A slip and fall claim in Rhode Island and Massachusetts is a colloquial name for a personal injury lawsuit aiming to hold a property or business owner responsible for failing to keep the premises safe for visitors. Not all slip and fall accidents, however, lead to premises liability and personal injury lawsuits. When they do, however, you are entitled to compensation.
At ODU Law Firm, our premises liability and personal injury attorney in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will investigate your case and help you obtain full and fair compensation. Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises and keep them safe. When they fail to do so, we make sure they are held accountable. Contact us at (401) 209-2029 to schedule a free consultation.
What Constitutes Slip and Fall Cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts?
A slip and fall case is a lawsuit that stems from an incident where a visitor gets hurt due to a dangerous condition on the premises. While it often involves slipping and falling, it is by no means restricted to that narrow scenario. Examples of slip and fall cases include:
- Tripping on a hidden obstacle
- Sliding on an icy parking lot or sidewalk
- Falling into a hidden sinkhole
- Falling through a weak floor or step
To have a slip and fall case, you must be able to prove, at a minimum, that:
- Duty of care. The property owner or manager owes a duty to inspect the premises and address any hazardous or dangerous conditions. This duty varies depending on the jurisdiction and whether it is a commercial property that allows invitees (e.g. shoppers) or a homeowner who invites licensees (e.g., friends and family) onto the property.
- Hazardous condition. A hazard or an otherwise dangerous condition existed on the property.
- Knowledge. The property owner or manager had previous knowledge or notice of the hazardous condition.
- Damages. The victim was allowed on the property (even though the condition existed) and suffered an injury. Damages include economic damages (e.g., wage losses and medical bills) and non-economic (pain and suffering). In some jurisdictions, depending on the facts and circumstances, punitive damages may be sought to punish the wrongdoer and to prevent similar behavior in the future.
These elements of a slip and fall case may seem straightforward, but they can become complex. The standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, meaning you must show that more likely than not, the property or business owner was responsible and, thus, is financially liable.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
To have a slip and fall case where you can obtain compensation for your injuries, an unsafe or hazardous situation must have existed. Common situations include but are not limited to:
- Wet floors or bad flooring
- Poorly lit areas or unmarked step-offs
- Poorly maintained sidewalks
- Unsafe stairs, broken or missing handrails
- Poorly operating escalators or poorly maintained elevators
- Boxes or other items poorly placed or left in the path of foot traffic
- Mishandled or mislabeled liquids, food, or chemicals (can cause burns)
- No warning or hazard signs
These situations are merely examples. Conditions creating a slip and fall accident can materialize in many different ways.
Common Slip and Fall Injuries in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Slip and fall-related injuries vary greatly. The type and extent of the injury depends on the accident itself as well as the location, the environment, what the victim was doing, the victim's age, the victim's overall health or pre-existing conditions, and more. As such, injuries range from bruises to death.
Many of the following types of injuries result from slip and fall accidents:
- Broken bones or multiple fractures
- Bruises, sprains, strains, or soft tissue damage
- Bone or joint dislocation
- Ruptured or herniated disks
- Cuts, lacerations
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries
As mentioned, an injured person's existing health condition can impact the severity of the injury. Elderly and frail victims of slips and falls can suffer hip injuries that, statistically, lead to premature death. Younger victims also suffer when the injury creates significant setbacks and impairs their ability to work in their chosen profession or prevents participation in activities they enjoy for sport or recreation.
As you can see, slip and fall accidents can lead to serious bodily, emotional, mental, social, and financial consequences for the victim.
Liability and Rhode Island and Massachusetts Slip and Fall Accidents
Parties legally responsible for the damages caused to a person due to a slip and fall accident are liable for those damages. Anyone can potentially be responsible, but when it is a slip and fall accident, the usual culprits are:
- The business owner
- The manager of the business
- The property owner
- A company that has been hired to maintain the premises
Proving which one (or more) of these parties was responsible for keeping the property safe can be a central feature in a premises liability case.
Three Reasons to Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
Slip and fall cases are difficult cases because fault is not always clear. So, when you accuse someone else––whether that's a property owner, homeowner, or business owner––for failing to maintain safe premises, they and their insurance companies are not likely to sit by and let the accusation go without fighting it. With that said, here are three reasons why you need a personal injury lawyer to represent you in a slip and fall accident.
- A personal injury lawyer will investigate the slip and fall accident to establish fault. Finding and proving fault is critical in any slip and fall case. Investigating the accident will involve an assessment of the accident location, reviewing any video, speaking to eye witnesses, retaining the services of experts, among other things.
- A personal injury lawyer will prove damages caused by the slip and fall accident. After a thorough investigation, your lawyer will put the pieces of the puzzle together to prove all the damages you seek. They will do this by painstakingly linking the cause of the accident to your injury and then provide supporting documentation linking the injury to all your losses. The damages you seek will be depending in part on the nature and extent of your injuries caused by the slip and fall accident.
- A personal injury lawyer will represent you fully and throughout the course of your case until a settlement is reached or trial has concluded and a verdict awarded. You will not have to deal with the other parties, with the claim, with deadlines, with figuring out the actual value of your case, among other things. Your lawyer will do all of that for you. Mostly, what you will have to do is worry about your own physical, emotional, and mental recovery.
Contact a Slip and Fall Personal Injury Lawyer in Rhode Island and Massachusetts Today
At ODU Law Firm, our slip and fall accident attorney in Rhode Island and Massachusetts has the resources and skill to competently represent you. Upholding your rights and obtaining fair and full compensation is what we do. To find out if you have a viable slip and fall injury case or to simply learn more about your legal options, contact us at (401) 209-2029, or fill out an online form to schedule a free consultation.