Causes Of Trip And Fall Accidents
Trip-and-fall accidents occur when your foot or leg strikes or catches on an obstruction, causing you to lose your balance.
The common causes of trip and fall accidents include:
- Torn or wrinkled carpet
- Uneven steps
- Raised threshold
- Poor lighting
- Debris or clutter in walkways
- Uncovered cables or wires
- File drawers being left open
- Obstructed view
- Broken sidewalks
- Potholes in parking lots
Types Of Slip And Fall Injuries
A fracture is a broken bone. You may experience a broken foot, broken ankle, fractured hip, broken wrist or other broken bone in a slip and fall accident. A serious bone fracture can cause time off work, reduced mobility and months of medical treatment.
Symptoms of broken bones include:
- Intense, throbbing pain
- Difficulty walking or moving the affected limb
The impact of a fall can cause a fractured vertebra in the neck or back, a slipped disk, or other serious spinal cord injuries.
- Neck pain
- Worsening pain with movement
- Loss of range of motion
- Tenderness or pain in the upper back or shoulders
Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries. Brain injuries may be mild, moderate or severe:
Symptoms of TBI include:
Loss of consciousness
Dilation of one or both pupils
Nausea or vomiting
A headache that worsens
Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
Inability to awaken from sleep
Proving Fault In Slip And Fall Cases
Massachusetts imposes certain legal duties on property owners and business owners that rent properties. Both homeowners and business owners have a duty to all lawful visitors to keep the property in reasonably safe condition to prevent falls and other accidents. When a property is not adequately maintained or does not have warning signs of dangers, accidents can cause costly injuries. In some instance, a company contracted to maintain a property or remove snow and ice may also be liable.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations On Slip And Fall Claims?
Time Limits to file a claim: The ‘Statute of Limitations’, any lawsuit arising from an accident or injury must be filed within a certain time limit or the injured person’s legal claim will be barred and his or her right to sue a property owner will be lost forever.
The Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 260, Section 2A provides a finite window of time to research and file premise liability claims. We have at most three years so it is imperative we start the process as soon as possible. Preserving evidence that could increase the success of your case such as security footage, gathering witness statements and collecting photos of evidence are just a few items that need to be completed in the first few days or weeks so they are not lost.
Did The Property Owner Know About the Danger And Neglect to Fix It?
If a slip and fall lawyer in Boston can show that the property owner was aware or should have known of the unsafe condition and failed to fix it or post an adequate warning, then the property owner may be held liable for the injuries caused.
Slip, Trip And Fall Injury Occurred On Commercial Property
When our law firm is investigating premises liability accidents on commercial property in Boston, our premises liability attorneys look for prior accident reports of injuries occurring at the same location and surveillance camera tape that can help reveal how long a hazard has been present. This evidence can be used to show that the property owner should have been aware of the hazard and had time to correct it or post an adequate warning.
The owner of a commercial building like a department store or parking lot that has a code violation is liable for any injuries sustained as a result of the defective property condition. The failure of a building owner to inspect the property regularly and correct hazards may be the basis of a Massachusetts slip and fall injury claim.
Boston receives significant amounts of snow each year, which can create slippery conditions for accidents. A property owner or the person controlling the property is responsible for removing accumulations of ice and snow and keeping the property reasonably safe. In some instances, companies contracted for snow and ice removal may be liable if they failed to uphold their duty.
Slips, Trips And Falls On Government Property
Slip and fall claims involving accidents on a publicly owned property are more complicated to pursue. The City of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the federal government are protected from serious injury lawsuits by sovereign immunity.
The Massachusetts Torts Claim Acts spells out the circumstances in which a civil lawsuit may be filed against the City of Boston or Commonwealth of Massachusetts, seeking compensation for injuries caused by negligence by a government or a government employee. You generally have to give notice to the government agency of a pending legal claim within a certain short period of time. These notification deadlines are often quite tight, making it important to contact a slip and fall attorney in Boston immediately to review your injury and offer guidance.
Slip, Trip And Fall Accident Occurred On Private Property
Homeowners and owners of private property have a legal duty to maintain their property in reasonably safe condition to prevent injuries to guests and visitors. Private property owners also have a duty to warn of dangers on the property. The extent of the duty of care that a private property owner owes depends on the status of the visitor that comes onto the property. For example, a private property owner would have a greater responsibility to ensure the safety of an invited guest than a trespasser. Private property owners also have an obligation to secure their property so that swimming pools and structures that would pose an attractive nuisance to children do not pose a hazard.
What To Do If You Were Involved In A Slip And Fall Accident
If you sustain an injury while on another person’s property, there are certain steps that you should take to ensure a successful Boston slip and fall lawsuit.
What You Should Do Right After The Injury Occurred
- Seek medical attention for your injuries.
- Use your phone camera to take photos of the condition that caused your fall.
- Write down the names of witnesses to your fall.
- Record the name of the supervisor or owner of the location of your fall.
- Report the incident to the property owner, landlord or property manager.
- Do not speak to the property owner’s insurance company until you have consulted a slip and fall attorney.
You should report the accident to the property manager or property owner. It is a good idea to follow with a certified letter to the property owner or property manager briefly describing the accident. Keep a copy of the letter. Informing the property owner promptly of your injury will strengthen your position if you eventually file a slip and fall claim.
According to MGL c. 84, Section 18-20, an injured person has to notify the property owner of the injury or damage from snow or ice on their premises within 30 days of the injuries occurred or they will forfeit the right to file a claim at all.
Contact Our Law Firm And Talk To A Boston Slip And Fall Lawyer
If you believe that your fall injury was preventable and was caused by someone else’s carelessness or disregard for safety, talk to a knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer in Boston who can evaluate the accident. Our premises liability attorneys at Kelly & Associates Injury Lawyers are experienced in handling slip and fall accident claims and trip and fall accident cases in Boston and the surrounding towns.
After a brief discussion with you regarding the facts and details surrounding your accident, we will be able to provide you a better idea concerning the likelihood of success of your Boston slip and fall lawsuit as well as the projected value of your case.
Read our blog post about Slip and Fall Accidents:
Avoid a Slip and Fall Injury this Winter
Updated November 3, 2017