List of Recent Massachusetts Slip & Fall Cases
Below is a short sample of actual slip and fall injury cases that have taken place in Massachusetts. These cases are also recent, which means they reached final resolution either through a settlement, mediation or trial within the past five years. When evaluating any personal injury case, it is important to remember that no case is exactly alike and results will always vary depending on a number of factors such as the degree of any physical impairment that results from the injury and whether or not it is temporary or permanent. Other factors may include the length and type of medical treatment that was needed such as surgery, or rehabilitative care and the extent of any accumulated medical bills or expenses. Other differences may include the health and medical history of the plaintiff and whether or not the injured party suffered from any pre-existing medical conditions, and whether or not the injury will affect the injured party’s ability to carry on with their occupation and earn income in the future.
Slip and Fall in Supermarket Results in Hip Fracture
In this case, the Plaintiff sustained a hip fracture after entering into a store to purchase some groceries. As the plaintiff made his way into the store, he slipped on a pool of water that had been tracked into the store by employees pushing soaking wet carriages across the floor during a snow flurry. Video surveillance showed that the store failed to place any warning signs or cones and failed to take any steps to clean or dry the area until after the Plaintiff had fallen. The defendant initially claimed that it had taken reasonable steps to clean liquid off the floor and dry the area with electric blowers, but after filing a motion in the superior court, the defendant was forced to turn over a copy of the video which revealed that the defendant took no such steps.
Slip on Ice Causes Herniated Disc Injury resulting in $225,000 settlement
In this case, a Plaintiff suffered a painful herniated disc injury after slipping on a patch of ice that had accumulated over a walkway access to a commercial building. The injured plaintiff initially attempted to treat with physical therapy but when his symptoms worsened, additional diagnostic testing revealed the plaintiff was suffering with a disc herniation ultimately requiring surgery and rehabilitative care. The commercial landlord and property management company argued that the parking lot and walk ways were properly maintained; however, further investigation revealed that a broken water downspout was the primary cause of water accumulation over the walk-way surface leading to an extremely hazardous condition. The case settled at mediation for $225,000.
Spill on Worcester, MA Grocery Store Floor Causes Broken Leg
Here, the Plaintiff sustained a broken leg after slipping on a puddle of liquid that had been left on the floor of a large grocery store. In 2012, the injured Plaintiff had walked into her local grocery chain to do some holiday shopping. While attempting to go around a corner with her shopping cart, the plaintiff was caused to slip and fall on small pool of milk that was created when another customer dropped it. Although the store claimed that it had taken reasonable steps to clean the liquid after the spill, video of the incident showed that the liquid had been allowed to sit unattended for at least 10 minutes before any employees took action to clean up the spill. Further, video footage revealed that at least one employee who had been stacking some shelves in the same isle where the injury took place, looked at the spill but took no immediate action to warn customers or clean up the hazard. The case settled at mediation for $325,000.
What Is Required to Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case?
This is a question that is frequently asked by clients who have been injured in a slip and fall incident. While there are a number of factors that go into any case analysis, there is a common set of factors which must be shown in every case including: (1) a Duty on the part of the property owner to keep the premises safe; (2) a Breach of that duty by the property owner; (3) a showing of Causation linking the alleged harm or injuries to the breach; and (4) a showing that Damages have resulted from the breach. Understandably, all of this “legal talk” may not make much sense without some further explanation, so we will address each of these elements separately:
In Massachusetts, a property owner has a duty to keep his/her property reasonably safe for lawful visitors. Papadopoulos v. Target Group, 457 Mass. 368, 378 (2010). This duty includes an obligation to maintain the “property in a reasonable safe condition in view of all of the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk.” Quinn v. Morganelli, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 50, 52 (2008), quoting Mounsey v. Ellard, 363 Mass. 693, 708 (1973). “If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property …the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger.” Id. at 383.
Once a duty has been shown, the injured party must then show that a landowner “breached” its duty by failing to take reasonable steps to protect its lawful visitors. A breach may be shown through a number of ways and may include evidence of a failure to warn of a potential danger, or failure to correct a known property defect among other things.
Once a breach has been shown, the analysis then turns to the element of “causation” and whether or not the defect or hazardous condition “caused” the injuries complained of. Many times, it is on this element of a negligence claim that a defendant’s insurance carrier will focus as they will attempt to point to almost any prior medical condition as a potential source of the injury as opposed to the actual fall itself.
Lastly, assuming the above elements can be shown, the final element that must be addressed is damages. That is, what damages did the party suffer as a result of the injury. Damages may come in many different forms and may include past, present and future injuries, pain and suffering, both physical and emotional, impairments or limitations on future earning capacity, mental or emotional distress and past and future medical expenses to name a few.
Hiring a Qualified Massachusetts Slip and Fall Attorney
Slip and falls can lead to serious injuries that can have lasting and permanent consequences. At the law office of Curran Law Group, P.C., our Braintree & Weymouth personal injury lawyers provide experienced representation for people who have been injured in slip and falls throughout the Boston area. We have successfully represented numerous victims who have sustained serious injuries as a result of slip and falls and will work aggressively to protect your interests.
Call a Boston Slip and Fall Attorney today at the Law Office of Curran Law Group, P.C. at 781-331-3811 to discuss your rights.