The National Safety Council reported that in 2020, there were nearly 21 million preventable, nonfatal injuries in the United States. The majority – 33 percent of these injuries – were caused by falls. Tragically, falls also accounted for over 42,000 preventable deaths in the same year.
Slip-and-fall accidents are common and only take a fraction of a second to occur, but the consequences can last a lifetime. They can have a wide range of causes, sometimes being caused by another party’s negligence. If you got hurt or lost a loved one in a slip-and-fall accident, you know too well the pain and suffering these accidents can cause. The good news is that you may be able to seek financial damages and get your life back on track.
The premises liability lawyers at Kiley Law Group have over 40 years of experience in securing compensation for slip-and-fall accident victims. Our attorneys are ready to hear your story and explain your legal options. Schedule a free case consultation by calling (888) 435-1321 or filling out the contact form on our website.
Let’s explore the most common causes of slips and falls and how you can pursue the compensation you deserve.
Wet and Dusty Surfaces
Surfaces can become wet and slippery for a variety of reasons including:
- Floor cleaning
- Rain runoff from shoes and clothing
- Leaking doors, windows, and sanitaryware
The business owner should ensure that reasonable precautions are taken at all times to prevent floors from becoming wet and dangerous, including using safety signage while floor cleaning is in progress.
Dust and debris can also make floor surfaces very slippery. Therefore, regular and safe cleaning practices are essential to keep surfaces clean at all times.
Poor lighting greatly increases your chances of slipping, tripping, and falling. The risk on stairways is even higher. That’s why every business owner should ensure there is adequate lighting during the day and at night to keep all users safe.
Lack of Handrails
The absence of handrails makes slip-and-fall accidents much more likely on stairways and ramps. Handrails provide security for all users, but especially those with balance issues.
To illustrate the importance of handrails, take the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board regulations as an example. This body ensures that public buildings are accessible for disabled persons. It requires all stairways in public buildings to have continuous handrails on both sides. If the lack of a handrail contributed to your accident, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.
In a busy work environment, it could be tempting to store boxes, papers, and other materials in a hallway temporarily. Or, in a busy supermarket, employees may need to restock shelves during working hours, creating obstacles in the aisles.
Any clutter in walkways greatly increases the likelihood of someone slipping, falling, and sustaining an injury. In these cases, the business owners may be liable if they did not provide proper protocols, training, or supervision to keep walkways clear.
Buildings that are open to the public or hold large numbers of workers require regular maintenance. This should include checking that all floor surfaces are level, safe, and free of trip hazards.
When maintenance is neglected, the following could be found on the premises:
- Torn carpet
- Loose mats
- Poorly maintained wood flooring
- Cracked/broken tile
The outside of a building can quickly become treacherous if it is not well-maintained. Some hazards include:
- Potholes in the parking lot
- Uneven pavement
- Cracked and broken sidewalks and pathways
In public areas, local municipalities are usually responsible for maintaining roads and sidewalks. Establishing liability in premises liability cases can be complex, and there may be more than one liable party. That’s why it’s good to consult with an experienced premises liability lawyer at Kiley Law Group. Each case is unique, and our lawyer can explain the legal options you can pursue.
Ice and Snow
Massachusetts is famous for its cold, snowy winters. Therefore, property owners and local municipalities need to have winter safety procedures in place to minimize the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
- Shoveling snow
- Plowing streets
- Salting sidewalks, paths, and entryways
Kiley Law Group attorneys have a great track record in similar cases. For example, our attorneys secured a settlement of $190,000 for a fractured arm injury from a fall on black ice in a premises liability case.
Of course, every case is unique, but don’t accept a settlement from an insurance company until you have consulted with our qualified Massachusetts premises liability lawyers. We can calculate and fight for a settlement that takes into account all the suffering you have experienced and may experience down the road.
According to the National Safety Council, falls, slips, and trips were the third-most common cause of occupational injuries in 2020. In addition, employees aged 55 and over were at the highest risk of injury.
Some workplaces, such as construction sites and agricultural settings, will always present a higher risk of slips and falls. However, all industries need to follow OSHA guidelines and take preventative measures to keep accidents to a minimum.
Some preventative measures include:
- Supplying personal protective equipment, including appropriate footwear
- Keeping walkways dry and clear of obstacles
- Using fall protection gear when working at heights or in other high-risk situations
- Ensuring work areas are clean and free from clutter, waste, and debris
However, it is not enough to create protocols and provide safety equipment. Employers must regularly train employees in safe working practices and monitor their compliance. This includes providing safety training for all new hires before they start work.
Almost all employers in Massachusetts must have workers’ compensation insurance. Employees who have been injured at work are usually entitled to workers’ compensation, whether negligence was involved or not.
However, workers’ compensation usually only covers:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings
The true impact of your slip and fall injury at work may be greater than this. Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance may prevent you from filing a lawsuit against your employer. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at Kiley Law Group could give you the best chance of securing fair compensation by exploring other legal avenues that are open to you.
Wearing footwear that is ill-fitting or not suitable for the environment can increase your risk of falls at any age. However, for seniors, the risk is even greater. The National Council on Aging advises that wearing well-fitting shoes and getting regular foot care can reduce your fall risk.
The same report highlighted that the following types of footwear pose a risk to older adults:
- Shoes without adequate laces, straps, or buckles
- Heels higher than 1 ¾ inches
- Narrow heels
- Smooth treads
In a slip-and-fall accident lawsuit, the opposing counsel may argue that improper footwear contributed to or was to blame for your fall.
Rather than assuming you don’t have a case because you were not wearing the right type of footwear when you fell, talk to a premises liability lawyer. He or she has the experience and legal knowledge to inform you of your options.
Massachusetts follows a modified comparative negligence law. This means that if you are less than 51-percent liable for your injury, you might be able to claim compensation. However, proving liability can be complicated, so it’s beneficial to seek advice from a qualified attorney before deciding whether to proceed with your case or not.
The Importance of Cause in Proving Liability
To meet the legal standard for proving liability, it’s vital to establish exactly what caused your accident. A premises liability lawyer must demonstrate that the following criteria have been met:
- Duty of care: The owner or landlord of the building owed you a duty of reasonable care when you entered the premises
- Breach of duty of care: The owner or landlord breached his or her duty of care by actions or negligence
- Cause: Your injury occurred due to the negligence of the owner or landlord
- Damages: The injuries sustained caused economic or non-economic damages, for which you are entitled to compensation
Collecting evidence from the scene, such as photographs or eyewitness testimony, may assist your lawyer in establishing the cause of the accident and who is liable.
What Premises Liability Lawyers Can Do for You
Property owners and landlords are not automatically liable for every accident that occurs on their premises. To prove liability and pursue compensation, you need to work with a skilled Kiley Law Group premises liability lawyer.
If we agree to take on your case, our lawyers will explore every legal avenue open to you and fight hard to protect your rights. Read our client testimonials for an idea of how we can make a difference for your case.
Then, take the first step on the road to justice by scheduling a free case evaluation with a compassionate and experienced Kiley Law Group lawyer. Call us 24/7 at (888) 435-1321 or complete the contact form on our website to speak to a member of our legal team.