Do You Need a Northampton Personal Injury Lawyer for a Slip & Fall?

“Slip and Fall” is a catch-all name for various cases where there are injuries received by someone as a result of a specific defect or defects that exist on the property of someone else. These are also known as “premises liability” cases.

It does include cases where someone actually slips and falls on something, but it also includes other types of injurious conditions.  I have handled hundreds of these cases throughout my private practice career.

It is important to know that just because you have slipped on or tripped on something on someone else’s property, it is not automatically the fault of the property owner or his agents.

In most of these cases, the law requires that a plaintiff prove that the condition that caused the injury was one that the property owner knew or should have known existed at the time of the injury. The best examples of this are cases of slipping on ice or snow or slipping on something on the floor of a supermarket.

  • ICE AND SNOW: In order to recover for injuries received from slipping on ice and/or snow, the plaintiff must prove that there was an “unnatural accumulation” of the ice and/or snow that caused the slip. This usually means that if someone slips while it is snowing or sleeting it will not be considered an “unnatural accumulation.”
    • The best example of a clear-cut “unnatural accumulation” is a patch of ice and/or snow that is hardened and crunchy with footprints or tire tracks frozen in place. This shows that it has been there for a while and is no longer “natural.” Most cases fall somewhere in the middle of the good and bad examples. That’s where my experience and expert witnesses, including a weather expert, help to shore up any weakness in your case.
  • OBJECT ON A SUPERMARKET FLOOR: Let’s use the banana peel example.  If you slip on a banana peel that is green or yellow, you will probably have a hard time convincing anyone that the peel was there for any significant period of time and that ownership or management should have known it was there prior to the incident.
    • However, if the slip is caused by a banana peel that is brown and slimy (evidence of passing time by ripening), your chances of arguing to an insurance adjuster or jury of 12 that it was there for an unreasonable period of time increase. The same concept is to be applied to any object that may cause a fall.
  • INSUFFICIENT LIGHTING: I recently handled a case where my client was attending an event at a senior center at night, and caught her foot on the top of the curbing as she tried to get onto the walkway in front of the building. She fell and injured her leg. I sent my investigator to determine what the lighting conditions were because I was told people had complained to the management that it was too dark in that area at night.
    • He was able to secure statements from a number of people that they had complained of the darkness prior to this incident. I also hired an expert in illumination measurement who determined that the area was very poorly illuminated at the time of this fall. Faced with this information, the insurance company settled the case for approximately $140,000.