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Articles Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents

Bill Waite was leaving a York, Pennsylvania shopping center when he tripped over an unmarked step, suffering serious injuries that left him blind. The unmarked step, which was located on an otherwise level walkway, may have resulted in the largest personal injury award in the county’s history. The property owner was found negligent due to the lack of signage alerting customers to the step.

According to the 80-year-old victim’s lawsuit, he had very little functional sight in his right eye before the incident. When he tripped over the step, Waite fell into a chair outside of a tattoo shop, striking his left eye. The accident left him effectively blind. Before the accident, Waite loved to spend time with his family and play golf. Now, Waite says, family gatherings are like “sitting in a dark closet listening to people on the outside.” A MA injury lawyer can help you proceed if you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident.

Waite, who was 80 years old when the fall occurred in 2012, declined to comment, saying only that he “wished the incident had never happened and he hoped the money would make life easier for his wife.” The reality is, slip and fall accidents among the elderly are relatively common. In some instances, falls are a result of physical ailments, not property owner negligence. However, the age of the victim doesn’t excuse a property owner from taking responsibility for foreseeable conditions on their property. If a property owner knows about, or should have known about, a dangerous condition, he or she may be liable if someone is injured as a result. Due to the lack of marking on the step that Waite tripped over, the property owner was found negligent.

Slip and Fall Accident Statistics

Slip and fall accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury lawsuits in the United States today. And they are one of the most dangerous types of accident. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a successful injury claim following a slip and fall accident.

  • More women experience work-related slip and fall accidents than their male counterparts.
  • Falls are the top cause of emergency department visits, accounting for more than eight million ER visits annually.
  • Fractures, which occur in about five percent of falls, are the most common serious injury suffered from slip and fall accidents.
  • Slip and fall accidents are the primary cause of missed work due to work-related injuries.
  • For workers age 55 and over, falls are the leading cause of occupational injury.
  • According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than two million annual slip and fall injuries are a direct result of floors and flooring materials.
  • Falls account for about 50 percent of all accidental deaths that occur in the home.
  • Falls are the second leading cause of fatal injury for people between the ages of 65 and 84, and the leading cause of fatal injury for people age 85 and over.

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Slip and fall accidents are among the most dangerous injury accidents in the United States. In fact, they account for about 15 percent of all accidental deaths, second only to motor vehicle crashes. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident in a store, a Boston injury attorney can help you determine who is liable for your injuries. Any business that openly welcomes the public onto its property has a duty to keep the property reasonably safe at all times. When injuries or property damages occur due to negligence, any number of parties may be liable – the property owner, the store owner, the property manager, or the lessee.

Examples of Injury Awards

Slip and fall accidents that occur on store properties are often the result of spilled liquids, cluttered walkways, poor lighting, or snow and ice accumulation in parking lots and on walkways. The following injury awards provide detailed examples of actual slip and fall accidents and the possible outcomes.

  • A woman injured her knee in a Home Depot parking lot when her shopping cart hit a manhole cover that was submerged in water. Despite Home Depot’s claim that the danger was obvious, the box store was found to be 95 percent at fault. The woman received an injury award of $950,000 from Home Depot.
  • In another case involving Home Depot, a man slipped and fell on an icy walkway leading into the store. The man suffered torn quadriceps as a result. Although Home Depot claimed that the area had been inspected only two hours before the incident, the home renovations giant was ordered to pay more than $159,000 to the man for his injuries.
  • In a third Home Depot slip and fall case, a Pennsylvania woman was awarded more than $44,000 after she slipped on an unknown substance in a Home Depot aisle. Her injuries sent her to the emergency department where she was treated for lower back pain.
  • A woman slipped on ice in a NY Walmart parking lot and was subsequently hit by a sheet of ice that fell from the roof above her. The accident resulted in a severe injury to her left arm. Walmart was ordered to pay the woman $600,000 for her arm injury, which required surgery to repair.
  • A woman injured her spine when an automatic entrance door at a Connecticut Walmart struck her in the back, knocking her to the floor. She was awarded more than $200,000 for her injuries. A MA injury attorney can help you determine if you have a legal claim following a slip and fall accident in a store.
  • While carrying a large package of paper towels, a 54-year old heart surgeon tripped over a trailer hitch in the parking lot of a Sam’s Club. When he fell to the ground, he suffered a severe spinal injury which subsequently ended his career. The surgeon received $3.96 million for his injuries.
  • When a woman slipped on liquid soap in a California Costco store, she shattered her kneecap, suffering partial loss of mobility. When evidence revealed that multiple employees had noticed the spill but failed to clean it up, the woman was awarded $400,000 for pain and suffering and medical expenses.

