Answers To Frequently Asked Massachusetts Slip And Fall Law Questions
Massachusetts personal injury law encompasses a wide array of accident cases. By far, the most common type of personal injury accident is a motor vehicle accident. Also, extremely prevalent are industrial accidents oftentimes referred to as Workers’ Compensation accidents. Slip and fall accidents, as well, comprise a large proportion of accident cases in Massachusetts. These cases can often be very complex and challenging to the victim of the accident. Here are some answers to frequently asked Massachusetts slip and fall law questions.
How long do I have to file a claim?:
The statute of limitations for a slip and fall claim in Massachusetts is three years. There are some exceptions to this general rule. Most notably, there is an exception for minors who are involved in a slip and fall accident. They generally have three years from their 18th birthday to successfully bring a claim. Regardless of whether or not the victim is a minor or an adult, this three-year time period is very strict and must be adhered to completely.
What is a slip and fall accident?
Slip and fall accidents can happen in a myriad variety of ways. Common examples are slip and falls in supermarkets, slip and falls on snow and ice, as well as slip and falls due to leaks that may occur at rental properties or other similar commercial properties. Slip and fall cases are governed under premises liability principles in Massachusetts. Premises liability law basically means a homeowner or store owner’s liability for negligently causing someone to become injured on one’s premises. While slip and fall accidents are very, very common, also common a trip and fall accidents. These can be caused in an unlimited manner of ways, but common ones are uneven flooring or objects on the floor that should not be there, etc.
What are some common types of injuries that arise from slips and falls?
They can range from the mild to the catastrophic personal injuries. A slip and fall can cause someone to sustain soft injury tissues, which are sprains and strains, or potentially broken bones, or torn ligaments may occur. Depending on the severity of the injury suffered, surgical intervention may be necessary. Sadly, there are potentially catastrophic injuries that can result from a slip and fall accident. This is commonly the case when either the head or the back sustains significant paralyzing trauma.
Will I need a slip and fall attorney for my case?
That really depends on the facts of the case. If your accident was strictly your fault, you definitely don’t need an attorney because there’s no claim to pursue. However, if your accident was, in fact, caused by the negligence of a third-party, then you likely have a claim to pursue. But even if a party was negligent for causing your accident to occur, you still need to have suffered from personal injuries stemming from the accident and are to have a claim.
Are settlements involving slip and falls taxable?
No. Neither state or federal law considers a settlement from a personal injury accident to be taxable. The justification for that rule is that a settlement is intended to make the accident victim whole and is, therefore, not considered a taxable event to the accident victim.
How do I find a slip and fall attorney near me?
The internet is a great place to review attorney websites, as well as the reviews. Even better is a referral from a friend or someone that you can trust to put you in touch with a trusted attorney. Personal recommendations are generally the best ways to go about finding a trusted and capable slip and fall accident lawyer.
How much is my case worth?
That question really depends on whether or not there is a claim to begin with. Remember, you need two things for these types of cases. You need liability and damages. Assuming that both can be established, then the case value is largely predicated on the severity of the injuries as well as the strength of the liability claim against the responsible party. That analysis can be a complicated one that is best performed by an attorney who is experienced with handling slip and fall cases.
Who will pay my medical bills?
Unlike car accidents, which have in place no-fault car insurance benefits, there is no such insurance coverage for slip and fall or other premises liability claims. What that means is that the injury victim’s medical bills, if they are not paid by health insurance, must be paid out of any eventual settlement that results from the claim that is pursued. Additionally, some insurance policies have insurance coverage called Medical Payments Coverage. This is a no-fault benefit, which is typically in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $10,000, which provides no-fault payment to the injury victim for his or her medical bills arising from the accident. However, not all general liability policies carry this coverage in its policy provisions.
How do I get lost wages paid if I miss time from work?
Just like with medical bills, if lost wages are sustained, they will need to be paid back to the victim out of a potential settlement. The reason for that is there are no lost wage insurance payments that are possible through any type of insurance policy other than a general liability insurance policy, which will pay out any type of possible settlement to the injury victim.
What does liability mean?
Liability is crucial for slip and fall accidents because it is liability that determines whether or not a property owner is responsible for one’s accident. This is an issue that comes down essentially to reasonableness. When one determines whether or not there is liability, one must examine whether or not the property owner acted reasonably in maintaining his or her premises. The accident may have been caused by a spilled drink or snow and ice or some other condition which the property owner knew about. If it can be shown that the property owner had notice of the condition that caused the fall and didn’t act reasonably in advance of the fall to address the condition, then that store owner may be considered to be liable under Massachusetts Premises Liability Law.
Can I change attorneys if I’m unhappy with my current one?
Yes. If you have a slip and fall claim or lawsuit with an attorney and you’re unhappy with that slip and fall attorney’s services, you have the unfettered right to change lawyers at any time. In fact, you don’t even need a reason. You have the right to bring your case to another attorney should you decide to do so. Additionally, your attorney may also discharge you as a client. However, if the case is already in litigation, the attorney will need permission from the judge to allow him or herself to be discharged from the case.
Will I have to go to court?
The majority of slip and fall cases, just like with all other personal injury cases, do settle amicably without the necessity of going to court. But cases do need to be tried from time to time. If your case is one in which it is not going to settle, then a trial will be necessary. The trial will be overseen by a judge, and ultimately, it is a jury that decides whether or not toward monetary damage to the injured victim. As a side note, the injured victim in a lawsuit is referred to as the plaintiff, and the person or company that is sued is referred to as the defendant.
If you or anyone you know needs additional questions answered related to a personal injury law in Massachusetts, please call the law office of Christopher Earley today at 617-338-7400. Additionally, be sure to request our free book called The Truth About Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents, which is a free guide intended to educate consumers on how to make the best possible legal decision for their slip and fall case.
Answers To Frequently Asked Massachusetts Slip And Fall Law Questions