Could You be Held Partially Liable for a Slip and Fall Injury?

caution wet floor signSometimes there is just one party at fault for a slip and fall – often it is a property owner or someone who works for the owner and manages the property. However, sometimes liability is shared between two or more parties, and one of those parties might even be the victim.

It is important to note insurance companies often claim victims are partially or entirely at fault, even when this is clearly not the case. However, there could be times when victims walked into a dangerous situation that probably should have been avoided. If there were warnings that were easy to see and understand, often termed “open and obvious”, and the victim ignored them, he or she may have been negligent.

Below, we discuss partial fault for a slip and fall accident and why victims should not make assumptions about their role in an accident. You may have acted reasonably and not bear any fault, and you should discuss things with a licensed attorney.

At TSR Injury Law, our goal is to secure maximum compensation for damages. In a free consultation, we can carefully review what happened and discuss possible legal options. The consultation also comes with no obligation to hire our firm so there is no risk to you.

Minnesota Law on Partial Fault

Under state law, victims can still seek compensation for damages if they are partially at fault. That said, victims cannot be more at fault than the other party, otherwise they cannot pursue compensation. In other words, if you are more than 50 percent at fault, you cannot pursue compensation no matter how hurt you are.

If you are 50 percent or less at fault, your compensation award will be reduced in accordance with your percentage of fault. In other words, if you are found 10 percent at fault, any compensation award you receive will be reduced by 10 percent.

It is important for victims to know this because they may assume they cannot recover any compensation because they are somewhat at fault. Victims often exaggerate their amount of fault or allow themselves to be swayed by things the insurance company tells them.

It is important to review the situation with a lawyer to determine possible legal options. If you think you are partially at fault, do not tell the insurance company. Discuss it with an experienced Minneapolis slip and fall lawyer.

Partial Fault for a Slip and Fall

It is important to note fault for a slip and fall must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. There are just too many factors that need to be considered. Even if two slip and falls happened in the same type of store, they may have a different cause. That is why it is so important for victims to seek experienced legal help.

One of the main questions to answer when assessing fault for a slip and fall injury is whether it was unreasonable for the victim to do what he or she did. If the victim acted as a reasonable person and the property owner did not take appropriate steps to mitigate the hazard, it may be difficult to assign partial fault to the victim.

Going into a section of a property that is restricted or roped off is a bad idea and may be considered unreasonable. Property owners will claim they cannot be expected to fix hazards in areas of the property visitors are not supposed to go.

A victim may be partially blamed for a slip and fall is if there were warning signs about the dangerous condition. For example, if there was a wet floor sign in front of a wet or slippery part of the floor, and you walked into that area, you might bear some amount of fault. The property owner may be able to avoid liability because there was a sign.

Could the Victim Argue That He or She Did Not See the Sign?

It is possible. However, if you did not see the sign because you were distracted and it was clearly visible to others, this may not be a viable argument. If you were intoxicated at the time of the accident and the property owner has pictures or video of you that indicates this, it may be tough to argue you did not see the sign. You may not have, but you probably would have if not for being intoxicated.

If the sign was obscured by something, like a plant or other people, the property owner may have trouble claiming visitors had a clear warning about the danger.

What if You Had Inappropriate Footwear?

This may sound like a weak argument trotted out by the insurance company to escape liability. That said, if a female victim was wearing heels in a snow-covered parking lot and fell, the insurance company will blame the choice of shoes.

An insurance company may argue you were wearing flip-flops in the produce section, so you should be found at least partially negligent. However, it depends on the hazard that caused your injury. Was the hazard so dangerous that wearing different shoes would not have mattered? If that is true, this may be a flimsy argument by the liable party.

Injured in a Slip and Fall? TSR is Here to Help

Slip and fall cases can be complex. Proving liability can be challenging, particularly because property owners and their insurers are looking to avoid accountability.

That is why victims can greatly benefit from experienced legal representation. At TSR Injury Law, we have been helping victims for more than 20 years and have obtained $1 billion in compensation.

No upfront fees. Call (612) TSR-TIME.