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If your negligent landlord has caused you physical injury or financial loss, you may be able to sue him or her to recover your losses. However, proving that negligence can be a complicated matter. In some cases, negligence is apparent. For example, if your landlord ignored multiple emails and phone calls about a propane smell in the home and a propane explosion occurred weeks later, proving negligence is likely to be a straightforward process. However, injury and property damage claims are rarely this cut and dried. A Boston injury attorney can help you determine if you have a successful personal injury claim.

Proving Landlord Negligence

If your landlord acted carelessly without regard for the consequences of his or her actions, and you were injured or suffered financial losses as a result, you may have a successful personal injury claim on your hands. When injury or property damage occurs on the property of another, the property owner may be found negligent under premises liability laws. To prove that your landlord’s actions caused your injury or property damage, the following conditions must exist:

  • The landlord owed a duty to you.
  • The landlord breached that duty.
  • The breach of duty caused the injury or property damage, and
  • An injury or property damage occurred.

In personal injury claims against landlords, the most common question is whether or not the landlord actually owed a duty to the injured person. What does that mean, exactly? Basically, a landlord generally has a duty to tenants and their guests. Landlords may even have a duty to the public if the public has access to common areas. The duty owed is generally to maintain the common areas in a safe and habitable condition at all times. For example, hazards such as live wires and broken steps should be remedied as soon as possible, railings should be secure, doors should open and lock properly, and there should be a plan in place for dealing with snow and ice. Consult with a MA injury lawyer if you’ve been harmed due to landlord negligence.

Was Notice Given?

Although remedying these hazards is a landlord’s responsibility, the landlord must have notice of the hazards in order to remove them. For example, if you are renting a house in New York and your landlord lives in California full time, how is she going to know when a formerly-intact step breaks? If you fall down that step and suffer injuries, can you sue? Well, if you never notified your landlord of the problem, your chances of success are limited. However, you may be in luck if you called and emailed your landlord for weeks, offering to pay for a renovation if she deducted it from your rent, but she failed to respond. There are some exceptions to the notice rule, however. For example, if the dangerous conditions were present before you moved in, it is possible that the landlord “should have known about” the conditions. Continue reading

Slip and fall accidents are the most common injury suffered at shopping malls. They can occur due to uneven pavement in parking lots, spills in food courts that haven’t been mopped up, and ice and snow on walkways. Shopping malls also have escalators, which can result in serious injuries if poorly-maintained. If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident at the mall, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

If you are injured in a slip and fall accident at the mall, you are likely to have two personal injury claims, one against the mall and one against the retail store you were in at the time of the incident. In a situation involving a retail store, you will file a claim against the store first, and the mall second. For example, if you are injured when you trip over an electrical wire in Old Navy, you will file the primary claim against Old Navy and the secondary claim against the mall in which Old Navy is located. If, however, your injury occurs in a common area, such as the food court, restroom, or parking lot, the claim will be against the mall alone. There is also the possibility that the mall brings in third parties to provide services such as  clean, provide maintenance, plow, and they too may be liable if the cause was their fault.

Who is Liable?

