Massachusetts Legal Blog

Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents: Dealing with Premises Liability

The idea of a slip and fall injury may sound odd to those whose only experiences with losing their balance have involved scraped knees and immediate recovery. However, these injuries can be quite serious: in 2013, the National Fall Safety Institute reported that they comprised 12% of all emergency room visits. Parts of your body can bruise, bend, or break, and treatment may result in high medical bills. If this happens to you, then you may be able to receive compensation – but you will have to know how to do this, and you will have to act quickly. Here is some information on Massachusetts slip and fall accidents and dealing with premises liability.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability law is based on the concept that property owners have a responsibility for anyone who is legally on their property. That responsibility extends to keeping the property free of hazards, and property owners must warn visitors about any dangers of which they are aware or should have been aware. This concept is not merely moral, but legal: it has been engrained into Massachusetts law since Greenfield v. Freedman, in 1952.

If someone is injured on another person’s property, they may be able to file a successful suit for personal injury caused by negligence on the part of the property owner, and they may be able to receive compensation from the property owner as a result. However, based on the ruling in Cannon v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., the prosecution will have to prove four parts of their negligence claim.

What You Will Need to Prove

Firstly, the prosecution will need to prove that the defendant owed some duty to the plaintiff. If the defendant is a homeowner, landlord, store-owner, or property owner of any other kind and the plaintiff sustained their slip and fall injury on the defendant’s property, then the injured party may be able to use premises liability law as proof of this. However, this will likely not apply if the plaintiff was not legally allowed to be on the property when the injury occurred – for example if they were injured while trespassing.

Secondly, the defendant must have failed, in some way, in performing that duty. That leads to the third part that would need to be proven: that this failure to warn the plaintiff about any hazards they knew or should have known about was the cause of the plaintiff’s slip and fall. For example, if the injury was caused when the plaintiff slipped on a puddle of water in a grocery store. If a store employee mopping a mess created the puddle, and there was no “Caution: Wet Floor” sign, the prosecution may use that as evidence. These steps may be trickier to prove than the others, and not all cases regarding slip and fall accidents are as obvious and straightforward as the given example.

Lastly, the prosecution will need to show proof that the plaintiff was injured at all. As mentioned at the beginning, people can suffer genuinely serious damage from a slip and fall, but they may also not suffer at all. A plaintiff’s lawyer could prove this using hospital documents, copies of X-ray pictures, and notes from the presiding physicians.

Contact Slip and Fall Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one ever suffer from any slip and fall accidents while on someone else’s property, you will want to reach out to an experienced lawyer who can provide you with the legal assistance you need. You will also want to do this as soon as possible – according to Massachusetts General Laws 260:2A, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases in Massachusetts is only three years after the date of the incident. The Massachusetts slip and fall lawyers at the Shapiro Law Group, PC can help you in navigating state law and receiving more compensation than you might get from a settlement. Contact our Boston law firm today at 339-298-2300, so we can start on your case immediately.