Imagine this—you’re walking out of your favorite business in the middle of winter when suddenly, your feet give way from underneath you as you slip on the icy walkway. Hopefully, you catch your balance before you fall, but that’s not always the case. Slips like these can cause serious injuries, and depending on the situation, someone else might be liable for not properly clearing snow or ice. Here’s what you need to know if you are injured due to winter slips and falls.
In Massachusetts, property owners are responsible for keeping their property safe from snow and ice. Depending on the town or city, either property owners or the municipality is responsible for clearing sidewalks.
If you slip, fall and hurt yourself on someone’s property or a sidewalk, filing a personal injury claim may lead to compensation for pain and suffering, medical care, lost wages, attorney’s fees and more. As the injured party, you are responsible for proving the necessary legal aspects of your claim. One of the most crucial elements you must prove in a personal injury claim is that the property owner was negligent. Negligence means that the accused breached a legal duty owed to you and that this breach resulted in the accident and your injuries. You must also prove that you suffered damages due to the injury.
Since many personal injury claims are settled outside of court, it’s unlikely that your case will need to go to trial. But if the case does make it in front of a judge or jury, you must prove your case by what’s known as “a preponderance of the evidence”—meaning that more likely than not, everything alleged is true and that the accused is indeed liable.
Remember, in a trial, the accused will also be able to provide their side of the story, in which they may argue that you were also responsible for your injury, which can affect compensation. For example, the accused might argue that the dangerous conditions should have been obvious as you walked through.
Evidence to Collect
To make a successful personal injury claim, you will need to present evidence that proves the accused was negligent and that you suffered damages. This evidence may include:
- A police report documenting the accident and its cause
- An incident report prepared by a business where the fall occurred
- Statements from eyewitnesses that attest to when, where and how the fall occurred
- Photographs from the scene of the accident
- Records of all medical treatment associated with the injury
- Documentation of time missed at work
- Records to support a lost wages claim
- Testimony from a medical professional regarding the cause and severity of the injury
Be aware that in Massachusetts, most negligence cases, such as a slip and fall, must be filed within three years of the injury. This is especially important to keep in mind, or the statute of limitations might prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve.
Need a Lawyer? We Can Help
Personal injury is a complicated area of the law, so having an experienced lawyer help is important to increasing your chances of a successful claim. Our knowledgeable team is here to help you determine whether you have a valid case and prove it if you do. If you are seeking compensation for a slip and fall, reach out to us today.