Accidents can happen to anyone, anywhere. Whether you’re injured in a slip and fall, a motor vehicle accident, or as a result of medical negligence, you may be wondering if you should file a Massachusetts personal injury claim. The information below can help you determine how to move forward. Step one is to consult with an experienced injury lawyer; without skilled counsel, your chances of success are limited. If you’ve been injured in any type of accident, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Did Negligence Play a Role in Your Injuries?

Simply defined, “negligence” is careless behavior that results in an accident. This accident can cause property damage, bodily injury, emotional trauma, or all three. If a store owner fails to wipe up a spill because she wanted to enjoy her cup of coffee, and a customer slips and falls, the store owner is likely to be found negligent, and thus, liable for any injuries suffered as a result.

But How Do You Prove Negligence?

In most injury cases, five elements must be present to prove another’s negligence. These are:

  • Duty: In the above example, the store owner had a duty to her customer. The customer didn’t require an invitation to enter the store or browse the aisles. The store was open to the public and the store owner should have reasonably expected that any customer could walk in at any time. On the other hand, if a homeowner fails to wipe up a spill on the kitchen floor and a thief breaks in and slips on the spill, the homeowner is not likely to be found liable as he or she owed no duty to the thief.
  • Breach of Duty: In the above example, the store owner breached her duty to the customer because she failed to act as a reasonable person would in fulfilling the duty owed to the customer.
  • Cause in Fact: Also known as the “but-for” test, this element of negligence shows that, but for the store owner’s actions, the customer would have avoided injury.
  • Proximate Cause: If the customer breaks a hip in the slip and fall accident, the customer will likely be awarded damages for this injury. If, however, the customer was unable to pick up her son from school that day due to the injury, and her son was injured in a bicycle accident on the way home from school, these injuries will be outside of the “proximate cause” of the defendant’s negligence. Even though the bicycle accident wouldn’t have occurred, but for the neglected spill, its proximity to the harms at issue does not qualify it to be part of the lawsuit.
  • Damages: Finally, without actual damages, you don’t have much of a lawsuit. If the customer slipped and fell in the spill, but suffered no injuries, the customer will experience no damages as a result of the accident. Damages can include pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and property damages.

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For anybody, but especially the elderly and the physically disabled, a simple slip or fall can result in horrendous pain, suffering and medical expenses. It is not uncommon for the elderly to fracture multiple bones after a slip or fall, and 818 workplace deaths were caused by slips and falls in 2014, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, one of the leading causes of death for American workers.  Many times, a slip or a fall is simply a tragic accident. Perhaps the floor hadn’t dried completely after cleaning, or there was a shoe left in the middle of a hallway or you simply lost your balance. These things happen, and hopefully you are covered by insurance or other means to get the medical treatment you need.

In other cases, however, your slip or fall may have been directly caused by the negligence of an employer, a property owner or a business. In these cases, where a tragic fall or slip could have been foreseen and prevented, you have a legal right to seek damages from the perpetrating party and they are fully, legally responsible for your pain, suffering and medical expenses that result from the incident.  If you have suffered from a slip and fall accident whether at work or as the result of someone’s negligence give us a call and speak to an experienced Boston injury lawyer to find out what rights you have and what benefits you may immediately be entitled to. 

Some responsibilities for preventing falls and slips on flooring include the following. If these steps are not taken, those who failed to maintain these precautions may be liable for your fall.

Slip and fall accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries and deaths annually. Although slipping and falling is more prevalent in Massachusetts during the winter – when roads and walkways tend to be covered in snow or ice – a variety of other conditions can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents. If you slipped or tripped due to a property owner’s negligence.

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

If a property owner’s failure to appropriately maintain his or her premises has caused you harm, you may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses. The conditions below are commonly cited in slip and fall lawsuits every year. If you have been injured in any type of accident, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.  Poor lighting: Inadequate lighting in parking lots, walkways, and in any type of building, can lead to slip and fall accidents. Poor lighting can result in falls down stairs, tripping over curbs, and tripping on uneven surfaces, ground cracks, and holes. As with any type of slip and fall injury, the owner is generally only liable if he or she knew about the problem – or should have known about the problem – and failed to fix it.

