Mankato Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip and fall incidents are one of the most common causes of personal injury lawsuits. Especially during cold weather, it’s important for property owners to clear away snow and ice in a timely fashion to limit the risk of being liable for another person’s slip and fall injury. While most states don’t have specific laws covering slip and fall liability, local laws and ordinances will often require residents and business owners to clear sidewalks and other areas open to the public in a timely fashion.
Liability for Slips and Falls
Some slip and fall accidents happen because victims are not paying attention or do not exercise an appropriate level of caution when navigating slippery conditions such as snow or ice. When injured victims wish to file lawsuits against property owners, they must be able to prove these property owners were negligent in some way, and their negligence caused their injuries. Private property owners owe a duty of care to lawful visitors on their property, meaning they must take precautions against injuries and warn guests of any hazards on the property.
Generally, you don’t have to worry about liability for slip and fall accidents unless you allowed a dangerous condition to exist for an unreasonable or specified period of time. Additionally, you may face liability if you fail to warn visitors to your property or passersby of any hazards on your property. Business owners must also provide clear pathways around their establishments to limit the risk of slip and fall injuries for customers. While this may not be a law set in stone for some states, it’s a wise idea to protect yourself and your business from any possible slip and fall lawsuits.
Public property owners and local maintenance companies are held to a higher duty of care than private property owners. Government-owned public property and businesses that invite the public to enter their properties must ensure their premises are as safe to lawful visitors as can be reasonably expected. Making the distinction between “lawful” and “unlawful” visitors is important. Unlawful visitors, or trespassers, cannot sue a property owner for a slip and fall accident since he or she was not lawfully present on the property.
Slip and fall injury lawsuits generally fall under the purview of premises liability laws, meaning that injured plaintiffs must prove that the property owner was negligent in his or her care and maintenance of the property, and this lack of care led to an unsafe condition which in turn caused the plaintiff’s injuries. An injured plaintiff’s attorney must prove negligence by establishing four basic facts to court:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care. For example, business owners must ensure their facilities and grounds pose no danger to lawful visitors and customers.
- The defendant breached this duty. Following the previous example, this could include a business owner failing to warn customers of slippery surfaces.
- The defendant’s breach was the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. It’s important to remember that plaintiffs may only seek compensation for the direct results of a defendant’s negligence.
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages. You cannot sue if you suffered no measurable injuries or other losses such as property damage.
Contact Us Today
Although some slip and fall cases may seem straightforward at first, premises liability lawsuits can become complex depending on if the person who slipped was a guest, visitor, or trespasser and whether or not there was an appropriate sign or warning. Additionally, if you suffered an injury on public, government-owned property, you must meet special requirements to file a claim against the government, and this process typically involves meeting numerous strict deadlines. One of the best assets you can have when dealing with a slip and fall lawsuit is an accomplished, reliable premises liability attorney who knows the law inside and out. Contact our firm today and set up free consultation to discuss your claim.