Walking on ice and snow areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts can result in a slip and fall accident. These premises liability accidents often cause broken / fractured bones and long recovery time. Slip and fall accidents in RI and MA in winter weather often happen outside of business stores and in parking lots. In most areas of the United States, town and city officials as well as private property owners have a responsibility to keep city sidewalks reasonably safe during winter weather. If that doesn’t happen and you are injured by falling on accumulated ice and snow, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Who is liable for a slip and fall
Property owners may include municipalities, the State of Rhode Island, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, private home owners, or a private company. Someone who is in charge of managing the area may also be liable, including whoever has responsibility for removing snow and ice. In addition to property owners, the public has a duty to take reasonable care when waking in a snowy or icy area.
The outcome of a slip and fall case that goes to a jury trial in Providence Superior Court may depend on whether the the owners or others responsible to take care of the premises acted reasonably to protect those legitimately on the premises. The answer to that question often goes to the jury. If you are judged to be contributing to the accident by being careless, you can lose the lawsuit or have your compensation substantially reduced.
Rhode Island has adopted pure comparative fault. This means that if a customer, shopper or visitor falls on ice or snow as a result of their own negligence, their recovery may be reduced by the amount of fault on their part. For example, if someone was web surfing or texting while walking on an icy, slippery parking lot and topples to the ground and that person is found to be 60 percent at fault, they would get 40 percent of their damages from the negligent tortfeasor. Under the same scenario in Massachusetts, the pedestrian who is 69 percent at fault, as a result of their distracted walking and failure to use due care would get nothing. Massachusetts has modified comparative fault. This means that if someone is more than 50 percent at fault they are not entitled to any recovery.
Rhode Island slip and fall attorney
If you fall in an ice or snow area, get medical help right away- even if you think your injury is slight. Often, these types of injuries are not readily apparent. Take reasonable caution and get yourself checked out in the emergency room or doctor’s office. It is also a good idea – if possible – to take a picture of the snow or ice area. If not, it may be possible to return to the site for a picture or have someone else do it.
After checking for injuries, your next move should be a call to a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer or a MA slip and fall attorney who has experience in ice and snow negligence cases. An experienced RI premises liability lawyer or Providence slip and fall lawyer knows the rules concerning these types of accidents in your state or area. The RI injury attorney knows how to protect your legal rights. To avoid a slip and fall on ice or snow, be especially careful when walking in such places. If despite your reasonable care, a fall occurs and you are injured, call a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island or Massachusetts for the help you want and need.
Article by Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer, David Slepkow.
Slip and fall statistics and resources:
- “Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men….Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls….Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.” National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) “slip, trip, and fall prevention experts” https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/