The snow is falling. Deep freezes are in our future. It is safe to say that winter in Minnesota is finally here to stay.
While many people are rejoicing (it is Minnesota, after all), others are bemoaning the situation. And here’s why: Improper handling of snowy and icy conditions could lead to slip-and-fall accidents. Those accidents could then lead to extensive medical bills and other financial consequences for a business owner or homeowner.
A Business’s Liability for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Minnesota law places a duty on store owners to maintain safe premises for invited guests (read: anyone who lawfully enters the property). This duty requires business owners to take reasonable steps when they know there is a dangerous condition on their premises. Those dangerous conditions include the icy patches on sidewalks and walkways, piles of snow that impede traffic, and slippery floors from the winter muck that made its way indoors. Failure to remedy a dangerous condition—or, at a minimum, failure to warn others of the issue—is negligence, which is one of the necessary elements an injury victim must prove in a slip-and-fall accident lawsuit.
A Homeowner’s Liability for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Homeowners also must keep the pathways clear on their property. If a homeowner does not shovel his sidewalk or clear the ice from the path up to the front door, and someone sustains injuries after falling on the property, that homeowner could face a personal injury lawsuit.
What “Liability” Means
If a business owner or homeowner is found liable for causing a slip-and-fall accident, and therefore an accident victim’s injuries, that owner is responsible for damages stemming from the accident. Damages may include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
To Recover, You Must Meet Strict Deadlines
If you find yourself suffering injuries after an icy slip-and-fall accident, act quickly. Minnesota law places strict timelines (statutes of limitation) on how much time you have after an accident to file your injury claim. Failure to file within this time period will result in your inability to collect damages from any responsible party.
If you have specific questions about liability for slip-and-fall accidents due to wintery conditions, reach out to your personal injury attorney. And contact your attorney sooner rather than later in the event of an injury to gain experienced assistance in filing your lawsuit.