Before you visit a Massachusetts landmark such as Wahconah Falls State Park or the antique American naval boat Old Ironsides, you might imagine what it’s like. If your experience meets or exceeds your expectations, you will no doubt feel happy and satisfied. Yet, reality sometimes falls short of what we anticipate when we go to have fun or run errands.
This is always the risk of visiting other people’s properties. A neglected or poorly managed property can be dangerous. For example, in 2020, there were 211,640 slip-and-fall accidents in the United States.
Better Phone Stone® today if you have medical bills and missing wages associated with a slip and fall injury. Your debt won’t go away by itself, and your pain and suffering could get in the way of your recovery. Learn how Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can pursue financial compensation for you by scheduling a free consultation with our Massachusetts personal injury team.
What You Should Know About Slip-and-Fall Accidents
The hazardous condition behind fall claims can often be traced back to a neglectful property manager. Consider the following examples.
Liquid on a walkway can make it slick. A property owner must monitor sources of moisture to reduce the likelihood of accidents. For instance, if a refrigerator unit leaks, the owner should make sure the water is mopped up regularly and post warning signs as the floor dries.
Carpet, tiles, and wood flooring in bad repair can be dangerous. A person could easily trip over loose carpeting, broken or uneven tile, or loose floorboards. If there are rugs or mats, each should have anti-slip backing and be straightened when they buckle.
Improper materials or maintenance
The investigation of fall accident cases could reveal a poor choice of materials. For example, installing glass or ceramic flooring in an area that gets icy would be unwise.
In other cases, the maintenance of the flooring causes a problem. An over-polished floor or a surface cleaned with the wrong material could turn into a slipping hazard.
Deteriorating sidewalks and pavement
Weather and vehicles cause wear and tear on outdoor walking surfaces. In Massachusetts, public or private entities could be responsible for installing, inspecting, and maintaining pavement. Our fall injury lawyers can inform you about your legal options if cracks, gaps, or holes played a role in your slip and fall injury.
You should be able to see where you are going when you walk. Dark hallways or staircases can be a recipe for disaster.
Anything that blocks your path could be a tripping hazard. Common obstacles are trash, debris, equipment, and electrical cords.
A slip-and-fall accident can happen anywhere from a private home to a public place, such as:
- Stores and shopping malls
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Parking garages and lots
These few examples show that owning a property is a big responsibility. If a property owner fails his or her duty, a slip-and-fall accident could lead to preventable injuries or even death.
When Massachusetts Property Owners Fail Their Duty
How are slip-and-fall accidents related to neglect and poor management? According to the National Safety Council (NSC), “falls are 100 percent preventable.”
In other words, property owners and employers should take steps to keep falls from happening, namely:
- Assess potential hazards and dangerous behaviors
- Train employees to use equipment properly
- Provide safety equipment and non-slip shoes
- Install and maintain features like guardrails and non-slip mats in areas where falls seem likely
- Avoid working in inclement weather; high winds, rain, and snow increase the probability of a fall
- Use stepladders with a locking device that holds the front and back open
- Keep at least 2 hands and 1 foot, or 2 feet and 1 hand, on the ladder at all times
- Place ladders on solid and level surfaces; never lean them against anything unstable
- Keep pathways free of hazards (e.g. electrical cords, trash, objects) and clean spills immediately
- Maintain and repair pavement, fixing cracks and potholes as soon as possible
- Display instructions, warnings, and safety precautions as necessary
- Maintain good interior and exterior lighting
- Keep cabinets and drawers closed to avoid snagging clothing
What if a property owner knew of a slip and fall hazard but failed to correct it or warn visitors? Under Massachusetts law, he or she is liable for any resulting injuries. Personal injury attorneys can help victims get fair compensation for their losses.
Claiming Compensation for Slip-and-Fall Accidents
If you injure yourself on someone else’s property, you should contact a personal injury attorney right away. He or she can determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries and get your claim filed before time runs out.
Even a short visit to the emergency room could generate thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Diagnostic tests, operations, and prescription medicines will add to the total. And since recovery could take some time, the expenses could continue to multiply for years after the initial fall accident.
