Articles Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents

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

Slip and fall accidents account for about 25% of all personal injury claims per year, and 15% of all accidental deaths per year. Slips, trips, and falls can happen anywhere, including in the home, outside, or on-the-job. The information below provides tips and guidelines for preventing slip and fall accidents at home and at work. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

Falls in the Bathroom

In the home, most slip and fall accidents occur in the bathroom and most victims are over the age of 65. Utilizing the following safety precautions can help reduce the risk of bathroom falls:

  • Remove all clutter from the floor, including hampers, trash cans, and rugs. Consider installing wall-to-wall carpet, or flooring with a non-slippery surface, such as textured tile.
  • Install grab-bars near the toilet and on the inside and outside of the bathtub or shower enclosure.
  • Replace a standard soaking tub with a walk-in shower, or install a bench that straddles the tub. This will make it much easier to get in and out of the tub safely.
  • Install an adhesive non-slip mat on the tub or shower floor.
  • For elderly individuals with difficulty getting on and off the toilet, consider installing a toilet riser.

Falls in the Restaurant

Of the nine million annual workplace slip and fall accidents, approximately four million occur in the foodservice industry. Spilled liquids, grease, dim lighting, and a chaotic, fast-paced environment all contribute to restaurant and kitchen falls. To reduce the risk of serious injury in a restaurant slip and fall accident, follow these safety guidelines:

  • Mats should be strategically placed throughout the kitchen and restaurant in places where they are most needed. For example, front doors, beverage and cooking stations, and areas near ice machines should always have a mat.
  • Choose the right mat for the job. High traction mats with sloped edges are necessary for high traffic areas. Low traction mats can curl and buckle, resulting in trips and falls.
  • Mats should be properly cleaned on a regular basis. Especially in commercial kitchens, mats can accumulate dirt, grease, and grime in a short period of time. In order to prevent slick mats, and the transfer of grime throughout the kitchen and restaurant, mats should be cleaned on a daily basis.
  • Clean up spills as soon as they happen, and walkways should be kept clear of clutter and debris at all times.

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Boston’s first snowfall of the 2015 / 2016 winter season has prompted the question – who is responsible for shoveling the sidewalks and walkways of rental properties? According to the city of Boston, landlords, not tenants, are responsible for shoveling the sidewalks. However, lease terminology and recent changes to a 125-year-old law have resulted in some confusion among landlords and renters alike. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

Facts and Figures – 

Boston Landlords Are Responsible for Snow and Ice Removal: If the landlord does not comply, the tenant can notify the city by dialing 311. The “Massachusetts Rule” law, which was in place for 125 years, permitted property owners to leave naturally accumulating snow on walkways without fear of liability. However, that law changed in 2010 and now landlords are responsible for keeping their property entirely free of dangerous snow or ice accumulation.

Transfer of Responsibility: Although it is the landlord’s responsibility to remove snow and ice from property walkways and sidewalks, it is not uncommon for this responsibility to be transferred to the tenant in the rental lease agreement. If the tenant signs off on this agreement, then he or she is responsible for removing snow and ice.

Owners Beware: But what if someone gets hurt? If someone suffers injuries after slipping on snow and ice, who is at fault? If the accident occurs on another’s property, the owner of that property can be held liable in any personal injury or property damage lawsuits. This is even true if the property is rented and the responsibility for snow and ice removal has been transferred to the tenant in the rental lease.

The Three Hour Rule: Once snowfall stops, property owners have three hours during which to clear the sidewalks. If the snowfall occurred overnight, the property owner has three hours after sunrise to complete this task. If snow is not cleared within that time frame, the property owner may face fines.

Avoid the Ambulance: Slip and falls account for over 1 million emergency room visits every year. According to the CDC, in 2005 more than 15,000 people age 65 and older died from slip and fall injuries. If you are a property owner, it is essential to keep walkways and sidewalks free of dangerous snow and ice accumulation at all times. Not only will this protect you from lawsuits, it may save lives. Continue reading

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, falling and fighting are the top causes of eye injuries requiring hospitalization. As the number one cause, falling was responsible for more than 8,425 hospitalizations over a 10-year period. Fights came in at a close second, resulting in nearly 8,000 hospitalizations. During that same time period, researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that the cost to treat eye injuries in hospitals spiked by 62 percent to more than $20,000 per injury. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

The Rising Cost of Eye Injuries

Johns Hopkins study: In response to the significant rise in costs, researchers at Johns Hopkins University set out to determine the most common causes of serious eye injuries, and their associated costs for hospitalization. Between 2002 and 2011, the researchers studied nearly 47,000 ocular trauma patients between the ages of 0 and 80. In addition to identifying the type and cause of injury and the associated cost, they also looked at length of hospital stay.

