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Minnesota Law Blog

MN high court ruling on ski case: Use common sense on the slopes

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Skiing and snowboarding are risky activities. As every participant in these winter sports can attest, even the most seasoned and cautious of athletes can get injured. Icy conditions, falls, errors in judgment, freak accidents - any number of factors can lead to serious or even life-threatening injuries.

For this reason, ski hills require participants to sign waivers before hitting the slopes. Skiers and snowboarders who get injured generally can't turn around and sue the ski hill for negligence.

Three things to know about winter chain-reaction crashes

AdobeStock_131430945.jpegWhen winter weather is at its worst, ice and snow can cause a spike in vehicle collisions and spin outs. During a snowstorm that recently hit the Twin Cities area, a 17-car pile-up shut down Interstate 694 between Vadnais Heights and Shoreview for at least an hour.

This incident did not cause any life-threatening injuries, although serious injuries are commonly caused by car crashes like this one. Additionally, crashes like this one can quickly become an insurance tangle. However, there are three considerations for drivers to keep in mind about winter chain-reaction crashes.

Tuberculosis outbreak hits Mankato State

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Once a widespread killer, tuberculosis has been reduced to a rarity in the United States, thanks to advances in antibiotics and infectious disease control. But it's still virulent overseas. And sometimes, it hits home.

A recent outbreak of the illness in southern Minnesota has been traced to Mankato State University. At least eight people associated with the university have come down with active infections, and another 30 have been identified as latent carriers (meaning they tested positive for it but haven't developed any symptoms and aren't contagious). The state Health Department is warning that anyone who has been on campus since August 2016 should pay attention to respiratory symptoms that could indicate an infection.

Are saunas good for you?

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Saunas are all the rage right now, especially in the Midwest. They're a welcome respite from the bone-chilling cold this time of year. After letting the dry heat penetrate to the core, the steamy plunge back into subfreezing temps is as invigorating as it gets.

Claims abound about the health benefits of saunas. The Finnish swear by them. And a German take on them - involving even more intense degrees of heat, steam and physical activity - has become popular locally.

What every Minnesota driver should know about black ice

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It's a little like carbon monoxide: You can't see it, can't smell it, can't taste it, but when it sneaks up on you, the results can be deadly.

Black ice is perhaps the most dreaded killer on wintry Minnesota roads. It's more dangerous than snow or slush. Despite its ominous sound, however, it's the subject of many misconceptions. Here's what every driver should know to stay safe in black-ice conditions.

Traumatic brain injuries in hockey: More common than you'd think

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It's one of Minnesota's most iconic sports. But it's not without risks.

Ice hockey is among the most dangerous team sports in terms of traumatic brain injuries. In fact, it ranks right up there with football for the highest rates of concussions, which a growing mountain of research has shown to cause serious long-term effects.

E. coli outbreak hits just in time for Thanksgiving

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Thinking of serving Caesar salad at your Thanksgiving table? You might want to rethink your menu - or at least go for a different type of green. For the second time this year, a widespread E. coli outbreak has led grocers across the country to pull romaine from the shelves.

The Star Tribune reports that 32 confirmed cases have arisen in 11 states. Though none are in Minnesota (yet), it's important to err on the side of safety when it comes to this potentially life-threatening illness - especially amongst those most vulnerable. Pregnant women, children and the elderly should steer well clear of potential contaminants. In an abundance of caution, the CDC is warning consumers to avoid romaine entirely.

How to prep your car for winter

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For better or worse, Minnesota is famous for its long winters. We are used to temperatures that dip well into the negative and double-digit snowfalls. Driving in a Minnesota winter is a unique challenge. Black ice and snow buildup make even the shortest commute interesting.

While we all must drive through winter, there are some things we can do to make the experience a little safer. By taking a few proactive steps, you can prepare for the worst that winter has to offer.

Six winter driving tips to keep you safe in snow

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The temperatures have dropped, and the first snowfall has gilded the ground. Winter seems to have officially arrived in Minnesota. With the holidays right around the corner, many Minnesotans are going to be on the roads traveling back and forth to holiday get-togethers.

Though most Minnesotans are used to driving in snow and ice, it never hurts to brush up on a few winter driving tips. Here are six ways to drive safer on snow and ice this winter.

Should penalties for distracted driving be harsher?

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We all know that drunk driving is bad. There's even a stigma to it. Sure, a single DUI might not derail a career, but repeat offenders - or those who cause serious injuries or death - are taken extremely seriously.

Distracted driving doesn't have that same stigma, even though studies have shown it to be just as deadly as driving drunk, contributing to a quarter of all crashes. Perhaps it's because we all do it to some extent. Yet some make a habit out of using their cellphones behind the wheel, and that's when the risk multiplies.

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