Trip and Fall Attorney in Essex County, Massachusetts
When you’re injured on someone else’s property (be it private, public, or government-owned), you may have grounds to sue for damages under state law. However, these lawsuits can be quite complicated, and most accident victims find they need to work with a personal injury attorney. One specific type of case that we’re able to assist clients with is a trip-and-fall accident, which needs to be structured in a specific way to comply with the details of the law.
For over 40 years, we’ve been helping people process their injury claims and get the compensation they need to move on with their life after an accident. If you’d like to learn more about this and your options for seeking damages, call us at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh. We’re located in Essex County, Massachusetts, and are able to help clients throughout the region in Peabody, Danvers, Salem, and Beverly.
Premises Liability in Massachusetts
Premises liability is the first legal concept you’ll need to understand when dealing with cases like these. This law states that when a person owns or manages a property, they have a certain duty of care to anyone who is visiting the property to keep it free from hazards or potential dangers that may injure the visitor. Therefore, if someone is injured while on the property, they can look to the property owner’s duty of care and hold them liable for damages.
Of course, there are some limits on this law that can protect property owners in certain circumstances. One such limit is defining who a “visitor” is. For example, the premises liability law does not extend to anyone who’s trespassing illegally on the property. It does, however, cover those who are invited onto the property, which includes hired workers. In the case of public areas such as a grocery store, there is no such restriction on whether the visitor is or isn’t “invited.”
There are several types of accidents that can fall under a premises liability claim. These can include:
Swimming pool accidents
Construction site negligence
Building code violations
You have three years from the incident when filing a claim for an injury on public property, in a store, or on private property.
Trip and Fall vs. Slip and Fall
Two of the most common premises liability accidents are trip-and-fall cases and slip-and-fall cases. These two are often confused for one another, and though they may seem interchangeable, they are not:
Trip and fall: A trip-and-fall accident occurs when an individual trips over something and falls forward. Common injuries associated with these cases occur on the face, wrists, knees, or chest.
Slip and fall: A slip-and-fall accident occurs when someone slips and falls backwards, resulting in injuries to the tailbone, elbows, head, or neck.
In any personal injury case, you’ll have to determine who should be held liable for the accident happening, and this can be one of several different parties:
Property owner or homeowner: If you’re on private property, such as someone’s home or apartment, and an injury occurs due to unsafe conditions or hazards on the property that should have been taken care of, the owner is likely the one to hold blame.
Business owner: In cases where a customer or client is hurt while at a business, it’s possible that the business owner will be the one responsible.
Government entity: When an accident occurs on government property, such as in a courthouse, the government agency that runs the building will be liable.
Your own carelessness: Lastly, if the accident occurred not due to the owner’s negligence but your own, you may not have any grounds to file a lawsuit.
Proving fault in a case like this requires a large amount of evidence and documentation that clearly shows liability. This can be hard to gather and present on your own, so it’s recommended you work with a trip-and-fall attorney to maximize your chances for a favorable outcome. In general, you will need to prove three things to show fault:
The owner of the property had a duty of care to the visitor and neglected this duty.
This neglect caused the condition that led to the fall
You sustained injuries from this fall
It’s also worth noting that just because an owner claims to have not known about the hazard doesn't necessarily mean they won’t be held liable for it. You may be able to show that they should have known it was dangerous by a “reasonable” person’s standards.
Trip and Fall Attorney Serving Essex County, Massachusetts
If you live in or around the Essex County, Massachusetts, area and would like to learn more about filing a trip-and-fall accident claim, call us at the Law Offices of Stephen D. Walsh.