Minnesota has many remarkable properties, from high-rise buildings in the cities to private residences and public parks. However, sometimes these incredible places have hidden dangers that could seriously injure someone. Property owners and managers must protect their guests from hazardous features that can cause injury. This rule is known as premises liability.
If a property owner or manager failed to protect you from known hazards, an experienced Minnesota premises liability lawyer from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers could help you. Our Minnesota personal injury lawyers can explain how you can pursue compensation for your losses and how we can help you with your claim. Contact us online or by calling us for your free consultation.
Types of Premises Liability in Minnesota
In Minnesota, property owners or possessors must protect visitors by regularly inspecting their property for hazards, promptly repairing known hazards, and warning guests of unmitigated dangers with prominent warning signs. If a property owner or possessor fails in this responsibility, someone could get hurt. Common premises liability accidents include:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are common in Minnesota. Visitors may trip or slip on:
- Liquid or debris on flooring
- Cluttered walkways
- Patches of ice
- Acorns, rocks, or other objects on the ground
- Potholes in parking lots
- Torn flooring or cracks in sidewalks
- Poor lighting, particularly in stairwells
- Damaged or defective staircases or handrails
Slip and fall accidents account for over one million visits to U.S. emergency rooms each year, with adults over 65 and young children most commonly injured in these accidents. Victims may sustain hip fractures, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, or soft tissue damage.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pools are also common accident sites. Property owners or possessors must post warning signs or ensure that their guests have proper supervision when swimming. Additionally, they must check to ensure that filters, drains, and even the pool’s lighting and heating systems function correctly to avoid injuries caused by entanglement or electrocution. They must properly enclose and cover their pools to protect children from entering the pool while unsupervised.
Public swimming pools, corporate pools like those in hotels, and private residential swimming pools could cause a premises liability accident. If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a Minnesota swimming pool, call our legal team to discuss your options.
Swimming pools are one example of property features that attract child trespassers to a property. Property owners generally do not owe adult trespassers a duty of care. However, property owners must protect child trespassers by securing unsafe property features, including abandoned vehicles or appliances, trampolines, treehouses, machinery, walls, tunnels, and dangerous animals. If a dangerous property feature hurt or killed your child, call us for help as soon as you can.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Moving parts on elevators and escalators can malfunction and injure guests at apartment complexes, hotels, malls, and other tall buildings. Although the number of deaths in the U.S. resulting from accidents on these apparatuses is relatively small (about 27 per year), mild to severe injuries are common.
Examples of injuries involving elevators include:
- Being hit by a closing door while entering an elevator
- Tripping on an improperly leveled elevator
- Becoming trapped in an elevator between floors
- Being jolted from an escalator and falling down the staircase if it stops suddenly
- Getting fingers or clothing caught in an escalator belt
Amusement Park Accidents
Minnesota is home to several amusement parks across the state, from Valleyfair to the Mall of America’s Nickelodeon Universe. Amusement park accidents are more common than people think, with around 30,000 people sustaining injuries on amusement park rides each year. Owners and operators of amusement parks must regularly inspect, maintain, and repair the rides to be as safe as possible for guests.
Although dog bites often happen at public parks, they are still a premises liability issue since the dog’s owner must properly secure their dog to prevent it from injuring others. When a dog bites someone, the victim can usually seek compensation from the dog owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
In Minnesota, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries that their animal causes to others, even if they have no previous knowledge that the animal was capable of being aggressive, as long as:
- The individual who the dog injured was lawfully on the premises.
- The person acted peacefully and did not take action to provoke the dog.
Fires or Flooding
If a fire or flooding injures someone and the property owner knew before the accident that it might occur and took no action to mitigate the risk, you may hold the property owner liable.
- Fires caused by faulty wiring leading
- Poorly maintained appliances
- Storing flammable materials on the property
- Failing to install smoke detectors or fire extinguishers
Additionally, landlords can be liable for injuries or deaths if they fail to provide exits that allow people to evacuate a building if a fire or flood occurs.
Property owners and possessors must also keep their guests safe from known criminal activity.
