Given the amount of snow and ice New England often receives in the winter, incidents involving snow and ice are inevitable. Over 1,500 deaths and 300,000 accidents are reported each year as a result of wintry weather. Slips and falls can be some of the most incapacitating and agonizing injuries. The elderly and children are much more likely to succumb to these types of injuries. Snow and ice also affect the roadways and lead to thousands of car accidents.
Most businesses, homes, and common areas are supposed to be kept clear of snow and ice to protect the public. Historically, the laws of Massachusetts held individuals responsible for injuries caused by snow and ice only when there was an unnatural accumulation, which was understood to be piles of snow or ice caused by the shoveling or moving of snow by the land owner or snow/ice caused by a defective condition on the property (e.g. burst pipe.)
Now, landowner liability extends to injuries caused by natural accumulations of snow and ice. As a result, property owners must timely deal with snow and ice, which means promptly shoveling and ensuring that walkways do not have a snow or ice buildup.
In addition,prior to driving, drivers have a duty to properly clean their vehicle to make sure it is in a safe condition to be operated. This means clearing all snow and ice and making sure the windows are defogged and clear.
Injuries from these types of accidents can become very costly very quickly. Some of the most common injuries include:
Because of the complexities of the law and factual nature of these cases, it is important to give immediate notice. Failure to give notice required by the law could result in you losing your right to pursue a lawsuit!