Serious ocular trauma injury: These largely preventable injuries have become extremely expensive to treat. Common eye injuries include orbital fractions and being pierced by a sharp object. Slip and fall accidents were blamed for 3,000 of the eye injuries reported during the 10-year period. “Unarmed fight or brawl” was cited as the second most common cause of eye injuries requiring hospitalization, but it the most common for individuals between the ages of 10 and 59.

Eye injuries in children: For kids under the age of 10, being accidentally struck by a person or object was the number one cause of ocular trauma. But there is also merit to the oft-shouted warning, “don’t run with scissors,” as the number two cause was being pierced by a sharp object, such as scissors.

The cost: Ophthalmologists studying the spike in healthcare costs for eye injuries are not yet certain of the cause. However, they did discover that costs tend to be higher for older patients and at large hospitals. The patient’s income does not appear to affect the cost. The median cost of treating eye injuries rose from $12,430 in 2002 to $20,116 in 2011. According to the study’s lead researcher, Christina Prescott, M.D., Ph.D., “It could be related to drug prices or administrative costs. Either way, it’s clear we need more targeted interventions to help reduce these types of injuries, many of which are preventable. Continue reading

Winter in Massachusetts can be harsh. Snow and ice can make roads and walkways dangerously slick. Property owners have a duty to take reasonable care when maintaining these areas, but multiple factors can influence this responsibility. For example, some property owners live out of state and pay a plow company to remove snow and ice. If the plow company fails to plow in time, and someone slips and falls on the property, who is at fault? Contact a Boston Injury Attorney Today.

Our Boston injury lawyers have decades of experience in handling slip and fall cases.  One of the first questions you need to ask if you fall and injure yourself on someone else’s property is did the property owner take the necessary steps to reasonably clear their property? We can help you sort this of question out. While homeowners have a responsibility to safely clear off their property, business have the same responsibility.

Slip and fall accidents most commonly occur in parking lots and sidewalks outside of businesses. In commercial settings, property owners often contract with outside companies to keep the property safe and in good condition. This is especially true with regard to snow and ice removal. However, customers and the general public are also expected to exercise reasonable care when walking or driving in an area that is obviously affected by snow or ice. For example, if a customer chooses to go shopping in the middle of a heavy snowstorm and he or she slips and falls in the parking lot, the success of recovery in a lawsuit is low. On the other hand, if a snowstorm ends in the early morning hours, and a customer slips and falls that evening because snow still hasn’t been removed from a walkway, the victim is more likely to obtain compensation for his or her injuries. Continue reading


The daughters of a man who sustained injuries in a Danvers, MA slip and fall accident in a Target parking lot will be getting $400,000 in personal injury compensation. Emanuel Papadopoulos was walking back to his car in 2002 when he fell on a patch of dirty ice in the parking lot and broke his hip.

He and his wife filed a Massachusetts premises liability case gainst Target and Weiss Landscaping Company, Incorporated. The latter was hired to get rid of the ice and snow in the lot. Their complaint was dismissed because of the then existing standard, which did not hold property owners liable for injuries involving ice and snow that had naturally accumulated.

It was this case that led to a change in the legal standard for proving negligence in Massachusetts slip and fall incidents where ice and snow are involved. In 2010 the Supreme Judicial Court went on to establish a new standard to hold premise owner accountable about clearing up such accumulations.

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A jury has awarded Brenda Alcala $1.2 million for her slip and fall accident on a sidewalk. The 54-year-old woman shattered her right ankle during the incident while staying at the Courtyard by Marriott Bettendorf. Alcala had to undergo two surgeries. She says that she now has arthritis in that ankle and limps. Alcala may need more surgery in the future.

Following her slip accident, Alcala filed a premises liability lawsuit against Courtyard Management Corp. and Marriott International Inc. Following deliberations, a jury found her 2% liable for her injuries.

Alcala said that because of the slip and fall accident, she had to change jobs and take a pay cut since she could no longer continuing traveling like she did when she was consulting for Genesis Health System. When filing her complaint, Alcala noted that her injury caused her to sustain significant future income loss.

A ruling issued by a federal appeals court in a wrongful death case on a cruise ship could pave the way for medical practice lawsuits for claims alleging negligent healthcare on these types of vessels. This could be significant for cruise ship passengers, who for the last century have been unable to pursue such allegations because of exemptions that have been created through a number of other court decisions. Some 21 million people go on cruises every year.

Now, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the last ruling, known as Barbetta, in 1988 is outdated. The decision in Barbetta determined that cruise ship passengers shouldn’t expect the type of medical care that they would get on land, and medical staff on cruise line vessels are private contractors and not ship employees.

This latest case involves a traumatic brain injury sustained by Pasquale Vaglio on a Royal Caribbean cruise in 2011. After the 82-year-old was involved in a fall accident during a sightseeing trip, a nurse performed a minor exam on him and ordered the older man to rest. Vaglio died from a brain injury days later.

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