Parking lots: A parking lot should be properly maintained in such a way that it is consistently safe for all who use it. In addition to filling cracks and holes and fixing uneven surfaces, parking lot owners must keep lots clear of excessive snow and ice, with an exception for “natural accumulation”. See below for more information on natural accumulation.

Ice and snow: If snow is falling heavily for an extended period of time, it would be unreasonable for a property owner to have to keep parking lots and walkways entirely clear of snow. This is called natural accumulation – it should be managed, but doesn’t need to be cleared completely. Unnatural accumulation, however, is a different story altogether. For example, if heavy snowfall piles on the roof and later falls onto a walkway, partially blocking a doorway, a resulting slip and fall injury could be grounds for a lawsuit.

Sidewalks and walkways: Public sidewalks are generally the responsibility of a city or town. However, if you are injured in a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk outside of a business, the business may still be responsible. If the sidewalk is used exclusively by customers of a business, some courts may still impose liability on that business. And if the sidewalks or walkways are privately owned, the business owner will almost certainly be responsible if you are injured due to poor conditions. Continue reading

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, there are certain steps you can take to ensure a positive outcome in your case. Because falls can be embarrassing, we are often quick to dismiss another’s negligence and assume the fall was due to our own clumsiness. However, in many circumstances, dangerous conditions caused the injury. Whether it is a stairwell that may not have been properly maintained, a wet spot on the floor, an uneven doorway threshold, or any other improperly maintained surface, your fall may have been the result of the negligence of another person or company. Not every slip and fall accident results in a case.   It’s generally a good idea to speak to an experienced injury lawyer to fully understand your rights.

Following a slip and fall accident, you may be facing significant medical bills and lost wages from time off work. When another’s negligence caused your injuries, you may be entitled to compensation for expenses, including pain and suffering and lost wages. But how do you ensure your claim is successful? The tips below can help you recover the damages you’re entitled to after a slip and fall accident.

Slip and fall injuries account for about one million emergency department visits every year, and they are the number one cause of workers’ compensation claims. Even more frightening, about half of all accidental deaths in the home are the result of slip and fall accidents.

Evidence from the Scene of the Accident

Physical evidence from the scene of the accident is immensely helpful to the outcome of a slip and fall case. Slip and falls can happen as easily in someone else’s home as in a store parking lot or other place of business. It is the duty of the property owner, including homeowner’s, to maintain reasonably safe conditions for guests. If a dangerous condition was present and the property owner knew about it – or should have known about it – he or she may be liable for your injuries.

  • One of the most compelling pieces of evidence you can present is the clothing and shoes you were wearing at the time of the accident. This will allow you to show that your footwear was reasonable and appropriate, and that your clothing didn’t inhibit your movement or present the risk of falling.
  • It is also a good idea to document the scene of the fall through photographs and video, if possible. For example, if there was spilled liquid on the floor, or you tripped over clutter or debris, photograph these hazards.
  • Witness testimony is also helpful. If anyone was around at the time of your slip and fall accident, ask for their contact information. That way, if you need their account of what happened at a later date, you can follow up with them via phone or email.

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In Boston warmer winters often mean icy conditions. Melted snow or daytime rainfall collects in pools and puddles that may freeze when temps fall at night. Unfortunately, these icy surfaces can spell disaster, especially in public parking lots, when unsuspecting patrons or visitors walk to or from their vehicles. During mild weather, people are less likely to anticipate icy surfaces. The majority of a parking lot may be covered in melted water, but an area shaded by trees or a building’s shadow may be a sheet of ice. What are your rights if you slip and fall on an icy surface? Contact a Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Today.

