Massachusetts Slip & Fall Injuries
Slip & falls are a very common form of Personal Injury , which cause thousands of injuries every year. One wrong step on a slippery floor or broken stair can land an unassuming victim in a wheelchair, as a stumble over a manhole cover can cause anything from a broken leg to a permanent spinal cord injury. Free Case Evaluation
Premises liability is the law that governs slip and fall accidents and determines who is at fault. Premises liability laws vary depending on the state and the jurisdiction. It is important to recognize that there is no cut-and-dry way to determine fault in a slip and fall accident . Each premises liability case is evaluated on an individual basis and considers whether or not the property owner took precautions to make the area safe. Each case also determines whether or not the victim was careless, thereby contributing to the slip and fall accident. For example, a restaurateur is not necessarily liable should one fall on a wet floor in the restroom if, say, the area was marked clearly with a yellow "caution" sign. Below, information is provided about the general laws surrounding slip and fall personal injury accidents. Free Case Evaluation
When Is The Property Owner Liable?
In order for the property owner to be held accountable in the premises liability case, the victim must prove the following:
That the property owner caused the unsafe condition and the subsequent slip and fall accident (i.e. by spilling something and not cleaning it up, by digging a hard-to-spot hole in a heavily trafficked area, etc.)
That the property owner knew about the condition but did not try to correct it (i.e. by failing to post a sign on uneven ground, etc.)
That the property owner should have known about the danger because a "reasonable" person would have identified the problem and taken steps to prevent injuries caused by the potential slip and fall accident (this is the most common situation, since it is not clearly defined and is determined based on common sense)
What Is Considered “Reasonable”?
In order to establish whether or not a property owner's actions were reasonable, the court must consider how long the unsafe condition existed that contributed to the slip and fall accident. This, in turn, determines whether or not the property owner had time to discover and, ultimately, fix the problem. The court also must consider whether the steps taken by the property owner were appropriate, as well as whether the carelessness of the victim contributed to the slip and fall injury. Free Case Evaluation
Be aware, though, that the “reasonable” person standard applies not only to the property owner, but also to the victim. If the victim was somewhere s/he should not have been or was engaged in an inappropriate activity, the property owner may be absolved of any responsibility/premises liability. For example, if one wanders off marked paths or skateboards down stairs, s/he may bear responsibility for her/his own slip and fall accident. Likewise, if a “reasonable” person sees a spill, hole, or other problem and, therefore, could have avoided it, the victim's own carelessness may be at fault, instead of the property owner's supposed negligence. Free Case Evaluation
Should I Ask Any Questions When Determining Fault In A Slip & Fall Accident?
To help determine who is to blame for your slip and fall injury, ask yourself the following questions:
If you slipped on a spill in a mall, had it been there long enough that the property owner should have been aware of it?
Has the property owner instated a standard cleaning/maintenance schedule for the premises and, if so, can s/he offer proof?
If, for example, you tripped over a stack of boxes beside a shelf in a grocery store, was their placement necessary and reasonable? Could they have been placed in a safer and more convenient location? If not, could a proper barrier or warning sign have prevented the slip and fall accident?
Was the slip and fall accident caused, at least in part, by poor or dim lighting?
Did you have a valid reason to be at the site of the slip and fall accident?
Were you paying full attention to your surroundings at the time of the slip and fall accident?
Was the area properly labeled?
Could the “reasonable” person have avoided the slip and fall accident?
While these questions are important to consider, only a qualified personal injury lawyer, who specializes in premises liability, can help you most accurately determine whether or not you have a case.
Contact Iannella & Mummolo for a Free Slip & Fall Evaluation.
Special Situations that may affect your case:
Property owners are not necessarily subject to premises liability laws when trespassers become injured on their property. This also holds true for burglars and other uninvited guests.
Children are an exception to the trespassing law because often they do not perceive danger as well as adults. A property owner must take steps to ensure the safety of children who play in the area, even if they are not supposed to be there necessarily.
Currently, there are workers' compensation laws that hold employers strictly liable for most on-the-job injuries , including those resulting from slip and fall accidents. However, the injured can collect only a limited amount of damages. Free Case Evaluation
In cases of government property, such as public parks, the federal or state government may bear legal responsibility for personal injuries incurred on such premises . Slip and fall / premises liability cases against the government are covered by the Federal Tort Claims Act or similar state Tort Claims Acts. Cases must be brought forth within a certain time limit.
For more information regarding Massachusetts slip and fall cases or any other type of Massachusetts personal injury case, please feel free to call toll free at 1-800-278-1538 or fill out the Free Evaluation