Slip and Fall / Trip and Fall Accidents
One of the most common personal injury lawsuits involves “slip and fall” injuries. According to the National Safety Council, over nine million disabling slip and fall injuries will occur this year in the United States. Thousands of this type of accident will occur in Massachusetts. Slip and fall injuries occur when someone slips, trips, or falls unusually because an area is unexpectedly wet, broken, cracked, or uneven. They may also occur when there are foreign, obstructive objects blocking a normally accessible walkway.
Slip and fall injuries are fought under property liability law. Property liability law dictates that if the owner of the premises fails to maintain a safe condition, he or she may be held liable for any injuries sustained as a result. Unsafe property may be as innocuous as black ice in a company parking lot or a cracked banister on a stairwell. Additionally, owner’s liability extends to more than just the physical building and surrounding areas. It is also applicable to any surrounding public sidewalks. Property liability law holds owners responsible for ensuring that nothing on the property could potentially lead to serious personal injury to any patron, client, or guest.
For many years, Massachusetts law regarding “slip and fall” injuries that occurred due to rain, snow, or other natural formations was unique in that it differentiated between “natural” and “unnatural” formations. Those who fell and sustained injuries due to natural formations were not able to collect damages from property owners. However, a ruling in 2010 changed the previous standard. Under the new ruling, property owners in Massachusetts can be held responsible regardless of whether or not the formations are “natural”. This is consistent with the widely used Connecticut Standard.
The victim of a slip and fall injury seeking damages under property liability law must prove three things to have a successful case. First, the victim must prove that the property owner caused the unsafe condition. Second, the victim must prove the property owner knew and willfully ignored the condition that caused the injury. Finally, a successful case will prove that the property owner should have known about the danger because a “reasonable” person would have recognized the problem and taken steps to prevent it. This is where Sheff Law attorneys come in to play.
If you or a loved one suffer from a slip and fall accident, it is important to remember the varying time limitations surrounding claims. Unpredictable Massachusetts weather poses a unique problem. Injuries from snow and ice require notification to the owner within thirty days of the accident. If the accident occurs on public property that is not a public way, the victim must submit a claim notice to the government within two years.
CHOOSING A QUALIFIED MASSACHUSETTS SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT LAWYER
Sheff Law has been helping and advocating for victims of slip and fall accidents for over six decades.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a slip and fall injury in Massachusetts, we are ready to help. Please fill out the form to the left, or call an attorney at Sheff Law at 617-227-7000 or 888-423-4477 (toll free) to schedule a free of charge initial consultation.