Boston Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall accidents are issues dealing with premises liability law. Under these laws, the owner or occupant of a property could be held liable for accidents on the premises. While many defendants are owners of the property in question, it is also possible to sue renters and tenants. Not every slip and fall is the same, and the nature of your lawsuit will depend heavily on your relationship with the defendant. For example, a homeowner who invited you into their house may owe you a different duty of care than a retail store open to the public would.
Slip and fall cases are often doubted because people perceive them to be minor accidents exploited for large settlements. The truth is that plaintiffs are often severely injured in slip and fall accidents and may face long, painful recoveries. If you slipped and fell due to the negligence of the person in charge of maintaining the premises, you should be compensated.
If you were injured in a slip and fall, you deserve justice. Our Boston slip and fall lawyers can help you file your claim and recover damages to pay for things like medical bills and lost income. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for a confidential, free legal consultation with our experienced legal team.
Types of Slip and Fall Cases in Boston
The way your case will play out depends on where and how your slip and fall accident occurred. The type of property and your relationship with the owner or tenant will dictate what kind of duty of care was owed to you. If this duty of care was breached or violated, you might have a valid slip and fall case.
Perhaps the strictest duties of care apply to businesses open to the public. In general, anybody can enter a business’s property without explicit permission. This means that even though the business owner did not permit you to enter, they know that all types of people can and will enter, and that they are responsible for keeping the premises safe. This means the business owner is responsible for fixing any known hazards on the premises and inspecting for any unknown hazards. Common slip and fall hazards in businesses include wet, damaged, or uneven floors.
Private property owners may also owe you a duty of care, depending on how and why you entered the premises. Private property owners or tenants owe a duty of care to licensees, or people they invite explicitly or implicitly onto their property. Licensees can include social guests, mail carriers, and emergency personnel like firefighters. In general, a property owner is responsible for repairing or warning about hidden hazards on the property.
If you enter someone else’s property without permission, explicit or implicit, you might not be owed any duty of care as you could be considered a trespasser. Property owners owe almost no duty of care to trespassers, even if they know about slip and fall hazards on the premises. If you were trespassing when you slipped and fell, you might not have a valid claim unless they intentionally injured you. Speak to our Boston slip and fall attorneys about your case right away.
Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents in Boston
Slip and fall accidents can cause a multitude of injuries, some serious and some minor. Your injuries will depend on how you fell, the surface you fell on, and any pre-existing conditions that could make you vulnerable to injuries. Do not be fooled by the common misconception that slip and fall accidents are never serious.
Common injuries in slip and fall accidents include broken bones, cuts, bruises, and sprains. More serious injuries could include head injuries like concussions or even spinal cord injuries if your fall were particularly dangerous. In any slip and fall accident, it is important to seek immediate medical attention so you can begin recovery and we can begin to assess your damages.
While some falls are minor, you can seriously injure yourself if you cannot break your fall or fall from a greater height. When most people fall, they often put their arms or legs in front of them to break the fall. If you cannot break your fall for whatever reason, you could hit the ground quite hard. Similarly, if you slipped and fell while standing on a high ledge, your fall could be disastrous.
Do not assume that your damages are automatically not worth covering because you were injured in a slip and fall. You deserve to be compensated and the people responsible for your accident must be held accountable. Call our Boston slip and fall attorneys for assistance.
Proving Negligence in a Boston Slip and Fall Accident
If a slip and fall case makes it to civil court, Massachusetts’ modified comparative negligence rule would be used to determine if the injured plaintiff was at all negligent in connection with the accident. Under the state’s modified comparative negligence system, the plaintiff’s percentage of fault can reduce any damages awarded to them.
For instance, if the jury finds the victim 30% responsible for their slip and fall, the property owner may only be on the hook for 70% of total damages. Moreover, under Massachusetts law, injured plaintiffs cannot recover damages from a property owner if they are deemed more than 50% at fault for their own accident.
In cases where claims do not make it to trial or a lawsuit is not filed, the comparative negligence rule can still be a factor. During settlement negotiations, the defendant’s insurance company may look to offer a settlement that reflects the property owner’s view of the accident, including the part the injured plaintiff played in contributing to the slip and fall.
Either way, an injured person must notify the property owner if a serious injury occurred from ice or snow on their premises within 30 days of the accident, or they would forfeit the right to file a claim, according to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 84 §18-20. A Boston slip and fall attorney could help a potential client ensure they do not miss this or any other relevant deadline in their case.
When a Boston Property Owner is Not Liable for Your Slip and Fall
There are many instances where a property owner, tenant, or occupant may be responsible for your slip and fall accident. However, it is also important to understand when a defendant may not be liable for a slip and fall.
If you were injured on a business’ premises, like in a retail store, you were owed a great duty of care. However, accidents may still happen even if the defendant satisfied their duty of care. For example, a retail store is responsible for keeping the premises clean, which often means mopping the floors. The store is then responsible for notifying customers that the floor is slippery. If you slipped and fell even though there were wet floor signs warning of the danger, the defendant would likely avoid liability. In that case, the store would have taken the care to clean the premises and warn customers of the risk, fulfilling their duty.
Similarly, a private property owner’s duty of care does not extend to unknown hazards. For example, if you fell on a friend’s property because there was a small, hidden hole in their yard, your friend might not be liable if they did not know about the hole. This rule may only apply if it was reasonable that the defendant did not know about the hazard. For example, if a stray dog had recently dug the hole, the property owner would understandably not know about it, as opposed to a hole that had been there for years.
Discuss your case with our experienced Boston slip and fall attorneys today.
Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents in Boston
A statute of limitations is a time limit to have a lawsuit heard in the civil court system. If this deadline has passed, the property owner being sued may bring that fact to the court’s attention, and the case would likely be dismissed.
The statute of limitations for a slip and fall lawsuit in Boston is the same as that for all personal injury cases in Massachusetts. Anyone who is injured in a slip and fall accident or who suffered personal property damages as a result of the accident has three years within the date of the accident to file a lawsuit, according to Mass. Gen. Laws Ch. 260 §2A.
In cases where a slip and fall accident leads to a fatal injury, plaintiffs also have three years to file a wrongful death lawsuit, with or without assistance from a slip and fall lawyer in Boston. However, the “clock” starts on the date of the death, which may be different from the date of the accident.
Speak with a Boston Slip and Fall Injury Attorney Today for Help
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common types of premises liability claims. However, not every claim is compensable. Consulting with our experienced Boston slip and fall lawyers could help you determine whether your claim is worth pursuing. Call the Boston personal injury lawyers of the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to learn more.