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Slips and Falls: Frequently Asked Questions

Slips and Falls Frequently Asked Questions - Sand Law LLC - Minnesota Personal Injury Attorney

What are the most common causes of slip and fall accidents?

The most common causes of slip and fall accidents include wet and uneven surfaces. These include loose floorboards or mats, broken sidewalks, potholes in parking lots, messy or recently mopped floors, or weak staircases. 

Slip and fall accidents can be extremely dangerous. While they’re not life-threatening for most people, over 60% of deaths caused by these accidents occur in people 75 years or older. 

These accidents also often occur when weather conditions are bad, especially if property owners haven’t taken the time to clear their sidewalks or parking lots of snow and ice. Nursing home neglect can also cause slip and falls. This can happen if aids in nursing homes don’t properly monitor their residents.

Where do most slip and fall accidents occur?

Most slip and fall accidents occur in grocery stores, restaurants, and parking lots.

These accidents can happen anywhere. If a floor is uneven or wet, a slip and fall can always occur. This could be in the grocery store, in a shopping mall, or even outside in a parking lot or on a sidewalk. Anywhere that spills are common are potential slip and fall hazards. Other common locations include swimming pools, gyms, and retail stores. These locations become more dangerous if they also have poor lighting. 

Can I receive compensation if I was injured by a slip and fall at a store?

You may be entitled to compensation depending on the nature of your accident if you were injured by a slip, trip, or fall while in a store.

To receive compensation and win your case against the store, you must be able to show that the store owner showed negligence. This could mean they had a spill they knew about but didn’t clean up. Or that they didn’t clear the snow from their sidewalks even though they knew it was dangerous. 

Are property owners required to remove ice and snow from sidewalks?

Property owners in Saint Paul, Minnesota, are required to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours after the end of snowfall.

They’re also required to shovel the full width of their sidewalks, including the corners. All ice also must be removed, and they’re instructed to sprinkle sand to prevent slips. The ordinance also states that it’s against the law to shovel snow or ice into the street. This is one of the many ways businesses must act to prevent slip and falls.

Does the law say a property owner should have known about dangerous conditions on their property?

Property owners are required to provide safe environments for customers. In the Minnesota Retail Compendium, it states that, “If a defendant does not create the dangerous condition, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the owner or operator of the premises had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition.” It also states, “Constructive notice may be demonstrated by showing that the dangerous condition had existed for a sufficient amount of time that the owner or its employees should have known about the condition.” In short, yes. If the dangerous condition existed for a sufficient amount of time, the owner and their employees “should have known” about it. 

What happens if I’m injured inside or outside the home of a neighbor after being invited over?

If you are invited over to a person’s home, you are classified as a licensee. That is, a social guest who has been invited to a personal residence for reasons other than business. This would include being invited over for a party. As a licensee, the resident is required to make sure their property is safe. Otherwise, they should at least warn you if it is not. You, as a guest, are required to keep your eyes out for obvious unsafe conditions, but the resident is required to warn you about things that might not be obvious. If there’s a broken step, or an exposed nail, they have to let you know. 

What if I’m injured in the private residence I’m renting?

Injuring yourself in your own residence can be tricky. However, if you’re renting and something goes wrong, it can be a little bit easier to identify. Obviously, if you’ve tripped over something like a messy room or a problem you caused, you can’t really sue yourself. However, if you have an exposed pipe, or a ripped up floor board, something that you’ve reported to the landlord multiple times and they still haven’t fixed, then you may be entitled to compensation. 

What if someone warned a store employee about a potential hazard, and someone still slips or falls?

This goes back to the earlier question about whether or not they “should have known” about the potential hazard in their store. If they knew about the potential hazard in their store and chose to ignore it, that would fall under the “should have known” law referenced in the Minnesota Retail Compendium. However, in this case, with them ignoring the potential hazard, there’s less speculation about whether or not they’re in the wrong. Ignoring a potential hazard is easily classified as negligence. 

If a building owner is violating the building code, can that be used to help win a slip and fall case?

Building codes are incredibly important. These codes are used in all buildings whether it be your apartment or your workplace. If these codes aren’t followed they can create an unsafe environment for everyone in the building. Because these building codes are such an important part of safety, being able to demonstrate that these codes have been broken will help show that the building owner broke their duty of care and should be held liable. 

Can you sue the city for falling on a broken piece of a sidewalk?

The answer to this question is a little bit more complicated than just a yes or a no. Yes, you can sue the city for tripping, slipping, or falling because of unsafe conditions on their streets or sidewalks. However, a case against the city is much more complicated than a case against a person or a business. These types of cases have tightened deadlines. This means you have a certain amount of time from the accident to file a claim. They also follow highly particular procedures, and if you don’t follow them, your case could be barred. If you’re looking to sue the city for your accident, make sure you have a qualified lawyer by your side. This is not a case you want to take on alone. 

Who is held liable in a slip and fall case?

If you were to slip and fall in a retail store, your mind would probably first go to the manager on duty. But, they might not necessarily be the liable party. If your slip and fall accident is the fault of unsafe conditions, that would fall on the property owner. In a retail situation this is usually the manager or the business. If it’s an apartment building, it’s likely the landlord. 

If I’m injured in a slip and fall accident, do I have to sue my friend or loved one?

Say you’re injured at your friends house after being invited over for a party. You don’t necessarily have to sue your friend. You’re not required to sue anyone. If the two of you, being friends, can figure out the details on your own, suing may not be necessary. However, if your friend isn’t agreeing to help pay for medical bills or they’re being difficult, you may want to think about suing. 

How can I get legal help with my slip and fall case?

If you’re located in Minnesota, and you’re looking for help with your slip and fall case, one or our experienced personal injury lawyers here at Sand Law would be happy to look over it for you. You can contact us online or at 651-291-7263.