Because of our climate here in New England, slips and falls on snow and ice are quite common. Generally, these cases are claims for negligence against a snow plow company, property owner, or other potentially responsible party.
The burden is on the injury victim to show that the party responsible for snow and ice removal where you fell failed to reasonably remove the snow, ice, or both, which led to your injury. These cases are very fact specific and have become easier to win due to changes in recent years to Massachusetts snow and ice law. Before 2010, Massachusetts landowners would only be held liable for negligence if there was an “unnatural accumulation” of snow and ice on their property. Proving that standard was met was very difficult. That basically meant the courthouse doors were closed for these claims. The burden is on the injury victim to show that the party responsible for snow and ice removal where you fell failed to reasonably remove the snow, ice, or both.
That prior legal standard for snow and ice liability would be replaced by the groundbreaking case of Papadopoulos v. Target Corporation. In that case, the highest court in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court, decided in that case that landowners must keep their properties reasonably clear of snow and ice. That does not mean landowners must make sure there is not a single shred of snow and ice on their property. Rather, what it means is that deciding what is “reasonable” removal of snow and ice would be judged on a case by case basis. The courts were welcoming cases they previously rejected. That means thousands of Massachusetts slip and fall victims would now be able to be compensated for their injuries.