Can a Property Owner Be Held Liable for a Fall Caused by Snow or Ice in Minnesota?

walking while shoveling snowOne of the most common reasons for a slip and fall accident is a slippery or wet surface.  In the late fall and winter months in a state like Minnesota, snow or icy conditions can cause many people to slip and fall.

While many people brush off slip and fall accidents as no big deal, the truth is serious injuries often result from these situations.  Victims may be able to seek compensation if they were on another’s property – the property owner may have been required by law to remove the snow or ice.

However, liability for a fall caused by snow or ice can be a complex issue.  That is why you should strongly consider seeking legal help.  You do not want to talk to just any attorney, you need an experienced lawyer with a track record of recovering compensation for injury victims in Minnesota.

TSR Injury Law has recovered millions on behalf of our clients and there is no obligation to take legal action after meeting with us.

What Does the Law Say About Removing Snow and Ice?

The state of Minnesota does not have any laws requiring municipalities to create or enforce policies on removing snow from sidewalks.  However, most municipalities do have ordinances on this issue.

For example, Chapter 445 of the Minneapolis Code of Ordinances deals with this issue.  The code says property owners of any buildings that border, abut or adjoin any street must remove snow or ice within fours of daylight after snow stops falling.  A property owner is anyone having custody, care or control of any building. Daytime hours are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

This part of the code excludes those who own one or two-family dwellings.  However, owners of these properties must remove snow from a public sidewalk that abuts or adjoins their lot within 24 hours of snowfall ending.  If they are unable to remove any snow, they must sprinkle sand on the sidewalk.

Business owners must keep driveways leading into their businesses clear of snow, ice or other debris.  This part of the law applies to anyone carrying on a business, profession, vocation, parking lot, or other service the city requires a license or permit from the city, provided they are operating next to a public street or boulevard.  Those who fail to comply could have their business license or permit revoked by the city.

Failing to comply with the requirements of the code is a petty misdemeanor.  Every hour past the four-hour window to remove snow or ice, or past the 24-hour window for one or two-family dwellings, is a separate violation of the code.

Establishing Liability for Your Injuries

A violation of local law on removing snow or ice may be considered a breach of the property owner’s duty of care.  In a personal injury claim, the victim must prove the at-fault party breached a duty of care and link that breach to the injury suffered.  A duty of care is an obligation to take reasonable care to help prevent others from suffering harm.

However, how do you prove the property owner exceeded the four-hour time limit for removing snow? How do you establish when snow stopped falling?

You can be sure the property owner and his or her attorney or insurance company will look for any argument to use against you to avoid responsibility for the accident.

That is why it is so important to document the accident by filing an accident report. Make sure to note the time in the report.  You should also seek immediate treatment, as this will help link your injury to the accident.  After that, contact an attorney right away.  Another important piece of evidence are photos.  It is not always possible to take photos right away, but if you can, do it.  It is often the best evidence of the timing and condition of the fall down area at the time of the fall.  Even a few hours later may have changed the condition.

The attorneys at our firm have extensive knowledge of local laws on removing snow and ice and how they may apply to a personal injury claim.  These cases are often difficult to prove, which is why you should strongly consider seeking experienced legal representation.

One factor that may play a role in your claim is whether the danger presented by the snow or ice was reasonable or unreasonable.  Sometimes people should know to avoid certain things because they are obviously very dangerous.  The at-fault party may try to use this defense against you.  For example, if you walked onto the property and the owner was in the process of clearing snow and ice, and you continued walking into a dangerous area, you may have trouble building a case against the property owner.

Injured in a Slip and Fall? Schedule a Free Consultation

Even though snow and cold weather are features of living in Minnesota, we should all be careful to avoid injuries caused by these conditions.  If you think a walkway is too slippery or might cause you trouble, maybe you should avoid it.

However, no matter how safe you try to be, an accident could still happen.  If it does, our Minneapolis slip and fall lawyers are ready to help you.  Schedule your free consultation today to learn more about our services and the benefits of having qualified legal representation.

TSR Injury Law. No Upfront Fees.  Call (612) TSR-TIME.