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Winter Worries: Falls & More

Well, the weather outside is frightful…

It’s the time of year when holiday songs stay with us. It’s also that time of year when treacherous weather conditions exist as well. When we inevitably have to walk outside, it isn’t always easy going. Snowy or icy surfaces make it difficult to navigate and heighten the risk of falling. Sometimes these conditions are preventable and sometimes it may have resulted from a property owner’s neglect.

The Old Law

For a long time in Massachusetts, the law held that to prove such negligence, the conditions had to have been the result of an unnatural accumulation of snow and ice, instead of a natural accumulation. This proved rather challenging to establish in many cases.

The New Law

That all changed when a landmark case was issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in 2010. The court eliminated the unnatural versus natural standard and replaced it with a reasonable duty of care standard. Now a property owner owes a duty to all lawful visitors to use reasonable care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all circumstances. As always, this type of claim is fact driven. The more detail and evidence to prove that the conditions were unreasonably safe, the better the opportunity to make a claim for personal injury.

What To Do

Take photographs of the conditions that led to the fall as soon as possible. If there are any witnesses ask for their contact information. Report it to the property owner if you can, especially if it is a business. Seek immediate medical treatment making sure to inform the doctor of how you were injured. Contact my office immediately as there may be further details I may need for a potential claim. A consultation is free and there is no fee unless I am successful on your behalf.


Have you had a slip or fall this winter? Are you curious if the property owner is responsible? Give Attorney Angelo a call at (508) 675-7600.

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