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If You Slipped and Fell on Snow or Ice

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 the snow blow 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.

The 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 the property. Proving that standard was met was very difficult. That basically meant the courthouse doors were closed for these claims.

That prior legal standard for snow and ice liability would be replaced by the groundbreaking case of Papadopoulos Versus Target Corporation. In that case, the highest court of 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 deciding what is “reasonable” removal of snow and ice would be judged on a case-by-case basis. The courts are welcoming cases they previously rejected. That means thousands of Massachusetts’ slip and fall victims would now be able to be compensated for their injuries. Massachusetts’ law for these accidents is very extensive. Because of how extensive it is, it pays to have an experienced attorney on your side.

 

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