Property owners are responsible for exercising reasonable care with regard to ice and snow removal. It is their duty to remove ice from public parking lots, sidewalks, and walkways. While the property owner doesn’t have to be the individual actually removing the ice and snow, he or she is still responsible for making sure it gets done. Many property owners contract with snow removal companies to keep their sidewalks and parking lots clear. However, if a third-party contractor doesn’t show up to remove ice, and a patron slips and falls, the property owner will most likely be liable for any injuries or property damage. That is, unless the property owner can prove that he or she exercised reasonable care.

What is Reasonable Care?

When it comes to snow and ice removal, reasonable care refers to what is reasonable to expect of a property owner. For example, if heavy freezing rain has been consistently falling for five hours, it is impossible to expect that a parking lot or sidewalk can be kept entirely free of ice accumulation. This is what is known as the ‘natural accumulation’ rule. As long as the property owner doesn’t interfere with the natural accumulation, he or she is generally in the right. However, once ice and / or snow accumulation subsides, it must be removed within a certain period of time.

Much of what is considered reasonable is dependent on where the ice and snowfall is occurring. What is reasonable in northern Florida, for example, is much different from what is reasonable in Boston. This is because members of the public also have a duty to exercise reasonable care when it comes to icy and snowy surfaces. If a patron drives into a parking lot in Florida, he or she is probably not expecting to step out onto an icy surface. However, if a patron drives into a Boston parking lot after several hours of freezing rain, he or she will be more inclined to assess the parking lot’s surface before stepping out of the car.

Document Everything

Weather conditions can change rapidly. An extremely icy surface at the time of the incident may be no more than a pool of mud when you return to take pictures. If you have a smartphone on you at the time of the accident, take as many pictures as possible. If there are any witnesses when you fall, ask for their contact information in case you need to reach them at a later date. Jot down any details you notice at the time of the accident; the time of day, contact info of witnesses, and any other circumstances or details that might be relevant. The more information, the better. Continue reading

Car accidents can result in a long list of expenses, such as property damage and medical bills. But the financial toll doesn’t always end there.  Pain and suffering, both physical and mental, can result in long-term complications, including anxiety, loss of enjoyment of life, and even the inability to return to work. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages for ‘pain and suffering.’ Contact a Boston Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer Today.

Multiplier Method Vs. Daily Rate Method

Following an auto accident, insurance companies use several methods to determine the value of an injury claim. These calculations typically include actual medical expenses, lost wages from time off work, and a certain amount for pain and suffering. There are two methods of calculating the compensable amount of a personal injury claim. They are:

  1. The Multiplier Method: used to be a common method of calculating pain and suffering damages, the actual damages are multiplied by a specific number, traditionally the number 3. For example, if the cost of your medical bills was $8,000, your pain and suffering damages would be $24,000. However, most insurance companies now use advanced software programs to determine the number that the damages will be multiplied by, and it’s rarely 3 these days. The designated number depends on multiple factors, including the severity of injuries, length of recovery, and aggravating circumstances. For example, the number designated to a case involving minor injuries in a fender bender will be significantly lower than for someone who has both legs broken in a serious car accident. The multiplier may be 1 in the first case and 4 in the second case. Aggravating circumstances, such as whether the at-fault driver was intoxicated, also come into play when determining pain and suffering compensation.
  1. The Daily Rate Method: Another method of calculating pain and suffering damages is one in which a specific amount of money is assigned to each day of suffering. Lost income is the most common base for determining the daily rate method. For example, if your average income is $150 per day, this will likely become the amount assigned to each day that you are unable to work. Therefore, if you miss 60 days of work, you would multiply $150 by 60 days to reach a figure of $9,000. Other costs can factor into that daily rate, but you have to be able to justify your reason for reaching a certain number. Simply saying, “My suffering is worth $300 a day,” won’t cut it.

Are You Likeable? Are You Credible?

Most personal injury lawyers will use a combination of these two methods to estimate what your requested damages should be. Once a ballpark figure is reached, you can adjust the figure based on multiple factors, including the severity of your injuries and any aggravating circumstances. Before moving forward with a claim for pain and suffering, it is important to consider the value of your claim. All of the following questions will play a significant role in the success of your claim: Continue reading