Premises not maintained can pose a slip-and-fall or other personal injury risk.
Each year many people are injured because of inadequate maintenance or the failure to make repairs. Especially in Minnesota, seemingly minor problems can quickly create dangerous conditions. One of the most common causes of injuries during Minnesota winters is falling on ice.
Properly maintained walkways and parking lots are flat and provide for drainage and do not allow water to accumulate and freeze. However, the freeze-thaw cycle often causes cement and pavement to crack and buckle, resulting in areas of lower elevation where water gathers and freezes. This is a problem that is commonly seen in other northern states as well.
Poorly maintained public stairways, such as those found in parking garages, apartment buildings, and playgrounds are another common cause of injury. Stairs may deteriorate and start to crumble, anti-slip coatings may wear off, or hand railings may become unstable. Of course, a fall that occurs on a stairway is usually much more dangerous than a fall on flattened ground.
Another common maintenance-related injury involves improperly installed or maintained fixtures attached to the ceiling, or placed high on the wall. Falling light fixtures, ceiling fans, signage, and retail merchandise injure many people every year because they were not safely installed or stocked.
Sometimes the defect originates with construction. People are routinely injured because of improperly poured cement sidewalks and walkways. State building codes require that sidewalks be flat and free from unexpected changes in height. But especially around doorways, there is often a ledge or gap that is not up to code.
Why does property maintenance matter?
What these types of injuries have in common is a failure by the property owner to exercise due care to ensure that the property is safe for people who use it. The law requires that property owners who invite people onto their property, especially in a business context, do not allow unsafe conditions to develop. Legally, the failure to keep the premises safe is known as negligence – a breach of legal duty.
Injuries Caused by Premises Liability
The number of injuries that can be caused by non-maintenance of property are many. They include slips and falls, which can lead to spinal injuries, back injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. The effects of these injuries not only cause physical damage but also mental, emotional, and financial problems. Aside from medical bills, lost wages, and a potential decrease in earning potential, injuries caused by premises liability can also cause psychological trauma. The damages a victim can be compensated for are based on various elements. This is why it’s important to meet with an attorney who can review your case and advocate for your relief.
Parties Obligated to Maintain Property
Many times, failures in maintenance occur because the responsibility to care for the property is divided among many different companies. A typical commercial property (including apartment buildings) is owned by one company and leased to the company conducting business there. Depending on the arrangement, either the property owner or the lessee then hire landscaping and snow removal services from another company. Construction and renovation may also be hired by either company. The parties who currently own or operate a business on the property may even look to shift blame to the original construction firm or a past owner or tenant.
When someone is injured on the property because of poor maintenance, each company will be looking to pass the blame to someone else. This inevitably results in delays in the injured person being fairly compensated for their injury. To make matters worse, each company will have its own insurer trying its hardest to avoid liability. Eventually, they will all be represented by their own attorneys.
Why Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
The personal injury attorneys at Sand Law have experience cutting through the corporate finger-pointing and identifying the legally responsible party. We also take the burden of corresponding with four or five different insurance adjusters off your shoulders. We understand that after suffering an injury your focus must be on regaining your health, getting back to work, and resuming your day-to-day activities. Sand Law will zealously represent you in obtaining the compensation you deserve, freeing you to focus on what matters.
Through years of successful client representation, Sand Law’s personal injury attorneys have developed an expertise in litigating complex liability cases. Insurance companies count on the complexity and confusion associated with multiple responsible parties to discourage injured persons from pursuing their rights. Sand Law evens the playing field for its clients. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation. You can contact us online or call us at 651-291-7263.