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Slip and Fall on Snow or Ice in Massachusetts: What to Do

In the winter months of New England, especially in Massachusetts, slip and fall accidents in parking lots, on private property, and at places like grocery stores become increasingly common. These accidents, often involving snow accumulation or ice hazards, can lead to serious slip and fall injuries. Property and business owners have a duty of care to address these dangerous conditions, implementing snow removal and ice removal efforts to ensure safety.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Immediately get the medical treatment you need. Fall injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, require prompt attention.

  2. Preserve Evidence: Document the scene of your ice accident, especially in areas with a high amount of foot traffic, such as retail stores or residential properties. Take photos of the ice accumulation or slippery surfaces.

  3. Report the Accident: Notify the property owner or manager, especially if the accident occurred in a commercial area like a grocery store or a retail store.

  4. Consult a Fall Lawyer: Contact an experienced attorney specializing in premises liability claims. They will provide legal advice and represent you in dealings with negligent property owners and insurance companies.

The Importance of Documentation

Proper documentation is key in proving a premises liability case. Photos of the accident scene and witness information are vital. They help establish the magnitude of the risk and the seriousness of the foreseeable harm, which a reasonable person should have mitigated.

Massachusetts Law on Slip and Fall Accidents 

In Massachusetts, a property owner “owes a common-law duty of reasonable care to all persons lawfully on the premises.” O’Sullivan v. Shaw, 431 Mass. 201, 204 (2000). “This duty includes an obligation to ‘maintain[ ] his property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk.’” Id., quoting Mounsey v. Ellard, 363 Mass. 693, 708 (1973).

“If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property, whether arising from an accumulation of snow and ice, or rust on a railing, or a discarded banana peel, the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger. Papadopoulos et. al v. Target Corporation, 457 Mass. 368, at 383(2010) emphasis added.

Landlord Tenant—Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability regulation codified at 105 CMR 410.452

“The owner shall maintain all means of egress at all times in a safe, operable condition and shall keep all exterior stairways, fire escapes, egress balconies and bridges free of snow and ice, provided, however, in those instances where a dwelling has an independent means of egress, not shared with other occupants, and a written letting agreement so states, the occupant is responsible for maintaining free of snow and ice, the means of egress under his or her exclusive use and control.”

If you’ve experienced a serious slip or fall injury in the Greater Boston area, or anywhere in Massachusetts, due to negligent property owners not properly addressing winter weather conditions, reach out to Gavagan Law.  For a free consultation, call or send us an email through our contact form.    

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