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Does a Wet Floor Sign Mean I Don’t Have a Slip and Fall Case?

Posted in on December 16, 2019

Wet floor signs may affect Colorado slip and fall cases. If you’re hurt in a slip and fall accident, the presence of a wet floor sign, or even the absence of a wet floor sign, may impact what you can recover for your claim.

When you enter onto someone else’s property, they have a certain amount of legal obligation to take measures for your safety. In Colorado, sometimes, that may mean posting a wet floor sign. Our Denver slip and fall attorneys explain how a wet floor sign may affect a Colorado slip and fall case.

Wet Floor Sign in slip and fall case

How Warning Signs Affect Colorado Slip and Fall Cases

Warning signs affect Colorado slip and fall cases by limiting the amount of liability in some circumstances. Slip and fall cases depend on the actions of the defendant. In a Colorado slip and fall case, the property owner has to take reasonable care to protect people from dangers on the property.

If a property owner places a wet floor sign, that may or may not be a reasonable amount of care. Sometimes, a warning sign may limit legal liability for a property owner in a slip and fall case. In other cases, a defendant may still have legal liability despite placing a wet floor sign near a known danger on the property.

Are Wet Floor Signs Required by Law in Colorado?

Yes, wet floor signs are required by law in Colorado when they are necessary to protect against dangers on property. A property owner has a duty to take reasonable care to protect invitees from dangers that the property owner knows about or that they should know about.

A wet floor sign may be necessary as a way of taking reasonable care to protect people who come onto the property. Every case depends on the specifics of the case. Wet floor signs may be required by civil law in Colorado because the law requires reasonable measures to protect property invitees from dangers that may cause harm.

Wet Floor Signs and Colorado Slip and Fall Cases

In general, Colorado law says that if the landowner fails to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers, they may be legally liable for a slip and fall. Dangers include hazards that the property owner knows about and hazards that they should know about. With a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers, placing a wet floor sign may or may not amount to exercising reasonable care to protect against dangers.

Under Colorado law, whether placing a wet floor sign affects a slip and fall case depends on the facts present in each specific case. In some circumstances, the wet floor sign is enough protection against danger. In other cases, it’s not. It depends on whether the property owner behaves reasonably under all of the circumstances present in that case.

Slip Fall No Wet Floor Sign

For a slip and fall with no wet floor sign, you shouldn’t make assumptions about your legal rights based on whether or not there is a wet floor sign at the scene where the accident occurs. There still may be legal liability for a property owner when there is a wet floor sign. There may not be legal liability even if there is no wet floor sign. Ultimately, it’s a fact-specific question that depends on the sum total of the entire situation.

How Does Colorado Law About Wet Floor Signs Compare to the Law in Other States?

Colorado slip and fall laws are based on state statute. In a lot of other states, slip and fall laws come from common law that develops from case law. However, the Colorado legislature passed law 13-21-115. Colorado law 13-21-115 states the law for premises liability, including slip and falls.[1]

Under the law in most states, the presence of a wet floor sign makes little difference in determining legal liability for a slip and fall accident. However, because Colorado law is based on state statute instead of common law, the presence of a wet floor sign may make a difference.

Wet Floor Signs and Open and Obvious Dangers

One of the questions that Colorado law has to answer about slip and fall accidents is whether placing a wet floor sign creates an open and obvious danger. Under common law in many states, a property owner is not liable for an open and obvious danger on their property. Placing a wet floor sign may draw attention to a dangerous condition to make it open and obvious.

However, in the Vigil v. Franklin case, the Colorado Supreme Court said that the common law doctrines were no longer applicable because of Colorado law 13-21-115.[2] The court said that the plain language of the law did not incorporate common law, so Colorado 13-21-115 is all that matters when it comes to slip and fall laws. Under the plain language of Colorado law 13-21-115, the requirement for a property owner is to use reasonable care to protect people from dangers they know or should know about on their property.

Does a Wet Floor Sign Change the Legal Duty of Care in a Slip and Fall Case?

Another legal question that may arise in a slip and fall case involving a wet floor is whether the placement of the wet floor sign changes the legal burden for the property owner. Under Mathias v. Denver Union Terminal Ry Co., a person’s status may change if they go to places on the property where they’re not supposed to go.[3]

For example, if a person walks behind a wet floor sign, their status on the property may change from invitee to licensee or even a trespasser. The change in status, in turn, changes the legal obligation of the property owner to the person on the property. This raises the question of whether continuing past a wet floor sign changes the legal requirements of the property owner. Like other questions relating to wet floor signs and slip and fall accidents, the answer comes down to the specific facts and circumstances present in the case.

Colorado Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers

If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall accident, contact our attorneys for an immediate and free consultation about your case.

Sources

[1] C.R.S. 13-21-115

[2] Vigil v. Franklin, 103 P.3d 322, Colo. 2004

[3] Mathias v. Denver Union Terminal Ry Co, 323 P.2d 624 (Colo. 1958)

Kyle Bachus

Kyle opened Bachus & Schanker, with little more than a tiny, rented office and a lot of determination. Starting with less than $15,000, their business has grown into one of the largest, most well respected personal injury firms in the Colorado region. Kyle and his partner Darin Schanker are committed to understanding the circumstances confronting their clients, and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for damages they have caused.

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
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Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver
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