Slip and Falls Can Often Lead to Serious Injuries and Piling Medical Bills
Slip and fall accidents can happen in a blink of an eye and always when someone least expects it. Falling down, whether from tripping or slipping, causes not only confusion and embarrassment but serious injuries as well.
According to the Minnesota Department of Administration, slips, trips, and falls are the second leading cause of workplace injuries to state employees. But fall down accidents can also occur in all kinds of other places too, like stores, restaurants, a friend’s house, or parking lot. And, despite their reputation, falls are not always funny. In fact, falls account for 95% of hip fractures, along with causing broken bones and traumatic head injuries among others.
What Conditions Cause a Slip and Fall?
Various conditions can increase the likelihood of suffering a slip and fall accident, both indoors and outdoors.
One of the leading indoor causes of a slip and fall is a wet floor. However, cords in the walkway, debris on the floor, open cabinets, items in the walkway, and poor lighting can also contribute to a potential indoor accident.
On the other hand, outdoor slip and fall accidents occur mainly because of environmental and weather conditions, such as frozen surfaces. Still, they can also be due to poor maintenance of sidewalks, like cracks in the walkway or loose handrails.
What to do after a Slip and Fall?
If you get injured in a slip and fall accident, it is important to react adequately to the situation since it can greatly impact the outcome of your lawsuit and the amount of recovery you can receive. Here are some of the things you can do to increase your chances of a fair settlement.
Inspect the Scene
Immediately after the accident, make sure to look around and identify the cause of the slip. Pay attention if there are any “wet floor” signs or indications for other potential hazards. The outcome of your case depends on whether the property owner indicated such dangers or not.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important steps is to consult with an expert who will document the injuries, which will prove not only their severity but also the exact moment when they happened. Sometimes injuries, such as head traumas, don’t occur until after the accident; therefore, an accurate medical evaluation is essential for building a complete case.
The best way to collect evidence for the accident is to take photographs of the scene. Take pictures of the floor and the surroundings, even if there are no visible hazards. Such evidence is important for showing your version of the story and will help your attorney in the process of settling your case.
Witnesses are also critical in determining how the accident happened and proving fault. Possible witnesses can be store/restaurant customers or passersby, depending on where the accident occurred. Try to collect their names, contact information, and a brief explanation of what they saw. Your attorney will be able to contact them and obtain all the necessary details.
Make an Accident Report
If you get injured in a business, the establishment will provide you with an accident report form and will require you to fill it out. However, it is advisable that you create your own accident report, which describes your version of the events along with witness information, times, dates, and the nature of your injuries.
Contact an Attorney
Following a slip and fall accident, make sure to contact an experienced attorney who will assist you in obtaining maximum recovery for your damages. Do not try to negotiate with the business owner on your own or accept any financial reward from their insurance company. Insurance companies want to settle for less and pay you as little as possible.
Who Can Be Held Liable for a Slip and Fall?
Determining slip and fall liability can be challenging. Based on the circumstances, the fault might lie in the hands of the property owner if they acted negligently by not repairing or indicating the hazard. However, if the injured person contributed in some way to their accident by not paying attention or disregarding the signs, their award might get reduced.
The property owner might be liable if:
- The owner or his/her employees caused the danger
- The owner or his/her employees were aware of the danger but failed to fix or indicate it
- The owner or his/her employees should have known about the danger because a reasonable person would have known about it and repaired it
On the other hand, the injured person might also be responsible for their accident if:
- They didn’t have a legitimate reason to be on the property
- They didn’t act reasonably by not acknowledging the danger or by not trying to avoid it
- They failed to notice any signs that the owner might have put to indicate the hazard
- They contributed to causing the dangerous conditions and therefore the accident
Common Defenses in a Minnesota Slip and Fall Claim
There are several common defenses the negligent party (more likely their insurance companies and lawyers) will use to prevent being held responsible for fall. Some of the most common defenses are:
- the danger or hazard was open and obvious
- the property owner or manager did not know about the issue or was not made aware of the danger
- the person who suffered the slip and fall was either completely or partially at fault for their injury.
Click here to learn more about common defenses in a Minnesota Slip and Fall Claim.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Minnesota Slip and Fall?
The Statute of Limitations that regulates slip and fall accidents in Minnesota is Minnesota Statutes Section 541.07, which also applies to all personal injury cases.
According to the statute, a slip and fall accident victim can file a lawsuit no later than six years from the date of the accident.
However, slip and fall accidents are also considered negligence accidents; therefore, they are governed by the Comparative Fault Statute. According to it, the victim of the accident will receive compensation in proportion to the amount of fault that is attributed to them. In other words, the financial award might be reduced based on the extent to which the victim is responsible for the accident.
What Compensation Can I Get for a Slip and Fall?
As in all personal injury cases, slip and fall accident sufferers can receive compensation for their physical damages, emotional trauma, and financial losses due to lost wages.
Victims can receive a financial award to recover their monetary and non-monetary damages.
Non-monetary damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of companionship
Monetary damages include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical services
- Household bills and expenses
- Loss of income
Contact Experienced Minnesota Slip and Fall Attorneys
Proving fault in a slip and fall accident is not always easy. It requires a dedicated attorney who is qualified and prepared to fight for your right to receive compensation for your pain and suffering.
The legal team at Sand Law LLC, Minnesota, is experienced in proving negligence in slip and fall accidents and obtaining maximum recovery for their clients.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall, the experienced attorneys at Sand Law are here to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us online or by calling 651-291-7263 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your rights and options, possible compensation, and what to expect when pursing a slip and fall injury claim.