Slips and Falls

Also known as premises liability. A slip and fall is the result of the failure of a property owner to properly maintain their property. Some examples would be failure to clean up a spill, failure to remove snow or failure to salt or sand ice, resulting in dangerous walkways, steps or landscaping. It could also be related to poorly designed facilities or improper signage or lighting. Property owners have a “duty of care” to see that their property is safe. This includes insuring that the building has no structural or design defects inside or out that could cause an accident or fall. Structural defects can include: loose tiles, cracks or holes in floors, sidewalks or parking lots. Weather-related hazards may include standing water and icy spots. In Minnesota, slipping on ice in the winter is always a danger.

A visitor has a duty to exercise reasonable care during their time on the property, so a fall or accident on someone else’s property does not necessarily mean there is a claim against the property owner. It must be proven that the property owner was negligent and contributed to the fall or accident, at least to some degree. However, even if you or something you did may have contributed to your injury, you may still have a case. Often people assume they “should have been more careful” or were “just clumsy,”. Do not assume, as there may be a way to recover from your injury and losses, including loss of income, pain, suffering or disability. If you were injured on someone else’s property and want to know if you have a claim, contact us today.

One of the most important factors in proving the negligence of a property owner is whether there is photographic evidence of exactly what caused the fall or accident. Immediately take a photo of whatever it was that led to the fall or accident. If it is an icy patch, take a photo of the ice, as well as the surrounding area to show perspective. Make sure you report the accident or fall to the property owner, have them make a written report and ask them to turn the claim into their insurance company. Also, any witnesses to the fall or accident should be identified and their contact information obtained. Immediately, check the surrounding area for video cameras and ask the property owner for a copy of the videotape. Investigating falls and accidents should begin immediately or the claim may never be proved.

Finally, even if the property owner was not negligent, they may have “medical pay” coverage, which can be used to pay your out-of-pocket medical expenses, if you need medical attention. Usually the medical pay coverage is $1,000, but can be higher. Ask the property owner for their insurance information and submit the medical bills to them.


What To Do If You Slip and Fall

If you experience a slip and fall accident, you should:

  • Try to determine what made you fall and if it could have been anticipated and prevented.
  • Get the names and addresses of all witnesses.
  • Note the conditions in the area and even the weather if it was a factor in your fall. For example, note if the lighting was poor or there was some substance that made you slip.
  • If you did slip because of something on the floor, try to obtain a sample.
  • Get pictures of the area.
  • Definitely report any fall or accident to the manager or owner and insist that they make a record of it.
  • It will be your (and your lawyer’s) responsibility to prove that a hazard existed and that it was the cause of your accident so having any supporting details and proof will help your case
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