Understanding Slip and Fall Accidents in Springfield
Springfield, Massachusetts, is home to some really great places to work, sites to visit, shops to browse, and hotels for vacations. But when out and about, shopping at the mall or buying food at the grocery store, , there’s a chance you could encounter a hazardous situation. If you slip, trip, and/or fall, you can hurt yourself. Property or business owners could be liable for damages. The right slip and fall injury lawyer in Springfield will listen to your case and outline your options.
At Cava Law Firm, we are invested in our community and deeply committed to our clients. We shop at the same places you do. We work right around the corner from you. We know the people and the area, like places prone to accidents. We use our legal knowledge and firsthand experience in the community to inform our personal injury law practice.
Our understanding of the Springfield community guides how our slip and fall accident lawyers practice law and why we practice it. Contact Cava Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation.
Slip and fall claims whether on snow and ice or in general can be difficult to prove, and the injuries can be severe and life changing. Many personal injury attorneys avoid these types of cases because they can be complex and put a strain on resources. We, however, do not shy away.
How a Smart Springfield Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer Can Win Your Case
Winning a case isn’t about negotiating the total sum of the settlement. It’s much more. You must first put together a winning argument that is supported by solid evidence. These things all require that you prove all the elements of a slip and fall claim, which also involves proving liability.
Insurance companies and defendants have good challenges they can use against slip and fall claims. They will try to say things like:
- You should have been aware of the dangerous condition because it was obvious or sectioned-off by signs.
- You weren’t paying attention to where you were going.
- Your footwear was inappropriate for the location or circumstances.
- You failed to take the necessary care needed
- You noticed the snow and ice or dangerous condition before you fell.
The common thread in all those arguments is this: you. Insurance companies will argue that you were at fault. They don’t want to pay; and under Massachusetts modified comparative negligence law, they may not have to if a judge or jury could find you 51 percent at fault.
As the claimant, you must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the property owner or business manager was at fault. Providing solid evidence and proactively showing that you were not careless will be critical. The evidence we will use includes, but is not limited to:
- eyewitness accounts
- expert testimony
- a store’s records of internal or external inspections for safety
- the business’s schedule of inspections
- news reports
- security camera footage
- weather reports.
But this is another critical point: securing the evidence. Security camera footage is deleted periodically. We must send a “spoliation letter” quickly to prevent losing key evidence. Thus, after a slip and fall accident, you should contact us immediately at (413) 737-3430.
We will prove liability by satisfying all elements of a slip and fall premises liability claim, which include:
- Duty of care. The owner had a duty to maintain the premises, inspect for hazardous conditions, and timely address hazardous conditions.
- An unsafe condition was present on the premises and the owner was aware or should have been aware of it.
- The accident could have been prevented if reasonable caution was used.
- Because of the owner’s negligence, an accident occurred.
- The victim suffered monetarily quantifiable damages.
With the right slip and fall injury attorney and the evidence to support a claim for damages, we can win your case.
Springfield Slip and Fall Accident Frequently Asked Questions
We know you are anxious about your injury and recovery. Here, we answer some of the most common questions we get about slip and fall accidents in Springfield, Massachusetts.
After a slip and fall, safety is your priority. Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, you will also want to consider:
- Contacting emergency personnel for assistance, especially if you cannot get up.
- Taking pictures and/or videos of the scene while you wait for or after help arrives.
- Gathering contact information of any potential witnesses.
- Requesting a claim form if the accident occurred in a store, restaurant, hotel, or another similar establishment.
- Contacting Cava Law Firm––we will review your case, answer your specific questions, and advise you on your best options.
We understand you don’t want to ask for compensation from family members or friends. It’s good to know that homeowners and many renters pay for or are required to have insurance on their home or rental space. In most personal injury claims in Springfield, a slip and fall injury lawyer will settle with the insurance company.
Causes of a slip and fall are many. Some of the most common we see in our personal injury claims are these:
- Wet floors
- Bad flooring
- Poorly lit hallways, stairways, parking lots, etc.
- Poorly maintained stairs or sidewalks
- Poorly operated or managed escalators or elevators
- Mishandling or mislabeled liquids or substances
- Lack of signs or other warnings
- Blocked or misplaced items in the path of foot traffic
- Uncleared ice and snow from a previous storm.
Likewise, injuries that result from a slip and fall accident are many. Some of the most common we see in our personal injury practice include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Bone or joint dislocation
- Bruises, cuts, lacerations
- Soft tissue damage, strains, sprains
- Neck and back injuries
- Head injuries.
Keep in mind, too, that a person may have a pre-existing health condition that could exacerbate any one of these injuries. For example, an elderly person with osteoporosis can easily break a hip from a simple fall. Hip fractures are particularly devastating because studies, like this one published by BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, show seniors have a high risk of dying within one year after a hip fracture.
In Massachusetts, for a personal injury claim, you can seek compensatory damages. Compensatory damages refer to special and general damages.
Special damages include:
- Property replacement or repairs
- Medical expenses (past and future)
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity (if you can’t work in the same position or can’t work at all)
- Household expenses.
General damages include:
- Pain and suffering
- Disability or impairment
- Mental anguish
- Reduced quality of life
- Loss of companionship (in wrongful death cases).
Massachusetts does not award punitive damages in personal injury cases.
Your time is limited. According to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 260 § 2A, you have three years from the date the cause of action accrued. That may seem like a lot of time, but it isn’t. It takes time to investigate and negotiate. Plus, insurance companies sometimes try to exhaust the time through settlement negotiations, to prevent you from filing a timely lawsuit.