By filing a slip and fall lawsuit, a personal injury lawyer could pursue compensation for serious injuries:
- Head injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) could affect your ability to walk, talk, and perform daily activities. Those with severe TBIs could require constant professional care.
- Facial scars and fractures: If you hurt your face in your slip-and-fall accident, you might discover how difficult it is to live with a facial deformity. Scarring and self-consciousness could negatively impact your social life.
- Neck and back injuries: Injuries to these areas of your body can affect your mobility and leave you in pain. Regular follow-up care might be necessary to maintain your range of motion.
- Arm, knee, and leg injuries: Broken bones and torn muscles can take a long time to heal. In some cases, victims facing permanent disabilities can never return to work.
In a free personal injury case evaluation, our legal team can help you maximize your compensation for Massachusetts slip and fall injuries.
If you work to support your family, recovering lost income should be an essential part of your slip and fall case. Your attorney can calculate how much you are due in lost wages, including any vacation days you used while you were recuperating.
Pain and suffering
After a slip-and-fall accident, physical pain could cause discomfort that takes away from the enjoyment of daily activities. Psychological trauma can contribute to anxiety, sleeplessness, and depression. Since these factors are subjective, an insurance company might try to minimize the devastating effects on your life.
At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we believe fall cases should reflect all the unfair losses resulting from Massachusetts slip-and-fall accidents, in order to maximize each client’s compensation. We work hard on this for every client because we want each individual to regain peace of mind and enjoy a full recovery.
Each slip and fall case is different. Before accepting a settlement or giving up on your fall claim, take advantage of a free case review with our law firm. You may have a very strong basis for hope. Fall accident lawyers can give you a clear picture of your legal rights and how to protect them.
What Happens in a Slip-and-Fall Lawsuit?
Slip-and-fall accidents can cause severe injuries that affect a person for the rest of his or her life. If you have been involved in a slip-and-fall, you may be able to receive compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses.
Your main method of recovering damages following a slip and fall injury is to file a claim with the property owner’s liability insurance provider. They will then send an insurance adjuster to investigate the incident and negotiate a settlement.
You may want to have legal representation on your side during this stage of your claim. The amount that the insurance adjuster offers you will likely be far less than the actual value of your claim. Slip and fall attorneys are familiar with the tactics that insurance companies use and can help negotiate the maximum amount you deserve.
If you or your lawyer are unable to reach a settlement, the next option is to sue the owner of the property where the slip-and-fall occurred. Once they receive notice of the lawsuit, they will have a limited amount of days to respond.
If the property owner does not agree to settle your claim, then the lawsuit will move on to the discovery process. During this phase, both parties will make known any information they have relating to the slip-and-fall case.
How Long Does It Usually Take to Settle a Slip and Fall Case?
Nobody wants to face a lengthy legal battle while recovering from an injury – recovering a fair settlement as fast as possible is the goal. Unfortunately, giving an exact timeline in slip and fall cases is next to impossible, as each is different with various factors involved.
As a general rule, slip and fall cases fall on the simpler side of personal injury cases and can take an average of 1 to 2 years from start to finish. The length of your case will largely depend on two factors: the speed of your recovery, and how early a settlement is reached.
The speed of your recovery
A personal injury victim should never accept a settlement until his or her condition is stable without further medical treatment being foreseen. This is important because if a settlement is accepted before you fully understand the extent of your injuries, you cannot recover more damages later for the same accident.
How early a settlement is reached
Once a lawsuit is filed, each party will likely take the next few months to investigate the other party’s claims and conduct depositions. The other party may require you to undergo additional medical examinations as well. Most cases are settled at this point through negotiation, arbitration, or mediation.
If no settlement is reached, the case can go to trial. The good news is that the majority of slip and fall cases are settled outside of court, which substantially reduces the amount of time the case takes.
How Do You Prove Negligence in a Slip-and-Fall?
In order to recover compensation from a slip-and-fall incident, it is important to establish negligence. A personal injury lawyer can do this by proving four factors:
- There was a dangerous condition
- The dangerous condition caused an injury
- The owner knew/should have known about it
- The owner did not fix the condition or provide a warning
Let’s take an example. The wooden steps leading to a store are old and in disrepair. Some of the steps are cracked or sagging, perhaps with some spots even missing. When a customer uses the steps to enter into the store, one of them breaks, injuring the customer’s ankle.
