With winters come slippery sidewalks and parking lots. Of course, for homeowners in Massachusetts, this presents a problem. If one isn’t careful walking on such surfaces, injury is just around the corner. But what happens if a stranger slips and falls and gets injured on private property? Can that stranger sue? Well, that depends on various things.
Today, let’s discuss slip-and-fall incidents in Massachusetts and what you should know about them:
Can One Sue If They Slip and Fall on Ice in Massachusetts?
If you slip and fall on ice in the state, you may be able to sue the responsible party for your injuries. To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, you will need to prove that the other party was negligent in their duty to keep the premises safe.
There are a few different ways to show that the other party was negligent:
1. They Knew or Should Have Known about the Dangerous Condition and Failed to Fix It
To prove that the other party knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, you will need to show that they had ample time to fix the problem but did not do so. For example, if you slip and fall on ice that has been on the ground for several hours, the property owner may be liable if they knew about the ice and did not take steps to fix the problem.
2. They Created the Dangerous Condition
To prove that the other party created the dangerous condition, you will need to show that they did something that directly led to the formation of the ice. For example, if you slip and fall on ice that was created by the property owner watering down the sidewalk, they may be liable for your injuries.
3. They Failed to Warn People about the Dangerous Condition
Finally, to prove that the other party failed to warn people about the dangerous condition, you will need to show that they knew about the hazard but did not take steps to warn people about it. For example, if you slip and fall on ice that the property owner knew was there but did not put up a warning sign, they may be liable for your injuries.
Is an Attorney Needed?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the injuries, the insurance coverage of the parties involved, and the state in which the accident occurred.
In Massachusetts, slip and fall cases are governed by the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act. The Act sets forth certain requirements that must be met in order for a plaintiff to successfully bring a claim. For example, the plaintiff must give written notice to the state or municipality within which the accident occurred within six months of the accident.
Additionally, the plaintiff must prove that the state or municipality knew or should have known of the dangerous condition that caused the accident and that the dangerous condition was a “proximate cause” of the accident. A proximate cause is a legal cause that is “closely connected” to the accident, and that is a “substantial factor” in causing the accident.
If the plaintiff can meet these requirements, the state or municipality may be liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. However, there are a number of defenses that the state or municipality may assert, including the plaintiff’s own negligence. Because of the complex nature of slip-and-fall cases, it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process!
While accidents can, unfortunately, happen to you, this doesn’t mean you cannot get compensated for it. If you’ve been in a slip-and-fall incident on someone else’s property due to ice, you may be compensated for your injury. Always be sure to act quickly and reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. This way, if possible, they can assist you in getting the compensation that you deserve to ensure you do not have to worry about the financial side of things while you are busy recovering.
Bellotti Law Group, P.C. is a leading personal injury law firm in Boston, offering assistance to those seeking compensation for their injuries. If you are seeking a personal injury lawyer to help with your slip-and-fall case, reach out to for a free consultation us today!