Slip & Fall Accidents FAQ
1. What are the common slip and falls accidents?
Common types of slip and fall accidents occur when a person slips and falls on a foreign substance or snow and ice.
2. Can I receive compensation from a property owner if I slipped and fell and was injured?
Massachusetts law states that where a foreign substance on a floor or stairway causes a person lawfully on the premises to fall and sustain injuries, that person may prove negligence on the property owner in one of the following three methods:
- A person may show that the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative negligently caused the substance to be there or may show that the property owner or its employee, agent or representative had actual knowledge of the existence of the foreign substance and failed to use due care to remove it or make the area reasonably safe;
- A person may establish the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative negligence by showing that the foreign substance was present on the premises for such a length of time that the defendant should have known about it and taken steps to make the area reasonably safe. The property owner or its employee, agent, or representative owes the injured person a duty of reasonable care to discover any unsafe conditions on their premises. The length of time allowed to the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative is governed by the circumstances of each case and to a large extent depends on the opportunity for discovery open to the property owner employees by reason of their number, their physical proximity to the condition in question, and in general, the likelihood that they would become aware of the condition in the normal performance of their duties.
- A person may show that the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative’s chosen mode of operation makes it reasonably foreseeable that a dangerous condition will occur. In that event, the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative may be held liable if the person proves that the property owner or its employee, agent, or representative failed to take all reasonable precautions necessary to protect customers and others even if they were authorized to be on the premises.
3. Can I receive compensation from a property owner if I slipped and fell on Snow and Ice?
Massachusetts court has held a property owner liable for snow and ice injuries when: a property owner knows or reasonably should have known of a dangerous condition on its property arising from an accumulation of snow or ice, the property owners owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger.
A person needs to determine what snow and ice removal efforts are reasonable in light of the expense they impose on the landowner and the probability and seriousness of the foreseeable harm to others. The snow removal reasonably expected of a property owner will depend on the amount of foot traffic to be anticipated on the property, the magnitude of the risk reasonably feared, and the burden and expense of the ice removal. Therefore, while an owner of a single-family home, an apartment complex, a store, or a nursing home operator each owe lawful visitors to their property a duty of reasonable care, what constitutes reasonable snow removal may vary among them.
4. What types of damages can I recover?
Damages include, but are not limited to payment for pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and economic loss.
5. How long do I have to bring a claim or file a lawsuit against the responsible party?
Generally, there is a three-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit against the responsible parties, with limited exceptions. Which means, if you do not file a complaint in court against the proper party(ies), you will never be able to recover monies from them or their insurance company for your injuries. However, if the action is against the Commonwealth or a city and town, there are strict time-sensitive notice requirements that must be made long before the three-year statute of limitations. There are also many different notice and time requirements that may apply depending on the type of claim or the responsible party.
Also, there is a 30-day notice requirement in Massachusetts for injuries sustained on snow and ice. If a party does not give the proper notice to the proper individuals within that time and if the responsible party proves that they were prejudiced because of that, your claim can be denied.
That is why it is critical to contact us immediately after any slip and fall accident. Also, most of the time, we can resolve the claim with the responsible party’s insurance company long before the statute of limitations expires or the need to even file a lawsuit.
Let us show you what our knowledge, experience, and skills can do for you or your loved one. Your slip and fall case will always be our top priority. Call or contact us today!