Winter weather conditions always increase the risk of slip and fall accidents. Snow and ice on highways, sidewalks, parking garages, parking lots, and other areas greatly increase the number of slip and fall accidents during this season. During this season, it is critical for people to exercise as much caution as possible to protect themselves as they are out and about.
Did you know that slips and falls are the leading causes of injuries and workers’ compensation claims? According to the National Safety Council, slips and falls also account for over 9 million emergency room visits every year.
In the winter, many slip and fall accidents are caused by the lack of attention some property owners or business owners give to their properties to ensure the area is free of dangers and hazards.
Minnesota Slip and Fall Injury Claims
In Minnesota, slip and fall injuries are two of the most common grounds for premises liability claims. What is a premises liability claim? Under Minnesota law, the owner of a property or the operator of a property is obligated to exercise a duty of care to ensure the property is free from hazards. If the property is unsafe, the owner or operator of the property can be held liable for the injuries.
Businesses and Slip and Fall Injuries
During winters in Minnesota, many people can be injured due to the dangerous conditions cause by rain, ice, and snow. One of the most common elements in the injuries that people face on a daily basis is that a business owner or property owner failed to foresee the potential hazards. This duty extends to proper design of the improvements on the property, inspection and maintenance to minimize hazards, and warning of dangerous conditions. As a result of not making the property safe and eliminating potential dangers and hazards, the owner of the property could be held liable.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries
Broken or Fractured Bones
When someone slips and falls on wet surfaces, one can end up suffering from one or more broken or fractured bones. Some broken or fractured bones can cause significant damages to one’s internal organs.
Where do people generally land after a slip and fall? The majority of the time, one will land on his or her back after a slip and fall. As many people have experienced over the years, one can sustain significant damage to the back and other body parts after a slip and fall. If you land on your back after a slip and fall, you can suffer short-term or long-term injuries such as the following:
- Issues to your soft tissues
- Dislocated spine
- A herniated disc
- Spinal cord damage
When someone slips and falls, the accident can cause a significant amount of damage to the brain, especially when there is a significant amount of impact to the brain by the ground or an object. Brain injuries can be temporary or permanent, resulting in the decline of a person’s cognitive abilities. Some of the most traumatic brain injuries can include concussions and contusions.
We understand how increasingly difficult it can become to get around on foot during the winter. While everyone is at risk for a slip and fall accident in the winter, seniors over the age of 60 will face a higher risk of injuries. Pedestrians in Minnesota can also be at risk of being involved in an accident with a vehicle.
Here are some safety tips that you can follow to reduce the risk of a slip and fall accident during this season:
- If you are walking at night, wear clothing and gear that will make you visible to drivers
- Wear footwear that will reduce the chances of you slipping and falling
- Limit your distractions while walking
- Do not carry any heavy bags or items while walking
Who Can Be Held Liable For An Injury?
In cases where premises liability is involved, it can be a challenge to identify the party who was responsible for the slip and fall injury. If a business owner or property owner utilizes the services of a snow removal company or a plow company to keep their properties neat and free of hazards. However, this may not be enough to avoid liability charges after a slip and fall.
If a person does suffer an injury from a slip and fall due to snow and/or ice, the investigation will determine if the property owner took the appropriate steps to prevent any injuries. If a snow and ice removal company fails to reduce the number of dangers and hazards, the business owner or property owner could be held liable for being negligent or legally liable for a slip and fall injury.
What Should I Do After A Slip and Fall?
If anyone is injured after a slip and fall accident, it is important to take the appropriate steps so he or she can adequately react to the situation. Here are some things one can do to increase the chances of receiving compensation for the injuries:
- Request medical assistance
- Identify the cause of your slip and fall while waiting to receive assistance
- Take photographs and videos of the scene
- Collect the information of anyone who saw what happened
- Seek a consultation from an experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer
Slip and fall accidents are considered negligence accidents and are governed by the Comparative Fault Statute. Under this statute, anyone who is injured as a result of a slip and fall can be compensated in proportion to the amount of fault. What does this mean? This means that if you are found to be partially negligent, the amount of your compensation can be reduced based on the percentage of negligence.
How Will I Be Compensated For The Injuries?
As mentioned previously, slip and fall accidents can lead to life-impacting injuries. Due to the extent of injuries, one can be compensated for bodily damages, emotional damages, monetary damages, medical bills, rehabilitation services, etc.
If you or someone you love is suffering from one or more injuries after a slip and fall accident, the team at Patterson Dahlberg Injury Lawyers is here to help you. Contact us online for a free case evalutation or call us at 507-424-3000.