Current through 2023 Legislative Session
Section 13-21-115 - Actions against landowners - short title - legislative declaration - definitions(1) The short title of this section is the "Colorado Premises Liability Act".(2) The general assembly finds and declares that:(a) The provisions of this section were enacted in 1986 to promote a state policy of responsibility by both landowners and those upon the land as well as to ensure that the ability of an injured party to recover is correlated with the injured party's status as a trespasser, licensee, or invitee;(b) These objectives were characterized by the Colorado supreme court as "legitimate governmental interests" in Gallegos v. Phipps, 779 P.2d 856 (Colo. 1989);(c) The purpose of amending this section in the 1990 legislative session was to: (I) Ensure that the language of this section effectuates these legitimate governmental interests by imposing on landowners a higher standard of care with respect to an invitee than a licensee and a higher standard of care with respect to a licensee than a trespasser; and(II) Create a legal climate that will promote private property rights and commercial enterprise and foster the availability and affordability of insurance;(d) The general assembly recognizes that by amending this section it is not reinstating the common law status categories as they existed immediately prior to Mile Hi Fence v. Radovich, 175 Colo. 537, 489 P.2d 308 (1971) but that its purpose is to protect landowners from liability in some circumstances when they were not protected at common law and to define the instances when liability will be imposed in the manner most consistent with the policies set forth in subsections (2)(a) and (2)(c) of this section; and(e)(I) The Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. v. Wagner, 2020 CO 51, 467 P.3d 287, and Wagner v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., 2019 COA 26, 471 P.3d 1089, decisions do not accurately reflect the intent of the general assembly regarding landowner liability and must not be relied upon in applying this section to the extent that the majority opinions determined: (A) The foreseeability of third-party criminal conduct based upon whether the goods or services offered by a landowner are controversial; and(B) That a landowner could be held liable as a substantial factor in causing harm without considering whether a third-party criminal act was the predominant cause of that harm, as noted by the dissenting justices and judge.(II) In making this declaration, the general assembly does not intend to reject or otherwise disturb any judicial decision other than the Wagner decisions.(3) In any civil action brought against a landowner by a person who alleges injury occurring while on the real property of another and by reason of the condition of such property, or activities conducted or circumstances existing on such property, the landowner is liable only as provided in subsection (4) of this section. Sections 13-21-111, 13-21-111.5, and 13-21-111.7 apply to an action to which this section applies. This subsection (3) must not be construed to abrogate the doctrine of attractive nuisance as applied to persons under fourteen years of age. A person who is at least fourteen years of age but is less than eighteen years of age is presumed competent for purposes of the application of this section.(4)(a) A trespasser may only recover damages willfully or deliberately caused by the landowner.(b) A licensee may only recover damages caused:(I) By the landowner's unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care with respect to dangers created by the landowner that the landowner actually knew about; or(II) By the landowner's unreasonable failure to warn of dangers not created by the landowner that are not ordinarily present on property of the type involved and that the landowner actually knew about.(c)(I) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (4)(c)(II) of this section, an invitee may recover for damages caused by the landowner's unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers the landowner actually knew about or should have known about.(II) If the landowner's real property is classified for property tax purposes as agricultural land or vacant land, an invitee may recover for damages caused by the landowner's unreasonable failure to exercise reasonable care to protect against dangers the landowner actually knew about.(5) It is the intent of the general assembly in enacting the provisions of subsection (4) of this section that the circumstances under which a licensee may recover include all of the circumstances under which a trespasser could recover and that the circumstances under which an invitee may recover include all of the circumstances under which a trespasser or a licensee could recover.(6) In any action to which this section applies, the court shall determine whether the plaintiff is a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee, in accordance with the definitions set forth in subsection (7) of this section. If two or more landowners are party defendants to the action, the court shall determine the application of this section to each landowner. The issues of liability and damages in any such action must be determined by the jury or, if there is no jury, by the court.(7) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:(a) "Invitee" means a person who enters or remains on the land of another to transact business in which the parties are mutually interested or who enters or remains on such land in response to the landowner's express or implied representation that the public is requested, expected, or intended to enter or remain.(b) "Landowner" means, without limitation, an authorized agent or a person in possession of real property and a person legally responsible for the condition of real property or for the activities conducted or circumstances existing on real property.(c) "Licensee" means a person who enters or remains on the land of another for the licensee's own convenience or to advance the licensee's own interests, pursuant to the landowner's permission or consent. "Licensee" includes a social guest.(d) "Trespasser" means a person who enters or remains on the land of another without the landowner's consent.(8) If any provision of this section is found by a court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, the remaining provisions of the section are deemed valid.Amended by 2022 Ch. 75,§2, eff. 4/7/2022.L. 86: Entire section added, p. 683, § 1, effective May 16. L. 90: (1.5), (3.5), (5), and (6) added and (3) and (4) amended, p. 867, § 1, effective April 20. L. 2006: (2) amended, p. 344, § 1, effective April 5.
Subsections (5)(a) and (5)(c), as they were enacted in House Bill 90-1107, were relettered on revision in 2002 as (5)(c) and (5)(a), respectively.