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.
In the first example, it is unreasonable to expect a property owner to keep parking lots free of snow in the midst of a snowstorm. In the second example, it is reasonable to expect the property owner to remove snow from walkways and driving areas once the snowfall has subsided. ‘Reasonableness’ is also impacted by where the slip and fall occurred. What is reasonable in New England is different from what is reasonable in North Carolina, for example.
Who is Liable?
If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related expenses. In order to recover these funds, the victim will sue the property owner for negligence. However, in some cases, it will be more appropriate to sue the contractor who was tasked with removing snow and ice. In order to successfully pursue compensation, it is vital to thoroughly document as much as possible about the accident. For starters, take photos of the area where you fell. Use your smartphone to take pictures of the icy or snowy surface. Take pictures of injuries, caution signs or lack thereof, and the surrounding area. Also be sure to document the time of the fall. Sidewalks and roadways are typically cleared at specific intervals throughout the day. If, for example, the sidewalk was supposed to be cleared at 9 am, but your fall occurred at 9:15, the timing will be relevant when trying to prove exactly who is at fault. Write down as much information as possible at the time of the accident. Ask any witnesses for their contact information in case you need additional information in the future.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Boston’s Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents can result in debilitating injuries and chronic pain. However, proving who is at fault can be a daunting task. In addition, there are special rules if a slip and fall accident occurs on government property. In these cases, you may need to navigate the complexities of governmental immunity if you wish to file a lawsuit. In any type of slip and fall case, the help of a skilled personal injury attorney is essential to a favorable outcome. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we have been fighting for the rights of accident and injury victims for nearly 50 years. It is our goal to make the process as smooth and quick as possible, and to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.