While predictions for the next “Storm of the Century” have proven wrong in much of the county, over the past two weeks Massachusetts has been slammed with heavy snowfall. With heavy snowfall comes the responsibility to clear snow and ice from sidewalks, streets, and parking lots. While many homeowners and store owners are good about making sure their property is safe for pedestrians, some are not.
If you are on someone else’s property and suffer a fall as a result of snow or ice that has not been properly cleared, you have a case if you are seriously injured. Falls on snow or ice can lead to broken bones, nerve damage, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and other serious health conditions.
However, as your Boston personal injury attorney can explain, you should not waste any time in seeking a consultation to see if you have a case against a property owner for an accident caused by failure to remove snow of ice from their premises. In some situations, the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts require an injured to victim to notify a homeowner alleged to be responsible for failing to clear snow or ice within 30 days of the accident.
While this is not necessarily outcome determinative in every case, this requirement is in addition to the standard applicable statue of limitations governing the amount of time a party has to file a personal injury lawsuit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
In addition to the complex procedural requirements, there are also factual considerations that must be considered when deciding whether or not to file a personal injury claim and your attorney can discuss these with your in regard to your specific accident. One typical issue involves the timing of the accident.
Obviously, a homeowner is not expected to risk his or her own life to go out into a blizzard and clear snow while it is still falling. The law, while it can vary based upon facts of a particular case, gives a homeowner a reasonable amount of time following a storm to make his or her property safe for pedestrians.
Another issue which may arise during a slip and fall case involves whether the ice or snow on the sidewalk was obvious to the victim prior to the accident. By obvious we mean victim knew or had reason to know sidewalk was icy and decided to walk on it anyway. Basically, while the responsibility to make a premises safe lies with property owner, the law does not favor a plaintiff who sees something is dangerous and decides to throw caution to the wind and proceed anyway.
Another issue that typically arises involves who was actually responsible for clearing the land upon which you were injured. In some cases, there is no question it was responsibility of property owner. In other cases, there can be an argument made it was another party’s responsibility, such as a local municipality, to clear the snow or ice. Again, these issues are not always clear, and you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney about the facts of your particular accident to determine whether you have a good case to demand and full and fair financial recovery for your serious personal injury.
If you are injured in Boston, call the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment — 1-888-367-2900.
More Blog Entries:
Summer Swimming Pool Safety in New England, May 15, 2014, Boston Personal Injury Lawyer Blog