the owner or manager for some specific purpose. This includes invited guests, tenants of an apartment complex, workers who are checking electric meters, and other authorized individuals.
- Trespassers – Trespassers are people who are on someone’s property without the permission of the owner or manager.
Under Colorado law, a property manager’s liability breaks down like this:
- Invitees – Property managers can be held liable for injuries caused by the manager’s failure to exercise their reasonable duty of care to protect against hazards that they knew about or should have known about. Invitees can also hold property managers liable for all of the circumstances under which licensees or trespassers could recover.
- Licensees – Property managers can be held liable by licensees for injuries that were caused by the manager’s failure to exercise reasonable care regarding hazards they knew about or should have known about. In addition, licensees can also hold property managers liable for injuries caused by inadequate warnings about hazards. This is true even if the property manager did not create the hazard and the hazard is not the type ordinarily part of the property.
- Trespassers – Property managers can only be held liable for injuries that have been willfully or deliberately caused by the manager’s negligence.
A critical component of Colorado’s premises liability law is the concept of foreseeability. Injuries must have been foreseeable for the property manager to be liable.
What Is Negligence in a Premises Liability Case?
There are five key points to proving a premises liability claim in Colorado. They are:
- The property manager owed you a duty of care (as explained above).
- There were dangerous or harmful conditions on the property that led to your accident.
- The hazardous conditions on the property were the cause of your accident.
- The property manager was aware or should have been aware of the dangerous conditions.
- The property manager did not take appropriate action to fix the dangerous conditions or warn you of the potential danger.
How to Prove Property Manager Negligence
As with any personal injury claim, you will need evidence to prove your case if you’re injured on someone else’s property. The more evidence you have, the better your chances are of winning your claim. Some potential evidence that may support your claim includes:
- Pictures of the dangerous conditions on the property
- Legal documents, such as rental agreements, outlining the responsibilities of the property manager
- Correspondence between you and the property owner about the dangerous conditions on the property
- Accident reports to police or to the property manager
- Eyewitness accounts
- Surveillance camera footage
In addition to evidence of the dangerous conditions on the property, you will need evidence of the injuries you’ve sustained. This will help show the losses you incurred because of the accident. Some things you can use to substantiate your injuries include:
- Medical records
- Pay stubs
- Tax forms
- Expert witness testimony
How a Colorado Springs Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help
Winning a premises liability claim against a property manager isn’t easy. Property managers and landlords often have significant financial resources that plaintiffs don’t have. Their insurance companies will do whatever they can to avoid paying out a claim.
Here’s how a premises liability lawyer can help you with your claim:
- Fully investigate your accident to find all potentially liable parties
- Gather all the necessary evidence to prove your claim
- Identify all damages you have suffered
- Handle all the communication and negotiations with the property manager, their lawyer, and their insurance company
- Make sure all your legal documents are filed correctly and on time
- Negotiate for a settlement that reflects the full extent of your losses
- Prepare your case for trial in case a fair settlement can’t be reached
Our legal team is standing by to help you with your case and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Because Jeffrey Scott Lasswell, PC is a single-attorney firm, you’ll deal with one skilled, compassionate attorney throughout your case. You don’t have to worry about your case being passed off to a less experienced attorney. Call us today or visit our contact page for your free consultation.