Vlog: Slip & Fall

Some of the most difficult cases to win are slip and fall on snow/ice cases, especially if the fall is unwitnessed. So much rides on the steps the victim takes to preserve evidence immediately after the incident, but who is thinking of preserving evidence when they are injured, embarrassed or both? Only lawyers!

Every city/town is different, but many, including Gloucester, require a homeowner/landowner to shovel and salt/sand any public sidewalks which touches their private property. Plus, a landmark case from 2012 called Papadopoulas v. Target, requires property owners to do the same on their own property (or in the alternative, warn people of the danger). So here is what to keep in mind:

  1. Your smart phone is your best friend. If your fall is unwitnessed by another person, you’ll be able to preserve evidence of the icy or snowy condition that caused your fall. Take pictures of it from near and far. You want to see what the whole pedestrian path looks like and close up to see if the ice had salt or sand on it;
  2. If your fall is witnessed, make sure to get the contact info of the witness. That person will be able to corroborate your story later when the property owner’s insurance company tries to deny your personal injury claim;
  3. Make sure you take note of the address at which you fell or the address of the property immediately next to where you fell;
  4. Mass. General Law c. 84 caps all claims for slip and fall on a “public way” (street or sidewalk) to $5,000 against the city or town, so you’ll need the address of the private property owner to maintain a viable personal injury claim against their insurer;
  5. The “Derelict fee” statute requires property owners next to a private road to keep or maintain that private road in a safe condition for people, so the same analysis applies to slipping and falling on a private road;
  6. Assuming 911 wasn’t already called, seek medical attention right away.
  7. Finally, and most importantly, don’t delay in calling Orlando & Associates for a free consultation!