Winter is here and in Worcester, Massachusetts, that means snowfall. December straight through February see more than a foot of snow each month with March trailing just behind on average. The below-freezing temperatures also put ice on walkways and sleet across lawns, especially in the morning. With everything considered, it is a nasty recipe for slip and fall accidents.
When someone takes a painful tumble, a personal injury lawsuit or premises liability claim is generally quick to follow. But who is to blame for falls in the ice and snow? Is Mother Nature really the only one who is liable?
Interpreting Premises Liability Laws
Massachusetts premises liability law, like just about any other state in the country, makes it clear that welcome guests and patrons have the right to assume they aren’t in immediate danger when visiting property owned or controlled by someone else. Under the normal circumstances, this means that no health hazards should exist on the property for an unreasonable amount of time. In the winter, things might be interpreted a little differently.
Premises liability law also states that a visitor is expected to exercise due caution around identifiable hazards and should not act openly reckless. If someone slips and falls painfully over ice in front of a retail store, for example, it might be an uphill battle to put all the liability on the store owner. The best efforts of the store’s management might not be enough to completely eliminate the slip hazard in the frigid winter conditions, reducing their liability. Furthermore, if the world outside is covered in white snow, a visiting patron to the store should, to some degree, be aware of slip hazards and walk more cautiously or slowly than normal. Failing to do so could increase their own liability.
Trusted Representation for Slip & Fall Cases
At Law Office of Robert W. Kovacs, Jr., we put in the time and effort needed to fully analyze our clients’ cases, giving them a greater chance at collecting a maximized recovery. If you have slipped and fallen in the ice or snow while on someone else’s property, let us know during an initial consultation and we can give you an honest assessment of your claim’s strength. Just contact us online today to connect with our Worcester personal injury lawyers.