Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, leaving victims with costly medical bills and a long road to recovery. Knowing your rights after a slip and fall accident is key to setting yourself up for the best chances of success in your case.
Due to the complexities and the many defenses available to property owners, slip and fall cases in Minnesota can be very difficult cases to succeed on. The importance of a slip and fall lawyer cannot be overstated in these cases – they are trained professionals who understand the laws surrounding such incidents, which gives you the best chance at collecting the compensation you rightfully deserve. This blog post will explain why prompt action is essential when dealing with slip and fall cases, as well as why having an experienced lawyer on your side can make all the difference.
Seek Medical Attention Immediately After a Slip and Fall Accident
When you are injured in a slip and fall accident, your number one priority should be seeking appropriate medical care for your injuries. Injuries from slip and fall accidents can range from abrasions, contusions, strains and sprains to head injuries, spinal injuries, and severe orthopedic injuries. The type of injury sustained will depend on a variety of factors such as:
- The height from which the fall occurred;
- The surface that was landed on (hard or soft);
- How fast someone was moving when they fell;
- Whether the person had a chance to brace themselves; and
- Whether they were wearing protective gear at the time of their fall (such as a helmet).
Even if you only experience minor discomfort after a slip and fall accident, it is still important to seek medical attention right away to document your injuries and rule out any further complications down the road.
What’s more, in addition to severe physical injuries from a slip & fall accident, an individual can experience psychological issues such as anxiety and depression as a result of the incident and associated injuries. These psychological issues can lead to difficulties in returning into normal life routines, and require mental health care and counseling.
Equally important is to document all medical treatment related to your slip and fall accident for potential legal action later. Keeping track of dates of visits, treatments received, diagnosis from doctors, medications prescribed, and test results can help prove that an injury was caused by the incident in question. Additionally, documenting conversations with insurance companies or other parties involved in the case may come into play during litigation proceedings, should it become necessary.
Know Your Rights After a Slip and Fall Accident
If you’ve been hurt in a slip and fall, it is essential to understand your legal rights under Minnesota law so that you can be adequately compensated for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, or any other losses.
In Minnesota, property owners have a duty to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition for those who are on their property. If there is a dangerous or hazardous condition that the property owner knew, or should have known about, they have a duty to remedy the dangerous or hazardous condition, or give warnings of the dangerous or hazardous condition. If they do not, they may be liable to the injured person for their damages, which include their past and future medical expenses, their past and future wage loss, and their past and future pain, suffering and emotional distress.
Property owners generally have no duty, however, to warn or remedy dangerous or hazardous conditions that are “open and obvious” to a reasonable person in the injured person’s shoes. Generally, the open and obviousness defense is a complete defense to a slip and fall claim.
In addition, property owners can also claim that the injured person was contributorily negligent, or in other words, failed to act reasonably as well. This could apply if the person was wearing inappropriate footwear, was looking at their phone while walking, or failed to pay proper attention to where they were walking. This defense can be used to deny liability or reduce the amount of damages that a person may recover.
After a slip and fall accident, an insurance company for a property owner is going to investigate and determine who was at fault for the accident itself. If the property owner or manager was negligent in maintaining their premises—such as failing to clean up spilled liquids or fix broken stairs, or salt or sand ice—they could be held liable for any resulting injuries. To demonstrate negligence, it is important to document as much as possible after the slip and fall accident.
Document Everything Related to Your Slip and Fall Accident
Gathering evidence early on is key to helping determine who is to blame for your slip and fall accident. Doing so will make it much easier to prove liability should litigation become necessary.
- Take pictures of where the accident occurred. Ideally, you will be able to, or have someone else be able to, take photos of the condition of the area where you fell as soon as possible. These photos will play a critical role in showing how the hazard was present before, during, and after your accident. Be sure to take multiple photos from different angles and include anything that could have contributed to your fall, such as wet floors or icy patches on a walkway. If you are unable to obtain photographs immediately, return, or have someone else return, to the site as soon as practicable to take photographs.
- Take down witness names and collect statements from bystanders. Gather the contact information of any witnesses who were present at the time you fell and inquire as to their observations regarding the scene. Ask them what they saw, whether they took any photographs, as well as any other pertinent details they can recall about the area where you fell.
- Keep track of medical bills related to treating your injuries. Ensure that all records connected to the injuries you sustained in your fall are organized and up to date. This includes doctor visits (including follow-up appointments), hospital stays, prescriptions, physical therapy sessions, and test results. This will help to prove how serious your injuries were.
- Maintain a detailed timeline of events. Keep track of dates relating to when everything happened – from when you first noticed something wrong with whatever caused your slip and fall (i.e. slippery floor) until now – including time spent recovering from any injuries sustained due to this incident. This will help establish a timeline which could strengthen claims made by either side in court proceedings or while negotiating settlements outside of the courtroom.
Why It Is Imperative to Hire an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer
Hiring a knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer can be critical to the outcome of your case following an injury from slipping or falling. An experienced attorney will help ensure that your rights are protected, that all necessary documents are filed properly, and that any compensation you may be entitled to is maximized.
When selecting a lawyer for your case, it’s important to choose someone who specializes in personal injury law, who frequently handles slip and fall accidents. It’s also beneficial to find an attorney who:
- You trust;
- Possesses excellent communication skills; this will prove invaluable when discussing sensitive topics associated with the accident.
- Has access to expert witnesses or other resources which could strengthen your case if needed. You want someone who is comfortable going up against insurance companies or large corporations if necessary – because these entities often try to minimize payouts even when liability is clear-cut.
A skilled personal injury attorney won’t back down and will instead know how hard they need to fight for their client’s best interests, while still staying within the confines of the law.
Slip and fall cases can be complicated, which is why retaining the services of a knowledgeable lawyer is a must. A qualified attorney will understand your rights as a victim of a slip and fall accident and help you get the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering or other damages related to your injury. The importance of having an experienced slip and fall lawyer on your side cannot be overstated; they are there to protect your legal interests throughout the process.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident in Minnesota, Nelson Personal Injury, LLC can provide the guidance needed to ensure that your rights are protected and you collect the maximum compensation possible for your losses.