Slip and fall accidents are common in the winter months, but not all of them result in injuries. Furthermore, even those that do may not necessarily be qualified for accident claims. For this reason, you'll have to determine if the owner of the property you slipped on was legally at fault. This overview can help you determine liability for your accident.
What Is the Property Owner’s Duty of Care?
Under personal injury law, a property owner has a reasonable duty of care to ensure their space is danger-free. Throughout the winter months, this means taking care of snow and ice within a fair amount of time. If the property owner fails to keep up with the accumulation of winter weather, they can be held liable for any slip and fall accidents that occur.
However, members of the public have a responsibility as well. If it can be shown that the injured party didn't take reasonable steps to avoid a fall, they may be held partially liable. In that case, the amount they can claim in damages will be reduced.
How Does the Natural Accumulation Rule Apply?
The natural accumulation rule states that property owners aren't liable for falls caused by the natural accumulation of snow. As long as they don’t increase the danger posed by the snowfall, they won’t be responsible for any falls that result. If the natural accumulation rule applies, the property owner may only be liable in cases where they actively create hazardous conditions. Variations of this rule apply in many states, so you should ask your lawyer if it's relevant in your area.
What Damages Can You Recover?
This type of accident allows you to claim damages for your medical care costs. In addition to immediate treatment, this would include the fees for ongoing treatment, physical therapy, and any psychological counseling you may need. You can also claim damages for your days missed from work and your loss of employment if the accident left you with a permanent disability, and you can even claim damages for pain and suffering.
Since you must be able to prove that hazardous conditions caused your fall, try to get pictures of the area before the property owner has a chance to clear the snow or ice. Photographic proof of the dangerous conditions will help your attorney prove your case.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Located in Boston, MA, Bellotti Law Group, P.C. has been representing individuals with injury claims throughout Boston, Quincy, and Cambridge since 1989. Their skilled staff is dedicated to providing each client with high quality legal services. To learn more about your options, schedule a consultation online or call (617) 778-1000.