Stores and businesses in Minnesota have a duty of care that they must provide to every person that steps foot on their property. When they fail to uphold this duty and someone falls and suffers injuries on their property, the injured party can take them to court for damages. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at this duty of care in Minnesota and your legal options if you’re injured on a store’s property.
The Elements of a Slip And Fall Claim
In order to file for compensation as a result of a slip and fall accident at a business or retail store, a person must prove that the following three things took place:
- A individual suffered a severe injury
- The business had a duty to provide care for the individual
- Negligence contributed to the accident occurring
The first two points are generally pretty easy to prove. If you slipped on a store’s property and sought medical treatment for your injuries, it’s pretty easy to make a case that the first two points exist. Many cases get contentious over the third point, which is that negligence must exist in order for a case to proceed. For example, the following scenarios do not showcase negligence on behalf of the business, and therefore you’ll find it unlikely or impossible to pursue compensation from the business for injuries related to these incidents.
- Your friend spilled some coffee on the tile, and moments later you stepped on the wet spot, slipped and injured your head.
- You neglected to grab a handrail when walking down a flight of stairs, and you fell.
- You ignored clearly marked warning signs.
- You are trespassing at the time of injury.
- You intentionally injured yourself at the business.
The law states that a business has a duty to protect patrons from foreseeable hazards and provide a reasonable level of safety. As you can guess, the words foreseeable and reasonable are both up to interpretation, which means you’ll want to have an experienced lawyer in your corner if you’re trying to make a case that negligence existed.
So what types of actions or inactions could open a business up to liability if someone suffers a slip and fall accident on their property? Examples include loose pieces of tile flooring, exposed wiring or cords, lighting issues, wet spots or areas without proper railings. Even if some actions were taken to mitigate fall risk, that doesn’t mean the business is in the clear. If a business puts out a rug to help prevent melting snow from creating wet spots, they will still be liable if someone steps off that rug, hits a wet spot and falls. They may say that they provided a reasonable level of care, but a good lawyer will argue that their actions suggested they knew this risk existed and did not meet the necessary level of patron protection.
Even if you believe it’s an open and shut case and all the evidence favors your argument, know that these businesses are insured by large insurance companies that didn’t become corporate giants by issuing payments to everyone who files a claim. They are going to fight back, and they may try to offer a low settlement offer in hopes of getting the case to go away. Make sure you have a lawyer by your side to fight back and get you every penny you deserve. We’ve done that for clients in the past, and we can do the same for you. Give Hey Workers a call today for more information.