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Slips and Falls - Premises Liability Law - FAQ

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January 19, 2007

In Massachusetts, a landowner must keep his property in a reasonably safe condition. If you slip & fall while on the premises of another because of a defect or a dangerous condition, you may be entitled to damages.

What types of incidents are commonly classified as slip and fall accidents? 

In addition to actually slipping on a hazard, material or substance, other claims that are generally classified as slip and fall accidents are trip and falls, twisting accidents or incidents where you move suddenly but don't fall.

What should I do if I am involved in a slip and fall accident?

You should seek medical attention immediately making sure to tell your doctor where you fell and what caused your fall. You should also have photographs taken of the area where the incident happened as soon as possible. And finally, you should contact an attorney at your earliest convenience so that your rights may be protected.

If I have a slip and fall accident on my own property can I make a claim under my homeowner insurance?

In most cases you cannot make a claim under your homeowner policy for injuries you may have sustained. Most homeowner insurance policies have an exclusion for people who actually live on the property.

If I have a slip and fall accident at work can I sue my employer for injuries that I have sustained?

Usually the answer is no. You cannot sue your employer if you are entitled to collect workers' compensation benefits. However, if there is another entity or party who owned or was responsible for maintaining the area where you fell, you may have a claim against that party.

What types of legal defenses are there to slip and fall accidents?

Generally, insurance companies will claim you were not paying attention, you were carrying things, your clothing or footwear contributed to your fall or you assumed the risk of entering into an unsafe situation.

If you are partly at fault for your slip and fall accident can you still make a claim for injuries?

In Massachusetts you must prove that the Defendant was more then 50% at fault before you can collect damages.

How long do I have to file a claim or lawsuit if I am involved in a slip and fall accident?

In Massachusetts there is a three year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit for a slip and fall accident. However, under certain circumstances you may be required to provide a landowner with prompt notice of a slip and fall accident to remain eligible to file a lawsuit. Therefore, if you are injured in this type of accident, you should contact an attorney at your earliest convenience so that your rights may be protected. Stricter notice requirements exist if the fall occurred on public property.