Have you been injured in a slip and fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence? Contact a Massachusetts slip and fall lawyer at The Law Office of Louis S. Haskell for a free consultation and case evaluation. The Law Office of Louis S. Haskell has successfully represented thousands of accident victims and obtained exceptional results in a wide variety of injury cases including slip and fall.
Slip and Fall
Slip and falls are a major cause of injuries in theUnited States. Such injuries can be quite serious and may worsen over time. Often these injuries are caused by a defect, such as a loose railing or defective step, or a hazardous condition, such as a wet floor, or the proverbial discarded banana peel, on someone’s property.
- Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur? Slip and fall accidents occur virtually everywhere – at a supermarket or shopping mall; at a Home Depot or at an office; or at your, or someone else’s apartment. Your slip and fall may be caused, for example, by a defect in flooring, which may be wet or uneven, or it may be attributable to inadequate lighting or a missing railing. Here inNew England, such falls commonly occur in parking lots and on walkways that have not been properly plowed, shoveled or sanded after a snowstorm. If you have heard that the ice or snow must be from an “unnatural accumulation”, do not worry. OurSupreme Judicial Court has abolished this requirement.
What is the Difference Between a Slip and Fall and a Trip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents occur when either your foot slips forward causing you to fall backward or your rear foot slips backward causing you to fall forward. With a trip and fall your foot does not slip at all, but instead comes in contact with an obstacle which instantly stops its progress causing you to fall The traumatic impact of a slip and fall or a trip and fall accident can cause serious and long lasting injuries. Therefore, if you suffer a slip and fall or a trip and fall, you should seek medical and legal help right away.
A Property Owner’s Duty to Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents
The law requires that property owners use reasonable care in the management and maintenance of their premises and avoid exposing others to an unreasonable risk of harm, such as a slip and fall or a trip and fall. Therefore, property owners have a duty to inspect their premises and repair or give adequate warning of conditions that pose a risk of harm to others. In addition,Massachusetts has Building Codes and Housing Codes, which impose duties on property owners to maintain their premises in a certain manner. Premises liability may be imposed upon property owners who do not keep their property up to code.
The victim of a slip and fall must prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the slip and fall accident, but failed to remedy it. If the property owner, or any of its employees, created the dangerous condition that caused the slip and fall injury, knowledge of the hazard may be automatically imputed to them. Also, if the hazard is common to that type of business, such as a grape on the floor of the produce section of a grocery store, knowledge of the condition may be presumed. Otherwise, the claimant must show that there was time enough for the property owner to have discovered and repaired the dangerous condition.
In some instances, a property owner may have a duty to post warnings of a danger (such as “wet floor” signs), but these warnings must be clearly visible in order to be deemed sufficient.
Choosing the RightMassachusettsSlip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall cases are usually difficult to prove. A slip and fall attorney must prove the existence of a dangerous condition, and the property owner’s actual or constructive knowledge of that condition, and the unreasonableness of the property owner’s failure to correct a worn of the defect. An experiencedMassachusettstrip and fall attorney would initiate an immediate investigation, which may include:
- Conducting a site inspection to ascertain the dangerous condition that caused the slip and fall accident;
- Securing evidence of the dangerous condition before it “disappears”;
- Tracking down witnesses to the slip and fall accident or with knowledge of the dangerous condition;
- Locating proof of prior complaints about the dangerous condition or of prior slip and fall accidents at the same location.
What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall Accident?
- Seek Medical Help for Your Slip and Fall Injuries. If you suffer a slip and fall or a trip and fall, seek immediate medical attention for your injuries. In the case of severe or immediate injuries, an ambulance should be summoned for emergency transport to a hospital. Severe injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident may not manifest themselves for some days or even weeks, making it all the more important that you be examined by a medical provider without delay.
- Determine the Hazard That Caused Your Slip and Fall. Take Photos. In order to have a viable slip and fall (or trip and fall) claim, it is necessary to identify the dangerous condition or hazard that caused you to fall. Time is of the essence in preserving the evidence at the site of your fall. Therefore, do what you can to take photos. If you have a camera with you (your cell phone will do), take pictures, or ask someone at, especially if you have someone with you to take photos of the scene.
- Report the Slip and Fall Accident. If you suffer your slip and fall injury in any commercial establishment, such as, a supermarket, an office building or a mall, you should report the slip and fall accident to management there and then. It is very important to document your slip and fall accident in this way. Incident reports contain useful information about the accident, and make it much easier to investigate the case Also, incident reports help establish that the slip and fall accident actually occurred, preventing a property owner from later claiming that the incident never took place. In addition, many commercial establishments have video cameras on-site. If you report the fall, and the video is then destroyed, you may be entitled to a legal presumption or to argue that the video would have helped your case.
- Contact a Reputable Massachusetts Trip and Fall Attorney. Time is of the essence after a slip and fall (or a trip and fall) accident, so you should protect your rights by immediately contacting a reputable slip and fall attorney. A prompt investigation is vital to a successful slip and fall claim. In many instances, the hazard that caused the slip and fall may be a temporary one (such as a loose railing) and may be fixed up quickly. However, the store may have video recorded your fall. This video may get recorded over if the proper steps are not taken quickly. An experienced slip and fall attorney will initiate the proper steps to preserve evidence, identify and locate witnesses, and assist you in obtaining the necessary medical care. He will also protect against complicated filing and notice deadlines, which for some slip and fall claims may be as short as thirty days or as long as three years. Failure to meet these deadlines may mean that any claim for compensation that you may have for your slip and fall injuries is lost forever.
Who Is Responsible for Your Slip and Fall?
- Property owners, operators, and managers – whether they are individuals or business entities – may be liable for your slip and fall. A knowledgeable slip and fall attorney can locate the owners of any given property by checking the appropriate government records, including tax rolls and Registries of Deeds.
- Some owners and operators who bear responsibility for your slip and fall may not be as obvious. They may, for instance, include service providers – such as snow removal companies and janitorial companies – on the property in question. A slip and fall on icy sidewalk could impose liability on a number of different parties. .
- Damages You May Recover for Suffering a Slip and Fall
- If your slip and fall accident was the result of negligence on the part of a property owner or manager, or of an employee or contractor performing work on the property, then you would be able to recover compensation for:
- pain and suffering;
- medical bills for past and future care;
- lost wages; and
- any reduction in your earning capacity.
- Scarring and disfigurement.
- Loss of function of any bodily organ or appendage.
- Although punitive damages are uncommon in slip and fall cases, we do have a consumer protection statute inMassachusetts, M.G.L. Ch. 93A, which may provide for triple damages and attorney’s fees in particularly egregious cases, such as knowing building code violations.
In having handled numerous slip and fall and trip and fall cases, The Law Office of Louis S. Haskell has developed an expertise in such cases and has secured sizeable recoveries for clients hurt in slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. The Law Office of Louis S. Haskell has both substantial experience and the resources to best handle your slip and fall or trip and fall case. For a free evaluation of a slip and fall or trip and fall case, please call us at [number type=”1″] or e-mail us.