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The Old Legal Standard For Snow And Ice Accidents
For several years, the long-standing legal standard in Massachusetts was that a landowner was not responsible for any accidents which resulted due to his failure to remove a natural accumulation of snow and ice. This standard was essentially an exception to the general rule of premises liability (holding a property owner to the duty of using reasonable care to maintain the property in a safe condition) and was essentially recognition of the difficult and unpredictable weather conditions that all too frequently exist in Massachusetts.
There Is A New Legal Standard
On Aug. 2, 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. In joining with the majority of courts in other states, the SJC concluded that the injured party is no longer required to prove that the accident was the result of an unnatural accumulation in order to prevail. Following this decision, the determination of whether the landowner will be liable for the accident now depends on the particular facts of the case, such as the amount of foot traffic expected on the property, the extent of the reasonably foreseen risk and the cost and burden of removing the ice or snow. Essentially, the standard will be similar to that of all other types of slip and fall cases: the landowner has a duty to act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances.
Lesser Burden On Injured Party
The result of this new legal standard is that property owners should be even more diligent than before in taking all reasonable measures to remove snow and to keep all walkways free of ice. Conversely, individuals who have been injured due to a fall on an icy surface now have a much better chance of prevailing on their cases and in collecting damages for their injuries. If you have been injured from a fall on snow or ice, contact an experienced Massachusetts slip and fall personal injury attorney who can advise you as to whether the owner of the property on which you fell may be legally liable for your injuries. At the Law Offices of Ira C. Yellin, LLC, we are dedicated to obtaining everything that our clients are entitled to receive for the injuries they have suffered as a result of an accident. With offices conveniently located in Franklin, our firm is readily available to assist you with your most urgent and pressing legal needs.