MINNEAPOLIS — During Minnesota winters ice can become unavoidable.
It's everywhere you look, but what happens when you slip and fall on the ice and get hurt, or someone else gets hurt on your property?
Who's liable? And who has to pay?
David Rochlin says it's a common request at his law firm.
"We get calls almost every day for slip and fall cases,” Rochlin says.
But rarely do those calls turn into cases.
"One out of every 20 or 30 calls we get probably are cases we can take."
That's because slip and fall cases are complicated.
"It's commonly thought that if you slip and fall, or you're injured on someone's property, the property owner is automatically responsible and unfortunately that's not true.”
Rochlin says the property owner is only responsible if they did something wrong, or failed to do something and that is open for interpretation.
He says an insurance company could argue the property owner didn't need to salt because the ice wasn't that bad, or the injured person should have seen the ice, or just by living in Minnesota you should assume that ice is everywhere.
"We hear that a lot. If you don't want to slip and fall move to Florida."
Rochlin says if you're a home or property owner almost every insurance policy covers slips and falls, so you're protected.
On the other side, he says people who are injured do have another option besides filing a lawsuit.
"If you need help with co-pays, or deductibles on your own health insurance, you can call the property owner, talk to their insurance, ask if they have medical payment coverage."
Rochlin says that money can only be used for medical bills and it's usually not much, but it's something.
And with half of the cases siding with the property owner, Rochlin says it might be the easier way to go.
He says Minnesota state law also states that home and property owners have a full 24 hours to clean up their property after it snows.
So, if a slip and fall injury happens before that time expires Rochlin says the injured person may not have a case.
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