Anyone may be injured in a slip-and-fall accident for a variety of reasons. In many cases, these types of accidents happen because people simply lose their footing or trip over a hazard due to someone else’s oversight, unintentional lack of care or even pure negligence. Other times it may be the fault of business owners who do not properly maintain their premises to ensure that their customers are protected from hazards. Regardless, it will become important for people who have been seriously injured in a slip-and-fall accident to determine who was at fault for the accident.
If an accident was caused by a property owner’s negligence, the property owner may be sued under the theory of premises liability. In cases where the injured victim and the property owner both contributed to the cause of a slip-and-fall accident, the injured victim may still be able to pursue some compensation for damages from the property owner.
Claims are often seen against supermarkets, restaurants, hotels, apartment buildings or other commercial property owners, as well as claims against a municipality or homeowner. It’s best to consult a personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall and realize there are statutes of limitations in Massachusetts governing slip-and-fall cases:
- Spilled liquid, squished food or freshly mopped floors
- Torn carpet, boxes or other tripping hazard
- Broken steps, loose handrails or stairway defects
- Faulty equipment, tools, machinery, appliances
- Snow or ice not removed or treated in timely fashion
- A parking lot accident or other unsafe property condition
A recent slip-and-fall accident for a client involved his own family:
$500,000 Foot Injury Settlement
Ladder Slip and Fall
63-year-old man who was providing gratuitous work to his family at a home that they owned. He was working atop a ladder that had been provided by one of the homeowners when it swayed and he fell, causing a significant fracture to his heel and foot, requiring multiple surgeries. The ladder was defective and in a dangerous condition when provided to him, in that it was missing one of the 2 rubber feet at the bottom, making it subtly uneven, a condition which was not noticeable upon ordinary reasonable observation. He suffered from a post surgical infection which caused significant complications and a very unsightly skin graft. The case was settled for the policy limit of the homeowner for $500,000.
Laws about shared liability for slip-and-fall accidents vary by state. In the few states that follow contributory negligence, even the slightest degree of responsibility on the part of the injured victim will bar recovery. Other states have some form of comparative negligence statutes which provide that a victim can recover damages as long as his or her share of fault is no more than 50 percent, with the amount of damages being reduced by the plaintiff’s share of responsibility. Premises liability lawsuits are grounded in negligence just like most other personal injury claims.
An attorney for an injured victim will attempt to demonstrate that the property owner was or should have been aware of a dangerous property condition but failed to correct it or failed to warn guests of the hazard.