Now that winter is here, we wanted to address one of the most common causes of personal injury claims – falls on snow and ice. Falls can occur anywhere outside – stairways, parking lots, driveways, walkways, and sidewalks. If the property owner fails to take reasonable steps to remove or treat snow and ice, the owner can be held liable to any injuries that occur.
Slips, trips, and falls on ice and snow can cause a number of serious injuries, including broken bones, back injuries and head trauma. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Muscle sprains and ligament strains
- Broken bones, including wrists, hips, and shins.
- Knee injuries, such as torn ligaments
- Shoulder injuries, including torn rotator cuff
- Herniated discs in the spine (most commonly in the lower back)
Under Massachusetts law, a property owner is required to exercise reasonable care to eliminate any dangerous conditions on their property, including dangerous buildups of snow and ice on their properties. Property owners do not have an obligation to keep their properties perfectly clear of snow or ice at all times. Instead, property owners are obligated to exercise common sense, and take common sense precautions – shoveling stairs and walkways, plowing parking lots and driveways, putting down sand and salt after an ice storm or a freezing rain event.
Common sense also dictates that some property owners have a greater obligation to maintain their properties than others. For example, a convenience store that is open 24 hours a day has an obligation to plow, shovel, sand and salt 24 hours a day, because the owners should expect that customers will be there at all hours. The owner of a busy big box store has a greater obligation to keep its property clear of snow and ice than the owner of a single-family home does. The owner of a movie theater has to make sure its parking lots are free from ice on a Saturday evening when the theater is expected to be busy, but less of an obligation on a Tuesday morning when few people are likely to be at the theater.
Contact the experienced snow and ice injury lawyers at Ballin & Associates, LLC
We have successfully recovered significant damages for our clients who have fallen on ice at all of these kinds of properties – convenience stores, big box stores, single family homes, restaurants, movie theaters, and many other types of properties as well. The experienced snow and ice lawyers at Ballin & Associates, LLC will evaluate your case to determine whether the snow and ice removal efforts by the property owner was reasonable for that specific location at that point in time.
Protect your rights if you are injured because of a fall on snow and ice
If you or someone you know is injured as a result of falling on an icy driveway or walkway, or on snow-covered stairs, there are important things you need to do in order to protect your rights to compensation.
Massachusetts law requires someone who is injured as a result of a fall on snow and ice to provide written notice to the property owner as soon as possible, and preferably within 30 days of the fall. So, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to provide appropriate written notice to the property owner.
It is critically important to take photographs of the snow or ice that caused the fall. It is also important to get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the fall. Also, if possible, report the fall to the manager of the property, and get the name and phone number and job title of the person you reported the fall to.
Many properties now have security cameras which may have recorded the fall, or the icy conditions that led to the fall. This is another reason to contact the experienced snow and ice attorneys at Ballin & Associates as soon as possible after the fall, so the attorney can write to the property owner and demand that any video recordings from the date and time and location of the fall are preserved.
Here are some examples of past cases where clients of ours were injured due to falls on snow and ice:
- MASSACHUSETTS FUNERAL HOME FAILS TO CLEAR ICE, INSURER PAYS $350,000 FOR OFF-DUTY KNEE INJURY AFTER 93A CLAIM
- $150,000 FOR OFFICER INJURED WHILE EXECUTING SEARCH WARRANT
- $190,000 FOR LEG BROKEN ON ICY DRIVEWAY
If you or anyone you know has been injured as a result of a slip and fall on snow or ice, please contact us to learn more about your right to obtain compensation for your injuries. These cases are handled on a contingent fee basis which means no money is owed unless we are successful in collecting money compensation on the case. Contact us now for a free and confidential consultation.