Minneapolis Metro Personal Injury Law Blog

Proposed policy improvements aimed at negligent property owners

Throughout several areas of Minneapolis, the need for housing often forces tenants to choose between personal safety and affordability. Many lower income tenants refrain from complaining about negligent property owners in order to keep a roof over their heads. However, proposed revisions of the Code of Ordinances may bring relief to those most in need of improved living conditions.

Minneapolis officials are contemplating a policy called Renter-First that would emphasis the needs of tenants. It is in answer to the concerns of many lower income renters who are fearful of violating rules if they speak up about serious concerns. One council member from Ward 3 spoke of his own experiences when renting as a sublease holder. Because subleasing was prohibited he was unable to bring serious fire code violations to the attention of city officials out of fear of losing a place to live.

Tips to survive the rest of the winter without an accident

This year’s winter has been especially nasty in Minnesota, with some areas dropping near -60 degrees F. That’s not far off from the United States’ lowest recorded temperature of all time at -80 F in Alaska of 1971.

If your car breaks down or you get into an accident at these temperatures, the situation could be deadly. Since Minnesota winters have been known to stretch all the way into May, it’s a good idea to winter-proof your car now if you haven’t already. Here are a few ways to get started.

Pedestrian accidents highest among Native American population

Discussions involving Minnesota frequently mention cold winters and one of the largest state fairs in the country. However, the state is also home to nearly a dozen Indian reservations. While these areas are often associated with casinos and various outdoor recreations, they are also the population with the highest number of serious pedestrian accidents.

The results of a recent study concluded that residents on reservations are at a high risk of suffering injuries due to car accidents. It is a serious public safety issue that has gone without widespread recognition. One of the reasons is attributed to a combination of residents resorting to walking as the most popular form of transportation, and the presence of major thoroughfares that run through reservation lands. The study was conducted by researchers for the Roadway Safety Institute, which is comprised of several universities in the Midwest that focus on traffic safety concerns.

Winter weather and ice formation can cause hazardous conditions

Those who live in Minnesota are experienced with the unpleasant conditions that accompany the long, cold winters. While most property owners and tenants are well-versed in the chore of removing snow and ice from their sidewalks and driveways, icy formations overhead may not merit as much of their attention. However, as one local family recently discovered, melting and refreezing icicles can create extremely hazardous conditions.

According to the report, the family had been enjoying a birthday celebration that was held in downtown Minneapolis. After the festivities, they returned to their vehicle that was parked near one of the city's covered skyways. As the parents were securing the younger children in their car seats, their 10-year-old boy was standing by the car. Without warning, the child was struck in the head by a large icicle that had fallen from the skyway.

Recent study of car accidents highlights need for improvements

Minneapolis City Council members were recently informed of the results of a traffic safety study that was conducted in parts of the city. While the study pointed out sections of the metropolitan area where many car accidents involving pedestrians and bicycles have occurred, there were concerns that other areas were not appropriately addressed. City officials stated that more work needs to be done.

The study was conducted as part of the Vision Zero Initiative that is focused on improving the safety of residents and visitors to the Minneapolis area. The group is working on finding ways to reduce the number of crashes to zero in the years ahead. While some of the highlighted targeted areas are well known for contributing to several serious and fatal crashes, there were other roadways that were not included in the data, as no serious crashes have yet occurred, though there have been several near-accidents.

Minnesota may finally try to curb distracted driving accidents

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 25 percent of fatal accidents can be attributed to negligent motorists. In spite of a bill being presented every year for the past several sessions, lawmakers have failed put the brakes on distracted driving accidents. This year, there is hope that lawmakers will take definitive steps to outlaw handheld devices while driving.

Approximately 11 teenagers die in the United States every day due to texting while driving. In spite of this grim statistic, only 16 states have passed measures that ban drivers from using any electronic devices while driving. Minnesota has a law that bans texting and driving, but many say this does not go far enough. The current bill that has been presented to the state legislature calls for a complete ban on all hand-held devices.

7 Tips to become a better city driver

For Minnesota residents who tend to stick to the suburbs, taking a trip to St. Paul or Minneapolis can quickly become confusing. City drivers are liable to face cross-streets that split 6 ways, plenty of pedestrians and one-way streets.

If you aren't suspecting these sudden traffic changes, one wrong move could easily endanger yourself and others. Here are a few tips to keep you on your toes while driving in an unfamiliar city.

Metro Area of Minneapolis reports several pedestrian accidents

The majority of residents and visitors to large metropolitan areas, such as Minneapolis, likely do not view walking as a life-changing decision. Unfortunately, for several families, an innocent walk has turned into a devastating event that has left victims and survivors with shattered lives. Over a three-day span, four victims have been killed in pedestrian accidents, and one woman has suffered extensive injuries.

According to officials, the first fatal incident occurred on a recent Thursday evening, as two residents in their 40s were taking a stroll. They were struck by a 72-year-old man driving a pick up. While that driver did remain on the scene and is cooperating with police, at least one of the victims was struck by a second vehicle that fled the scene. That second driver was later identified and arrested a few days later as he was leaving a local establishment. 

Minnesota troopers out in force to stop drunk drivers

No matter the holiday, special occasions often mean that people will gather with family and friends to celebrate with parties that include alcohol. Though it is common knowledge that drinking and driving do not mix well, there is no shortage of Minnesota families who have lost loved ones due to the negligent decisions of drunk drivers. In an effort to reduce the number of lives lost, troopers plan to increase their presence along the state's roads.

Recently, one state trooper shared his experience over the Christmas holiday last year. As he was stopped at a red traffic signal, he looked in his mirror to see another vehicle approaching. He reported that, the next moment, his patrol car was struck forcefully in the rear. As he exited his vehicle, the other motorist purportedly questioned why the officer's car was not moving. At that time, the trooper observed that the driver who struck him was intoxicated.

K-9 officers who break training can inflict serious dog bites

Police departments across the country often proudly announce when they acquire a new canine officer. Though much time and money is spent training these animals, they can prove to be a liability, especially when they break training. There have been several incidents in the Minneapolis area involving innocent victims suffering serious wounds from dog bites inflicted by canine officers.

The majority of canine officers are a valuable resource for police departments in tracking down and preventing persons of interest from evading officials. Unfortunately, even the most thoroughly trained dog is capable of breaking its training. Handlers may also facilitate bad habits by not keeping their partners under control or correcting troublesome behavior. Some professionals in canine behavior claim that these dogs pose an inherent risk to public safety based on the nature of the dogs that are selected for use as law enforcement canines.


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