ST. PAUL SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEY
The consequences of a fall can be catastrophic. From a broken leg to a life-changing traumatic brain injury to death, serious injuries are common from a Minnesota slip and fall. When this happens, insurance companies often want to blame the person who fell no matter how negligent the property owner was in failing to maintain safety. When you have suffered serious injuries in a fall, you should seek guidance from an experienced Minnesota slip and fall attorney. At Tyroler Injury Law, we have experience in settling and winning at trial on slip and falls.
WHAT TO DO AFTER A MINNESOTA SLIP AND FALL?
Insurance companies can be extremely difficult on Minnesota slip and falls as they often refuse to acknowledge that the property owner is at fault even when the property owner failed to properly maintain their property. Often the insurer will blame the person who fell, even when the property owner knew of the dangerous condition and the injured victim did not. Because of this, it is extremely important to get as much information after the fall as you can to support your claim.
Seek medical treatment: many people who fall suffer serious injuries. Common injuries from falls include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken ankles
- Torn rotator cuffs
- Broken wrists
With serious injuries like these, always make sure you get the proper medical care.
- Report the fall: the sooner you report the incident, the better chance you have for a successful case. Even if an incident report is not created right away, an immediate record of the fall gives the insurance company less concern about the validity of the claim.
- Take photos: if you are at the scene and believe you are able to take pictures before you seek care, you should document the conditions at the scene as best you can. In some cases, it can be difficult to prove that the property was dangerous without pictures. With pictures, an insurer, judge, or jury can see that a property had not been plowed or salted, or that there was a hidden pothole. It is not most people’s first thought to take pictures, but they can be extremely helpful. We recently had a case where the client took a picture from the ambulance as it was driving away. We were able to win that case at trial. Without that picture, we may not have been able to win. Even if the picture is taken after you get home from the hospital or the next day, the picture will still be admissible in court if it shows the condition of the property at the time of the fall.
- Talk to witnesses: witnesses can make the difference in any Minnesota slip and fall case. The witnesses do not just have to be people who saw the fall, they can also be people who are familiar with the property where the fall happened. Witnesses can give statements as to the typical conditions of the property, if it is ever shoveled or plowed, if the owner ever uses salt, if warning signs are ever used, etc. These witnesses can contradict the owner who almost always states that they do a good job keeping the property safe.
- Check the area for videos: videos can be important for two reasons. First, it can show the fall and show that the injured person was acting reasonably at the time of the fall. Second, insurance companies will often argue that the property owner did not have enough notice of the dangerous condition to prevent the fall. This often happens in cases of thin ice or slipped liquids. Video can prove how long the condition lasted, and specifically can show if the dangerous condition lasted for enough time that the owner should have known.
- Send a preservation letter: a preservation letter is a letter sent to the property owner and insurer after an incident giving them notice to save all evidence, including incident reports and video. If they fail to keep this evidence or actively destroy it, their failure to keep the evidence can be used against them if the case goes to trial.
DO I HAVE A MINNESOTA SLIP AND FALL CASE?
To have a Minnesota slip and fall claim, you must first prove that the property owner is at fault. Minnesota is a comparative fault state, meaning the fault of the injured person is compared to the fault of the property owner to see if you have a case. If the injured person has equal or less fault than the people responsible for the property, the injured person will have a claim. The injured person’s damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if a case is worth $50,000 but the injured person is 50% at fault for the fall, they will recover $25,000. Someone who is more than 50% will not have a claim for a fall.
Beyond comparing fault between the parties, fault can be especially complicated for Minnesota slip and falls. Insurance companies will often argue that the danger was known or obvious and because of that they do not owe anything. If the danger is not obvious, they will argue they did not have notice of the dangerous condition. The insurance companies will often ask a judge to dismiss the case based on these defenses. When you suffer serious from a fall, it is important to consult with an experienced Minnesota slip and fall attorney as soon as possible to protect you from these arguments.
The second issue is damages. Damages are something that a person lost as the result of their injuries. This can be:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future wage loss and loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- And many other types of losses
If you have suffered serious injuries and believe someone else is at fault for your fall, you should contact an experienced St. Paul slip and fall attorney to give you guidance.
WILL THE PROPERTY OWNER OWE MY MEDICAL BILLS AND WAGE LOSS?
One of the biggest misconceptions about Minnesota slip and falls is that if someone is hurt on a property, the property owner automatically owes medical bills and wag loss. As noted above, the property owner will owe medical bills and wage loss if they are determined to be at fault for the fall because of their negligence. Even then, those medical bills and wage loss will only be paid as part of a lump sum payment at the end of a case or after a verdict at trial.
While there are no immediate wage loss payments after a slip and fall, some property insurance policies have medical payments, or “med pay,” coverage that will immediately cover bills up the limits of coverage. These policies pay medical bills regardless of who is determined to be at fault so long as the person was injured on the property. Often there are exclusions for residents of the property. These policies range from $1,000-$25,000, although most are on the lower end. Med pay is not required, and some properties will not have this coverage.
If there is no med pay coverage, health insurance will cover medical bills even if someone else is ultimately determined to be at fault. If you have access to short-term disability benefits, those will also pay immediately after an injury. Both the health insurance and short-term policies may seek money back from any settlement, but that depends on the policy and settlement.
HOW DO I VALUE MY MINNESOTA SLIP AND FALL CLAIM?
Minnesota slip and fall law allows compensation for medical bills, wage loss, and “noneconomic damages,” including pain, embarrassment, disability, emotional distress, and other factors.
Although we see these cases every day, every case is different. For example, one person with a broken ankle may not miss much time from work because they sit at a desk, but another person may miss six months as a construction worker. One person may be more active in their spare time than other. Injuries affect each person differently and each case must be looked at for what each individual person went through following the injury.
Also, the value of the case depends on liability, as discussed above. Even though your injuries may be significant, you will also have to account for comparative fault. These are all factors we must assess when looking at the value of a Minnesota slip and fall case.
Even though it may be difficult to value a case initially, that should not stop you from speaking with an experienced St. Paul slip and fall attorney. An experienced attorney can help protect you at every stage.
DO I NEED AN ATTORNEY AFTER A SLIP AND FALL?
Right after a slip and fall is an extremely important time for your case. Investigation needs to be done right away to preserve evidence. The insurance will want to take a recorded statement with you within the first few weeks after the fall and will attempt to use everything you say against you to deny your claim. It is important to speak with a Minnesota slip and fall attorney before this happens.
HOW DO ATTORNEY FEES WORK?
At Tyroler Injury Law, we work entirely on contingency fees, meaning you will not pay any fees unless we are able to recover money for you. Consultations are entirely free, and we are happy to give advice to help you in any way we can.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO START A LAWSUIT AFTER A MINNESOTA SLIP AND FALL?
You have six years to start a lawsuit after a Minnesota slip and fall if the injuries arise out of negligence. If the injuries arise out of the an improvement to the property, then you will have only two years under Minnesota’s statute of repose.
INJURED? CONTACT A ST. PAUL PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
If you have questions about a St. Paul car slip and fall, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 651-259-1113. You deserve to have compassionate, experienced representation. Please see here why we are the right choice for you.