Slip and fall incidents can be more than mere accidents; they can lead to serious injuries that disrupt lives and livelihoods. At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, we have witnessed firsthand the impact these events can have on individuals and families.
We’ve committed ourselves to serving the St. Cloud community, offering experienced legal guidance to those affected by slip and fall accidents.
Your Legal Rights After a Slip and Fall
As your dedicated St. Cloud slip and fall attorneys, we want you to know and understand your rights. Minnesota law recognizes that property owners have a duty to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition for those who are entered upon it. If you’ve slipped, tripped, or fallen due to a property owner’s negligence, you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries.
What Constitutes Negligence in a Slip and Fall Case?
The legal concept of negligence is at the heart of every slip and fall claim. A property owner is considered negligent if they failed to act as a reasonable person would under similar circumstances. This could involve:
Ignoring Spills or Wet Floors
A common yet hazardous occurrence, ignoring spills or wet floors can lead to serious slip and fall incidents. Whether it’s a transitory spill in a grocery aisle or a persistent wet floor due to cleaning, property owners must address the issue promptly.
Warning signs should be placed, and efforts must be made to clean the area immediately to prevent slip and fall accidents from occurring. If you’ve been injured because someone failed to take these precautions, you have the right to hold them accountable.
Adequate lighting is essential for safety, allowing individuals to see where they are going and to avoid potential hazards. Poor lighting can obscure obstacles, turns, or steps that are otherwise navigable with proper illumination.
This negligence can be hazardous in walkways, sidewalks, stairwells, and other locations. When an injury occurs due to inadequate lighting, property owners may be held liable for not providing a safe environment.
Uneven Surfaces Without Warning Signs
Uneven surfaces present a significant risk for trips and falls, especially if there are no signs indicating irregularity or the hazard is not marked to draw the eye’s attention to it. This could include broken sidewalks, potholes, bumpy flooring, or unexpected steps.
Property owners should either repair these surfaces or place clear warnings around them. When they fail to do so, and an injury occurs, they may be responsible for damages due to their neglect in maintaining the property.
Snow and Ice Accumulation
In Minnesota’s harsh winters, snow and ice can accumulate rapidly on sidewalks and other walkable surfaces. In addition, patrons often drag snow and ice on their shoes and boots into stores, creating slippery floors. Property owners have a duty to remove this accumulation in a timely manner to ensure safe passage.
If they do not, it can lead to slips and falls with potentially grave consequences. Property owners can be liable for injuries if they do not take the appropriate actions to remediate these slippery conditions.
Unmarked Steps or Thresholds
Steps or thresholds can be hazardous if they are not marked or if there is inadequate warning of their presence. These architectural features can catch individuals unaware, leading to trips and falls.
It is the responsibility of the property owner to ensure that these potential hazards are made evident to all who may encounter them through the use of contrasting colors, warning signs, or proper lighting. If an injury occurs because of unmarked steps or thresholds, the property owner may be deemed negligent.
If any of these conditions contributed to your accident, we are here to help prove that negligence occurred, clearing the path for your deserved compensation.
The Minnesota Statute of Limitations
It’s crucial to act promptly if you’ve suffered a slip and fall. In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims based on negligence is generally six years from the accident date. Waiting too long could jeopardize your ability to file a claim. More practically, waiting too long can also affect your ability to collect the evidence needed to prove your claim.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Accident
Experiencing a slip and fall can be alarming and disorienting, but the steps you take afterward are critical for your health and any subsequent legal claim you pursue.
Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Prioritize your health above all else. If you’ve been hurt, see a doctor right away. Not only is this vital for your well-being, but medical records will also serve as an essential piece of evidence in documenting the extent of your injuries.
Report the Accident
Notify the property owner or manager of the incident as soon as possible. Insist on creating an official report and request a copy before you leave the premises. This document can be a crucial piece of evidence when filing a claim.
Document the Scene and Injuries
Take photographs or videos of the exact location of the accident, including any conditions that contributed to your fall. Try to do it as quickly as possible after the incident while the condition that caused your fall still exists. It’s equally important to document your injuries and any immediate symptoms you may experience. Prompt documentation can be the difference in a successful and unsuccessful claim.
Collect Witness Information
Witness statements can provide an objective perspective on your accident. If anyone saw what happened, ask for their names, and contact information.
Do Not Assign Blame
When discussing the incident with the property owner or manager, remain factual and do not admit fault. Even offhand remarks can be used against you in a legal claim.
Consult with a Slip and Fall Attorney
Before making any statements to insurance companies, consult a slip and fall attorney who can provide guidance tailored to your situation. A legal expert can help you navigate the complexities of your claim and advocate for your rights.
By following these steps, you can safeguard your health and strengthen any potential legal claim. Remember, actions taken immediately after an accident are often pivotal in pursuing fair compensation.
Compensation You May Be Entitled To
When we take on your slip and fall case, we aim to secure the compensation that covers the following:
- Medical expenses, both past and future;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Rehabilitation costs; and
- Loss of future earning capacity.
Our Approach to Your Case
We take a personalized approach to every case. By understanding your circumstances, we tailor our strategy to maximize your compensation. When we represent you, we’re not just attorneys; we’re your partners in seeking justice on your behalf.
The Importance of Evidence in Your Claim
Building a successful slip and fall claim requires sufficient evidence. The best evidence in slip and fall claims are photographs of the area where you fell, taken as soon as possible after the incident. Such photographs will show the hazard in the condition it was in at the time you fell, and whether any warnings were given of the hazard. On our end, we will work to collect and present evidence that supports your version of events. This may include surveillance footage, witness statements, and expert testimony.
Common Questions About Slip and Fall Accidents
Can I file a claim if the accident was partially my fault?
Minnesota operates under a modified comparative fault system. You can still recover damages if you were partially at fault, but your percentage of fault will reduce your compensation. If your fault exceeds the other parties, however, you cannot recover for your injuries.
What if the accident occurred at work?
If the slip and fall happened while you worked, you might have a workers’ compensation claim. However, in some cases, there may also be a third-party claim if another’s negligence caused your fall.
How long will my case take?
The duration of a slip and fall case can vary. We strive to resolve cases as efficiently as possible, but we will not rush a settlement that undervalues your claim. Generally, you want to wait to resolve your claim until you know the full nature, extent, and permanency of your injuries, which could be up to a year. If a lawsuit needs to be started, it could take another year for your case to work its way through the system.
Why Choose Nelson Personal Injury, LLC
We pride ourselves on our integrity, compassion, and the results we’ve achieved for our clients. With decades of experience in Minnesota personal injury law, we have the expertise and resources to take on your slip and fall case.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident in St. Cloud, contact Nelson Personal Injury, LLC today. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case with no obligation. Let us help you on the path to recovery and justice.
Slip and fall accidents can be complex, but with Nelson Personal Injury, LLC on your side, you’ll have a compassionate and committed team fighting for you. Remember, you’re not just a case number; you’re a valued member of the St. Cloud community, and your well-being is our top priority.