Who Is at Fault for My Falling on Ice in Minnesota?


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Falling from icy surfaces is commonplace in such locations as Minnesota in the winter weather months, but when the injuries are severe and medical treatment is expensive, the victim may be wondering who is liable for damages. Most of these types of accidents transpire near or outside of businesses and in parking lots attached to company property, and this could lead to a claim.

Many businesses do not have insurance plans that cover accidents outside the building with guests, but when they do, it may be possible to avert potential litigious disaster. Injuries that occur within the owned or leased property of a company could hold the owner or management of the organization responsible for damages to those harmed. This often depends on the circumstances, and the factors of the incident are closely examined such as negligence and maintenance of the real estate property. Reasonable measures must be taken to secure the facility from hazards both inside and outside so injuries and death are prevented.

When slip and fall accidents occur naturally, the injuries and treatment are the responsibility of the person that was harmed. However, companies are tasked with maintaining the grounds of the land and building that is either owned or leased through a landlord. Some businesses purchase insurance for guests that are injured through outside circumstances, but those that donít could be liable for paying out damages to these victims. It must be proven in court that there was a duty owed to the person, it was breached and this breach caused the harm. It could also be argued that negligence was involved and with knowledge of the outside conditions that the company could have avoided the injuries to others through removing the hazard.

The Duty of Care

When a company owes a duty of care to those that have come to the property or are guests on the grounds, there is usually a duty owed to ensure they are protected while at the location. The duty is breached when the person becomes injured while still there. This usually extends to the external region of the property with natural phenomena. However, the company is provided time and reasonable means of removing potential hazards. If ice formed immediately after someone left the building, there is not enough time to even know there is a danger to others.

For liability in these matters, the company must know of the danger, have the time and means of preventing injury and proceed to do so for others. This would involve quarantining the hazard, cleaning up ice or snow and using signs that are large enough and conspicuous so guests and clients are aware of the risk. This includes parking lots, sidewalks, stairs, and adjoining areas. When reasonable care is taken, the company may not be at fault, and the injured person may not succeed in a claim. However, a breach in care and injuries caused by this breach are grounds for the injured to pursue action in most situations.

Reasonable Duty of Care and Natural Accumulation

Because the business is provided a reasonable duty of care obligation, this permits the owners of the company a defense in litigation when the victim is explaining a situation that does not fall into this category. When the organization needs to remove ice and snow, there is enough time allocated to these actions, and if someone is injured in the duration, the company may not be liable for damages. The location of where the slip and fall accident happened may also factor into these cases, and what is true in one state may not hold true in Minnesota.

For ice and snow, there is another element explained as natural accumulation that may remove liability to a property manager or owner when a person, guest or client has been injured. The snow and ice that accumulates throughout the day may take time to remove, and this period of time is provided to the business to avoid lawsuits and paying out damages through insurance or litigation. Unless an unusual danger exists within the property, it is difficult and more complicated in holding the company responsible for injuries due to natural accumulation of slippery natural phenomena.

Legal Help in Slip and Falls in Minnesota

When the company is responsible for these accidents or could be held liable, it is important to hire a lawyer to assist with creating strategy to hold the organization accountable for damages from the incident.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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