Standard safety measures that property owners use to secure their premises include:
- Burglar alarms on doors and windows
- Security cameras around the premises
- Security personnel who patrol commercial buildings or parking lots
When negligent security leads to an injury, the criminal who caused the injury can be held responsible. However, few people realize that the property may also be liable if they knew or had reason to know that criminal activity could occur in the area. To prove a negligent security claim, your lawyer will use evidence such as the number of times the police have visited the property, reports of other violent crimes on the property, and crime reports from similar areas.
Seeking Compensation After a Premises Liability Accident in Minnesota
As mentioned, property owners do not have a responsibility to protect adult trespassers from harm. However, they must inspect, repair, and warn of known hazards for social and business guests.
Suppose a property hazard injured you. In that case, you might seek compensation for your injuries through a premises liability claim, which is a type of personal injury claim. You or your lawyer file this claim against the property owner’s insurance policy. The claim details the incident that caused your injury, documents your expenses, and requests payment for the overall value of the claim.
Upon receiving this claim, the at-fault party’s insurance provider has three options:
- Accept the liability of their insured and pay the full value of the demand
- Deny liability and notify the claimant of the reason for the denial
- Offer to settle the claim out-of-court for a lesser amount
If the insurance provider offers a settlement, your Minnesota premises liability lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to convince the insurer to make a higher offer. However, if the insurance provider denies your claim or refuses to offer a fair settlement, your lawyer can file your claim in civil court as a premises liability lawsuit.
In Minnesota, the statute of limitations for filing a premises liability generally either six years, or two years from the date of the accident if the case involves defective design or construction resulting in the injury. However, this deadline has some exceptions, including a much shorter time to file a claim against a governmental agency and also . Speak with an experienced premises liability lawyer in your area to determine when you should file your claim.
To have a successful premises liability claim in Minnesota, you must be able to show who was legally responsible (liable) for the property condition that caused your injury. Liability generally resides with the individual or entity who owned or controlled the property when the accident occurred.
Some examples include:
- A homeowner or renter
- A commercial business owner
- A governmental agency tasked with maintaining and managing a property
- An individual or entity with temporary control of a premises, such as a cleaning company who failed to warn a business’ customers of wet or freshly waxed floors
To prove a premises liability claim, you must be able to show:
- The defendant was legally bound to the property through ownership, a lease, or an operating agreement.
- The defendant knew or had reason to know that there was a hazardous feature on the property and failed to take steps to mitigate the hazard.
- The property hazard injured the plaintiff, causing them expenses and losses.
Evidence that your lawyer can use to prove premises liability includes:
- Photos of the hazard
- An official report of the incident
- Previous reports of injuries resulting from the same hazard
- Eyewitness testimony
The Type of Compensation You Can Seek
Injured victims in Minnesota can seek compensation for their losses, such as:
- Medical expenses, including emergency treatment, ambulance transport, hospitalization, diagnostic tests, surgery, prescription medication, and assistive devices such as crutches or a wheelchair
- Expenses for physical therapy, rehabilitation, or even long-term care
- Wage loss for time missed from work due to injury.
- Loss of future earning capacity: If permanent disabilities prevent the victim from making the same income as before the accident, they can seek loss of future earning capacity.
- Property damage: For example, if a slip and fall accident victim also tore their clothing and broke their phone, they can seek compensation for repairing or replacing those items.
- Physical pain and suffering and emotional distress
How a Minnesota Premises Liability Lawyer Can Help You
Premises liability claims can be challenging for several reasons, including the legal knowledge required to understand the process, the evidence needed to prove your claim, and the ability to refute common defenses employed by the at-fault party's insurance provider. There are many loopholes that insurance companies use to avoid paying claims, including arguing that the at-fault party had no knowledge of the hazard or that the victim accepted the risk of their injuries.
An experienced Minnesota premises liability lawyer from Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers can help you navigate this complex process and fight for your right to compensation. For your free case evaluation, contact us online or call us at (612) 446-3999.
43 SE Main St
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Phone: (612) 446-3999