Articles Tagged with Massachusetts slip and fall lawyer

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Massachusetts Slips And Falls In Stores

Massachusetts slips and falls in stores happen all the time.  Many of my Massachusetts slip and fall clients have the misfortune of falling while shopping.  Whether it be at the local coffee shop, or while shopping for groceries, or shopping for clothes, people are injured much too often at stores.  It is shocking how common these accidents occur. Oftentimes, store owners fail to make sure their stores are reasonably safe for customers.  That is what typically causes these accidents.  This branch of law is called premises liability.

It is important to keep in mind however that not ever fall (and resulting injuries) are the legal fault of the respective store.  Rather, before the store can be held liable for your injuries, it must be shown the store had notice of the condition you claim caused your injuries.

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Not to worry.  One of the hallmarks of personal injury law is that the injury victim does not get billed an hourly rate.  Rather, the legal fee is a percentage of the gross amount recovered for the client. 

Nearly all Massachusetts personal injury lawyers – as well as personal injury lawyers in other states -  take slip and fall cases on a contingency fee basis.  What that means is that your attorney will take 33 1/3% (or possibly more if your case goes into suit) of any settlement or judgment amount as his/her legal fee at the conclusion of the case.  If your attorney advances any costs in prosecuting your claim, it is you that is ultimately responsible for any such costs. 

With contingency fee cases, your attorney is required by the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct to provide you with a copy of the signed, contingency fee agreement.  This is the agreement that formalizes the attorney/client relationship.  If your attorney does not provide you with a copy of the fee agreement, ask him/her for a copy of same.

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Not to worry.  One of the hallmarks of personal injury law is that the injury victim does not get billed an hourly rate.  Rather, the legal fee is a percentage of the gross amount recovered for the client. 

Nearly all Massachusetts personal injury lawyers – as well as personal injury lawyers in other states -  take slip and fall cases on a contingency fee basis.  What that means is that your attorney will take 33 1/3% (or possibly more if your case goes into suit) of any settlement or judgment amount as his/her legal fee at the conclusion of the case.  If your attorney advances any costs in prosecuting your claim, it is you that is ultimately responsible for any such costs. 

With contingency fee cases, your attorney is required by the Massachusetts Rules of Professional Conduct to provide you with a copy of the signed, contingency fee agreement.  This is the agreement that formalizes the attorney/client relationship.  If your attorney does not provide you with a copy of the fee agreement, ask him/her for a copy of same.

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Negligence is one of three prongs of tort law (the two others being strict liability and intentional wrongs, but more on these in future posts).  Negligence is defined by Black's Law Dictionary (Second Ed.) as "The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would have exercised in a similar situation; any conduct that falls below the legal standard established to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm."  But what does that really mean?

The word refers to conduct that is considered objectively unreasonable.  For example, if you slipped and fell on ice in front of a store, and the store-owner had notice that the gutter above his store was leaking water onto the sidewalk and that this water would freeze in the winter, then that store-owner may have acted unreasonably, or negligently, in failing to correct the problem.  It was foreseeable – on the part of the store-owner – that someone would slip and fall on the ice (or maybe he or she even knew of slips and falls in the past and did nothing to correct it). 

Or, let's take the example of an automobile accident.  If a driver is driving erratically and ends up injuring someone, that driver may have been operating his automobile negligently, because he or she could have reasonably foreseen that someone would be injured as a result of his or her unreasonable conduct.

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Generally in Massachusetts, if you slip and fall at a retail store, the store will refuse to give to you a copy of the incident report.  The insurance adjuster assigned to your claim will also refuse to give to you a copy, even if you have an attorney working the case for you.

Usually, the only way to get your hands on the report is for your attorney to file a lawsuit against the store.  During the discovery phase of the litigation is when the incident report will be forked over by the attorneys representing the store.

Therefore, if you are having trouble getting your hands on the accident report, do not be surprised if the store refuses to give it you, prior to litigation.  Finally, if you are hurt at a retail store, make sure to report your accident to store personnel immediately.  That is very important!

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Massachusetts Slip And Fall Lawyer

As a Massachusetts slip and fall lawyer, I have learned these cases are hard to win in Massachusetts.  These cases can lose at trial for a number of reasons.  Usually, these cases are difficult because it is assumed the person that was injured was not being careful enough about watching where he/she was going.  In order to defeat these assumptions, evidence must be presented to show that the property owner – or whomever was responsible for keeping the area safe – was in fact negligent.

Photographs showing the area of the fall can be very helpful evidence to show negligence.  Good, clear photographs that were taken at the time of, or soon after the accident happened can be very helpful in showing that a property owner was not reasonable in maintaining the property.  In fact, quality photographs can help with all types of personal injury cases.  Also, a professional photographer can oftentimes help to professionally present the accident scene, or the injuries suffered by the victim.

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