In the case above, there was clearly a dangerous condition that caused injury: broken steps leading to the business. It could be proven that because the business owner was present at the business regularly, even using the steps himself, so he was aware of the danger.
It could also be proven that this condition had existed for months, but the owner still neglected to repair it or put up a sign to warn customers of the hazard. By establishing these facts related to the case, the property owner could be found liable, or at fault, for the customer’s injuries.
Is it Hard to Sue for a Slip-and-Fall?
After being injured in a slip-and-fall incident, you may be conflicted. You need and deserve compensation for your losses but may be nervous or anxious about a complex legal process, even potentially going to court.
The good news is that, with the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer, slip and fall lawsuits are generally considered to be less complex than other forms of personal injury claims, such as medical malpractice or car accidents.
The complexity of your particular case can depend on a number of factors, such as:
- The severity of your injuries: Are the injuries hard to prove or quantify? Could the other party argue that the injuries were caused by a separate event?
- The negligent party: Was the negligent party a large corporation, small business, homeowner, or government agency?
- The extent of your fault: Were you somewhat to blame for your injuries, by engaging in illegal activities, ignoring safety warnings, or being reckless?
Of course, the details of each slip and fall lawsuit are unique to each case. While often more straightforward than other types of personal injury lawsuits, personal injury victims can benefit from the support and experience of a lawyer to successfully win their case.
Can I Sue If I Slip and Fall in a Business Location?
An unexpected slip-and-fall accident can occur anytime and anywhere. While going about your daily routine, you may slip and fall on a wet or uneven floor in a store or trip on an electrical cord in a walkway. Falling in public can be quite embarrassing and unfortunately leave you in pain.
After experiencing a slip-and-fall in a business location such as a store, people generally get up quickly and try to walk off any pains they may be feeling. What they might not realize is that the incident may entitle them to seek compensation from the business for injuries suffered.
A slip-and-fall accident would come under the law of premises liability. The owner of the property is obligated to maintain a safe environment for all visitors, so you can hold that person responsible when his or her duty of care was not properly observed. Slip-and-fall accidents are often rooted in some form of negligence on the part of the owner.
It may seem at first that you are unharmed. But be aware that slip-and-fall accident injuries sometimes have a way of manifesting themselves weeks or even months later.
How Jason Stone Injury Lawyers Can Help
After a slip-and-fall accident, contacting legal professionals should be a priority. With the support of our team, you can start the process of seeking damages for your injury:
- Investigation: Being able to prove negligence can make or break your case. Our experienced attorneys investigate each case thoroughly to establish who is liable.
- Calculation of damages: There is no set award amount for claims since each is unique. Assessing past, present, and expected future damages is essential to maximizing your compensation. At our law firm, our personalized approach ensures that you know how much your case is worth before you make any decisions.
- Protecting your rights: At some point, you may need to decide to accept a settlement or file an action in court for your slip-and-fall. Our attorney can help you review relevant factors to make a confident decision. Though the thought of going to trial might be unpleasant, our supportive legal team can take care of all the details so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries, stress-free.
The attorneys with Jason Stone Injury Lawyers can answer your questions, perhaps suggesting options you didn’t realize you had. But, to take full advantage of your rights, you will need to act as soon as possible.
Contact a Massachusetts Slip and Fall Lawyer Today
Massachusetts slip and fall regulations require you (or your attorney) to file your claim within a specific time frame. If you ignore this critical deadline, called the statute of limitations, you could miss your opportunity to get compensation to cover your injuries and other damages.
At our law firm, we promise There’s No Obligation, Just Information® when you consult with us. You will need the facts to make an informed decision, and we understand that. We’ll make it easy for you to understand your options.
Reach out to us in the most convenient way for you:
- Phone us toll-free at (800) 577-5188
- Send us a message using our simple contact form
- Click the “Live Chat” icon at the bottom of your screen to get immediate attention from a member of our team, or;
- Schedule a video call or stop by one of our local offices
Would you welcome advice from an experienced team of compassionate attorneys? Jason Stone Injury Lawyers offers free consultations by phone, video conference call, or in person at a location convenient for you.
Contact us today to learn about your legal options in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Your well-being is important to us.