On April 14, 2012 I slipped and fell in the apartment courtyard that my book door opens up into. The entire courtyard is lit up with an exception to the area in front of my apartment, that light is broken and they've not fixed it.
As a result of it being very dark because of the lack of light I slipped and fell injuring my ankle. I have a severe sprain that will require 4-6 weeks to heal.
I'm wondering if the apartment complex is responsible for my injury because they didn't fix the light? They are claiming that they aren't because the courtyard isn't meant to be used that late, however there is no curfew posted and no signs saying that the courtyard isn't supposed to be used after dark.
Yes. In all likelihood the apartment complex would be responsible for negligence in failing to fix the light, especially if they were provided notice or should have known that the light was broken and neglected to fix it right away. They may be saying that they are not liable. However, they are likely liable. Whether the courtyard is "supposed" to be used that late or not, they know that people do use the courtyard that late and there are no signs or gates preventing people from accessing the courtyard. Please consult a personal injury attorney in your area. There are many excellent ones on Avvo. My office partner, Greg Graf, also does a fair amount of those types of cases.
"Slip and fall" claims, as they are known, are governed by the Premises Liability Act C.R.S. 13-21-115 (see link below). The law sets up different duties for the landowner depending on whether the injured person was an "invitee," a "licensee,' or a "trespasser." Depending on whether you are an invitee or a licensee makes a difference to whether the landlord would be found liable. In the case of an invitee, the landlord would be liable for unreasonably failing to repair any dangers of which it actually knew or should have known. In the case of a licensee, the landlord must have had actual notice of the dangerous condition and its failure to fix it must have been unreasonable.
These are very important issues to sort out in your case before a definite answer can be given. You should consult with a personal injury experienced with handling premises liability claims. Most attorneys will consult with you for free to determine if you have a valid claim. Some additional facts that I would want to know are: 1) How long has the light been broken? 2) Who did you report it to before the fall? 3) How did you report it--in writing or verbal? 4) How many times did you report it? 5) What did you slip on? 6) Was that a separate dangerous condition or did you only fall because of the broken light? 7) Is the courtyard open to the public?
Please discuss your case, including the above additional questions, with an experienced attorney to evaluate your options. Good luck and I hope you recover quickly.
The information in this post is not legal advice. Do not take legal action based on it. Legal advice can only be given after a genuine legal consultation with an attorney licensed in your state and qualified to address your issue after a review of the specific facts of your case. This post is offered only a guidepost to provide general, non-specific information. If you want meaningful legal advice about your specific case, you must consult an attorney.
First of all, I am so sorry to read of your predicament. The issue for you is whether the apartment complex is to be held responsible under Colorado's premises liability act. The apartment complex's statement that the courtyard is not supposed to be used at that particular time of day is nonsense.
Sit down with an experienced personal injury attorney expeditiously to discuss your options. In the meantime, make sure you hold on to all medical billing information you can get your hands on to assist that attorney with the proces of making a fully developed claim on your behalf.
Good luck with the ankle!
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.
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