Another common type of personal injury case we handle at Cutler Law Boston involves slip and fall accidents. These incidents can occur in various locations, such as supermarkets, restaurants, or even private residences, and can lead to serious injuries.
Who is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?
In a slip and fall case, the property owner or occupier may be held liable if it can be proven that:
- They caused the dangerous condition that led to the accident, such as a spill or uneven flooring.
- They knew about the dangerous condition but did nothing to rectify it.
- They should have known about the dangerous condition because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered and removed or repaired it.
What Evidence is Important in a Slip and Fall Case?
Collecting the right evidence is crucial in proving liability in a slip and fall case. Here are some types of evidence that can be helpful:
- Accident Scene Photos: Photos can document the hazardous condition that caused your fall.
- Witness Statements: Witnesses can corroborate your account of the accident.
- Incident Reports: If your fall happened in a business, there might be an incident report.
- Medical Records: These can prove the extent and cause of your injuries.
- Surveillance Footage: If available, this can provide a clear picture of the incident.
Top Reasons for Slip and Fall Accidents:
Our analysis of available data revealed that the following are the top reasons for slip and fall accidents in Boston:
- Wet Surfaces: Wet surfaces are the leading cause of slip and fall accidents in Boston. This includes wet floors, sidewalks, and other surfaces that are not properly maintained or cleaned.
- Poor Lighting: Poor lighting conditions contribute significantly to slip and fall accidents, especially in areas with uneven surfaces or unexpected changes in elevation.
- Uneven Surfaces: Sudden changes in elevation, broken pavement, and poorly maintained flooring are common causes of slip and fall accidents.
- Footwear: Inappropriate footwear such as high heels, sandals, or flip-flops can increase the risk of slip and fall accidents, especially on wet or uneven surfaces.
- Weather: Snow, ice, and rain also increase the risk of slip and fall accidents during the winter months in Boston.
Possible Slip and Fall Defenses you should be aware of
There are several possible defenses that the business can use to defend itself that you should be aware of before filing a lawsuit. Here are some of the most common defenses that businesses use:
- Comparative Negligence: This defense argues that the plaintiff bears some of the responsibility for their injury. For example, if the plaintiff was not paying attention to where they were walking or was wearing inappropriate footwear at the time of the accident, the business may argue that the plaintiff’s negligence contributed to their injury.
- Lack of Notice: The business may argue that it did not have notice of the dangerous condition that caused the plaintiff’s injury. In other words, the business did not know, or should not have known, that the dangerous condition existed.
- Open and Obvious: This defense argues that the dangerous condition was open and obvious to anyone who was paying attention. For example, if the plaintiff slipped on a wet floor that had caution signs posted, the business may argue that the plaintiff should have noticed the signs and taken appropriate precautions.
- Assumption of Risk: This defense argues that the plaintiff knew about the dangerous condition and voluntarily assumed the risk of injury by engaging in the activity. For example, if the plaintiff slipped on a wet floor while running in a store, the business may argue that the plaintiff assumed the risk of injury by running in an area where caution signs were posted.
- Statute of Limitations: This defense argues that the plaintiff filed the lawsuit after the statute of limitations had expired. In other words, the plaintiff waited too long to file the lawsuit.
It is important to note that the success of these defenses depends on the specific circumstances of the case and the applicable law. A business involved in a slip and fall personal injury lawsuit should consult with an experienced attorney to determine the best defense strategy.
How Long Do I Have to File a Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
In Massachusetts, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, is generally three years from the date of the accident. However, there can be exceptions, so it’s essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to ensure you don’t miss any critical deadlines.
At Cutler Law Boston, we understand the complexities involved in slip and fall cases. We are dedicated to helping you gather the necessary evidence, establish liability, and seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.