In 2010, a Supreme Judicial Court decision in the case of Papadopolous vs. Target Corp.
, 457 Mass. 368, abolished the distinction between “natural” and “unnatural” snow and ice accumulations in premises liability
actions. The court ruled that Massachusetts property owners owe a duty to lawful visitors to use reasonable care to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all circumstances. This is true regardless of how snow and ice accumulates.
Prior to this ruling, property owners were only liable for injuries sustained on what was known as an “unnatural accumulation” of snow or ice. Examples included gutters leaking onto sidewalks, and snow piled across walkway. Now, Massachusetts property owners have to use the same standard of reasonable care in treating snow and ice as they do other hazards on a property.
What is reasonable care is a question of fact for a jury to decide. But if someone is injured and brings forward a claim, a property owner will have to demonstrate that they used reasonable care in removing snow and ice as it falls and well after a snowstorm. Here in Massachusetts, a property owner may have to monitor and treat snow and ice conditions for days and weeks after a snowfall, as snow melts and refreezes.
If you have been injured by dangerous snow and ice conditions, learn your legal rights. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys understand the complexities of snow and ice cases, and we have the experience, expertise and resources to help our clients after they have suffered personal injuries
Snow and Ice Accidents: Common Injuries
- Ankle and Wrist Sprains
- Broken Bones
- Back and Spine Injuries
- Knee Injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Who is Liable in a Snow and Ice Accident?
The property owner, or the person controlling the property, has a responsibility to use reasonable care to prevent unsafe walking conditions due to snow and ice. If reasonable care is not taken, the property owner may be liable for injuries sustained in both natural and unnatural snow accumulations. The property owner may also be liable if a third party moved the snow and the property owner should have been aware of it.
The property owner may be a homeowner, a private company or a municipality. In certain situations, the property owner may have assigned another party responsibility for snow and ice removal. This party may be a property management company or a snow plowing company which neglected its responsibility.
What Should You Do If You Are Injured By Dangerous Snow and Ice Conditions?
As a first step, seek appropriate medical treatment. Injuries on snow and ice can be severe, including sprains, fractures, back injuries and traumatic brain injuries. The sooner you receive a medical evaluation, the sooner you can receive medical treatment.
If you are able, take photographs of the place where you fell as soon as you can after the fall.
It is vital that you act immediately to protect your legal rights. Promptly contact a personal injury lawyer experienced in snow and ice accident cases.
Under Massachusetts law, the property owner must be notified of the accident within 30 days. If timely notice is not sent, your right to bring a claim may be affected.
Choosing a Personal Injury Lawyer Experienced in Snow and Ice Cases
Your legal rights need to be protected after a fall in snow and ice. Consult Breakstone, White & Gluck for a free legal consultation.
With more than 100 years combined experience, our lawyers are skilled in handling personal injury and premises liability cases for clients. We can advise you on how to protect your legal rights and explain whether you may be entitled to damages, including medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.
Our Case Reports
page describes some of the results we have obtained for our clients who have been injured by negligence on snow and ice and other premises liability claims. We have represented clients who have been injured by the negligence of residential property owners and commercial property owners. We are experienced at pursuing these cases with insurance companies and when necessary at trial to obtain the compensation our clients deserve.
If you were injured in a slip on snow and ice, contact us today for a free legal consultation. We can be reached at 617-723-7676, or toll free at 1-800-379-1244, or use our contact form