Winter in Massachusetts means greater chance of slip and fall accidents
In Massachusetts, winter brings the dreaded ice, snow, sleet and hail that accompany the season. Unfortunately, this winter has been no exception in Massachusetts. In many places in the state, records have been broken with the amount of snow that has fallen so far. During winter, the danger that ice and snow cause motorists is a constant topic of news reports. However, what is less talked about, but no less dangerous, is the danger that wintry conditions pose to pedestrians.
During winter, pedestrians are at a much greater risk of slip and fall accidents than they are the rest of the year. In many cases, the reason why slip and fall accidents occur is that property owners have been negligent in responding to the accumulation of ice and snow. The failure to do this can cause a variety of dangerous conditions that are routinely encountered by pedestrians such as:
· Icy sidewalks
· Icy or snow-covered stairways or handrails
· Wet surfaces that can quickly become icy
· Paths or walkways blocked by snow
Unfortunately, only the lucky ones that slip and fall because of the failure of the property owner to remove the snow or ice from the property are left with a momentary loss of dignity. In many cases, victims can be left with broken arms, legs or hips. In the most serious cases, victims can suffer traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries or spinal cord injuries, which can result in them requiring a lifetime of expensive medical care and rehabilitation.
Under Massachusetts law, the property owner, whether it is a person, company or city, has a duty to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe for others. In carrying out this duty, the law requires the owner to clear away ice and snow from sidewalks, walkways, fire escapes, stairs and other areas of the property that are used by the public. This duty applies regardless of whether the snow or ice accumulated naturally or unnaturally (e.g. ice formed because of a broken pipe). In addition to removing the ice and snow, the property owner must regularly inspect their property for the re-accumulation of snow or ice and act accordingly.
If a property owner fails to fulfill their duty under the law, they are considered negligent and are liable for any injuries that result from their negligence. Injured parties can recover expenses resulting from the slip and fall such as present and future medical expenses, loss of wages and pain and suffering.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of an unsafe condition on another’s property, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. An attorney can investigate the aspects of your accident and hold the responsible parties accountable.