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It’s The Most Dangerous Time of the Year: Preventing Slip and Fall Accidents this Winter

Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common types of personal injury lawsuits. During wintertime, unsurprisingly, there seems to be a hike in these types of accidents, caused by icy or snowy conditions.

Slip and fall accidents are often considered relatively straightforward in terms of liability: the finger can usually be pointed at the owner or possessor of the building or land. Victims who have slipped, tripped and fallen as the result of the property owner’s negligence to heed certain precautions that would have prevented such an accident from occurring, may be entitled to financial compensation for their injuries. Below, we’ve outlined some of the common scenarios which often lead to slip and fall accidents, as well as rules regarding property owners’ rights and responsibilities to ensure their premise(s) are free of slip and fall hazards.

Ice or Snow Outside a Building

Generally, the Massachusetts law doesn’t require a property owner or property possessor to remove ice or snow that accumulates outside his or her building as the result of inclement weather. However, if conditions on the property cause an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow, the property owner may be liable for slip and fall accidents, including when:

– Ice accumulates on the roof and then melts and drips off because of a clogged drain, then refreezes on the ground,
– The surface of a parking lot causes melting ice to form puddles, and then refreeze into ice patches, resulting in slippery surfaces that may cause individuals to fall.
– If a property owner/possessor elects to provide snow or ice removal, he must not do so negligently.

Inadequate Outdoor Lighting

Failing to adequately light an outdoor area may also lead to slip and fall accidents, especially slip and falls in parking lots, trips over curbing, falls on a step or stairs from a parking lot to a store, and trips and falls due to holes, cracks, and uneven surfaces. When these types of situations occur, the property owner may be found liable if he or she knew or should have known of the poor lighting and failed to fix the problem.

Parking Lots

Parking lot and parking garage owners are responsible for maintaining the property so that it is reasonably safe for people to access it. This includes filling and patching cracks and holes and ensuring that differences in height from one section of the lot to another are gradual rather than abrupt.

Sidewalks

Generally speaking, a property owner is not liable for injuries sustained as the result of a slip and fall on a public sidewalk located outside his or her property (property that is owned and maintained by a city or town). In some cases however, an owner may be responsible if a victim sustained an injury on a private sidewalk used only by customers coming to and from the business.

SLIP & FALL ACCIDENTS

Slip, trip and fall accidents can happen anywhere and can result in painful or debilitating injuries, including serious bruising, broken bones, hip displacement, back and spinal cord injuries, and head and brain injuries. Most commonly, slip and fall accidents are the result of a property owner’s negligence: improper maintenance, uneven and damaged flooring or stair railing, a missing step, inadequate lighting, as well as liquid or debris on a floor.
Slip and fall cases fall under the area of premises liability; which means that the owner or manager of the premises is ultimately responsible for ensuring that there are no unsafe conditions on the property that pose a threat of injury to a resident, visitor, worker, or patron.

If you or a loved on was recently injured in a slip and fall accident, call one of the seasoned Premises Liability Attorneys at the law offices of Altman & Altman to discuss whether you may qualify for filing for damages against the property owner. Upon initial review of your case we will be able to determine whether your injury was the result of negligent property management. Our team of lawyers will work with accident reconstruction experts who can prove that your injuries were caused by the inadequate conditions on another party’s premise.

It is of the utmost importance that you contact an attorney immediately so that we are able to examine the accident site and collect any key evidence to begin establishing negligence. Though slip and fall accidents may not sound as serious as other kinds of personal injury accidents, the pain, the medical expenses, and recovery time can take a huge emotional and financial toll on the victim. With nearly 50 years of experience handling all types of personal injury, you can rest assured that our attorneys have the knowledge to examine every avenue possible so that you get the greatest financial compensation for your injury. Call our office today to set up an initial consultation with one of our attorneys today. All initial consultations are completely free of charge, and our attorneys are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help assist you with any questions you may have about your case.

To read more about Massachusetts laws about snow and ice, click here.