Snow and Ice, Slip and Fall Injury Attorneys in Boston
Winter weather, especially in the greater Boston area, can be brutal. As a homeowner, you need to keep your driveway and sidewalks free of snow and ice. As a driver, you have to dig out your car after every snowstorm and navigate treacherous snow- and ice-covered roadways. Snow and ice can make everything more difficult, even walking.
Consider this fact: According to data from the National Safety Council, falls comprise almost one-third of all non-fatal injuries in the United States.
Whether you’re walking in a store parking lot while running errands or down the street to catch the bus, a slip-and-fall accident on a snowy or icy surface can turn your life upside down. Older adults are even more at risk and can suffer devastating and sometimes fatal injuries.
There’s the injury itself such as a broken bone or dislocated shoulder or maybe something even more serious like a traumatic brain injury. You’re laid up and in pain and not able to work. Add in mounting bills for hospital stays, surgeries, doctor appointments, x-rays and other diagnostic tests, prescription medication, therapy and rehabilitation.
A fall can impact a person for a lifetime, or even lead to death.Who Can You Turn to For Help?
If you’ve suffered a snow and ice slip and fall injury or trip and fall injury, you owe it to yourself to contact a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney in Boston. It doesn’t matter if you’ve slipped and fallen on a sidewalk, parking lot, stairway or other slick, icy surface. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have experience dealing with all types of personal injury claims and obtaining maximum compensation for their clients.
An aggressive, seasoned personal injury attorney will fight for you and make sure you receive full compensation for your injuries, lost wages and pain and suffering.Types of Injuries
Here’s a list of some common injuries that result from falls on snow and ice:
- Broken bones
- Sprains, including ankle and wrist sprains
- Knee injuries
- Muscle strains
- Joint dislocations, including shoulder dislocations
- Back and spine injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Cuts and bruises
Older adults are especially vulnerable when it comes to slip-and-fall accidents. Adults age 65 and older are more likely to have vision, strength and balance problems, which heighten their risk for slipping and falling. Add a hard, slick, icy surface, and the end result can be dangerous and even deadly.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
The CDC also reports that:
- More than one in four older adults falls every year and less than half tell their doctor.
- 3 million older adults are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries caused by falls.
- More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized each year because of fall injuries, most often because they have suffered a head injury or hip fracture.
- Towns have the authority to create bylaws with regard to snow and ice on buildings and sidewalks. (MGL c. 40, § 21 (2), (3), and (4))
- A county, city, or town is not liable for injury or damage from snow or ice on a public way if the property where the accident happened was otherwise reasonably safe and convenient for travelers. (MGL c. 84, § 17)
- An individual has 30 days to notify the county, city or town of injury or damage from snow or ice on a public way. (MGL c. 84, §§ 18-20)
- An individual has 30 days to notify the owner of private property of injury or damage from snow or ice on their premises. (MGL c. 84, § 21)
- Cities and towns have the authority to require removal of snow and ice from sidewalks and enact penalties for violators. (MGL c. 85, § 5)
See Massachusetts law about snow and ice for a compilation of laws, regulations and cases regarding legal responsibilities for snow and ice.Key Case
The case that changed the standard for how snow and ice slip and fall cases in Massachusetts are evaluated is the 2010 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case of Papadopoulos v. Target, 457 Mass. 368.
The case involves a man who slipped and fell on ice while walking in a Target parking lot in Danvers. A plow had cleared the parking lot and mounded up snow on a median. The ice that caused the slip and fall had either fallen from the snow pile or formed when snow from the pile melted and ran off the pile.
The man sued both Target and the snow removal company the store had hired to clear the parking lot.
Before Papadopoulos, property owners in Massachusetts were not liable for injuries caused by “natural” accumulations of ice and snow on the owner’s property.
However, in Papadopoulos, the state’s highest court ruled that all property owners must “act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances,” regardless of whether the property defect is caused by a “natural” or “unnatural” danger or accumulation of snow or ice.
“If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property, whether arising from an accumulation of snow or ice, rust on a railing, or a discarded banana peel, the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect against the danger,” the court said.
A snow and ice slip and fall attorney will help you determine whether the owner of the property where you fell knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and made “reasonable efforts” to safeguard you from the danger. An experienced personal injury attorney in Boston will investigate your case and make sure you are compensated for your snow- and ice-related injuries.
You can read the court’s opinion in Papadopoulos here.Steps to Take After a Slip-and-Fall Accident
You’ve slipped on an icy patch and fallen. You’re scared and not sure about the extent of your injuries. What should you do now?
If possible, use your cellphone to take pictures of the accident site, including the snow and ice that caused you to slip and fall. Since snow and ice melt or could be cleared or otherwise removed by a plowing company or other contractor, it’s important to document the dangerous condition while you can.
Take pictures of your injuries, too. If there are any witnesses, ask them for their contact information.
Seek medical care, even if your injuries appear to be minor in nature. You might not realize the severity of your injuries until weeks or even months after the accident. By obtaining medical treatment, you’re also documenting that your injuries were caused by the slip-and-fall accident. Well-documented medical evidence is crucial to economic recovery.
Report the accident to the store or property owner in a timely manner. You have 30 days to do so under Massachusetts law. Make sure your communications with the store or property owner are minimal and refrain from posting details about your accident on social media. You don’t want to say anything or take any actions that could jeopardize your case.
Consult with a seasoned snow and ice slip and fall injury attorney in Boston. An experienced lawyer will evaluate your case and protect your rights under the law.Obtain Prompt Legal Advice
It’s imperative that you meet with a personal injury and premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. These cases are time-sensitive, and an attorney will ensure that you abide by all applicable deadlines.
In addition, snow and ice slip, trip and fall, and premises liability cases are complex. An attorney will negotiate on your behalf with any insurance companies involved and help you identify all potentially liable parties. Responsible parties could include a store or business owner, homeowner, landlord, employer or contractor hired to clear away snow and ice. An aggressive personal injury lawyer will make sure you obtain the maximum amount of compensation to which you are entitled, for medical care, lost wages, rehabilitation, therapy and more.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman has successfully handled snow and ice slip and fall, trip and fall, and premises liability cases on behalf of individuals in Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Lawrence and other areas of Massachusetts.