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Slip & Fall Injuries and Lawsuits in the Greater Springfield Region of Western Massachusetts
Presented by Attorney Robert W. Shute, Personal Injury Lawyer
Falls are a surprisingly common cause of injury. Falls and slips can result from many conditions including improperly designed or maintained buildings, walkways, stairways and other structures. There are numerous state laws and regulations that govern in detail the construction, maintenance and lighting requirements that apply to properties that many of us live in, work in, shop in or visit on a regular basis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than one million people in the U.S. are injured in a slip, trip, or fall each year, with over 17,000 fatalities. Common injuries from such falls include hip fractures – an especially devastating outcome for the elderly, head/brain trauma, broken bones (most frequently the spine, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, or hand), spinal cord or neck damage, bruising, ankle or wrist sprains, knee damage, severe contusions, or facial damage. Brain and skull injuries can result in mental impairment. Injuries such as the above can be debilitating or even permanently disabling, involving pain and suffering, extensive medical expenses and lost earnings, for which the injured party should be compensated through the legal process and system.
Even while walking normally, it is possible of course to lose one’s balance, but Personal injury claims and cases arise from slips and falls that entail negligence by a property owner, landlord, employer, nursing home, hospital or other health facility, store, mall, or company. Negligence is determined by whether a reasonable amount of care was exercised in maintaining surfaces or facilities. If a fall is merely the result of a natural event such as the middle of a severe snowstorm, no liability is generally involved. But if an owner or caretaker has failed to clean up dangerous spills, clear off snow and ice from a sidewalk within a reasonable amount of time after a storm, or deal with the frozen drippings from a broken duct or leaky pipe, negligence often can be ascribed. Other correctable hazards include holes in the ground, oily surfaces, broken stairs, obstructions, poor lighting, or a lack of necessary safety warnings.
Same-level falls are more common, but the most dangerous falls are from a higher to a lower level. Of course, slips onto the ground can cause serious injuries as well, especially to the back and neck, and even brain injuries if someone’s skull smashes against a hard surface such as a cement walkway. But falls from heights are most perilous, for obvious reasons. These are a very common category of workplace injuries (see our page on workplace accidents), such as when scaffolding suddenly gives way.
An owner’s or (worker’s) liability can result from multiple conditions: (1) they knew about a safety hazard but did nothing to correct it; (2) they were the actual cause of the hazard; (3) they failed to take the steps that a “reasonable’ person would have under the circumstances. Of course, determining exactly what constitutes “reasonable” in a given case is frequently a challenge.
At the Law Office of Robert W. Shute, I have over 25 years of experience specifically in personal injury law, including countless cases of slips and falls. Due to my focus in personal injury cases, I know exactly how to present such a claim to insurance companies, judges, or juries should a case go to trial. The outcome of such cases can often come down to a nuance in presentation, so be sure to have an expert, qualified personal injury attorney by your side throughout the entire discovery, negotiation, and litigation process to help you file the suit and ensure you receive the fullest compensation possible.
If you’ve suffered a slip or fall injury, you owe it to yourself to schedule with me a free, no-obligation consultation during which I’ll frankly evaluate your claim and help you determine whether a meritorious case can be built with your precise circumstances. As statutes of limitations are quite strict, avoid forfeiting your rights by waiting too long after the incident. We can meet at my conveniently located office in downtown Chicopee MA (in the greater Springfield area), or if mobility is an issue I can go to your home, hospital, or convalescent facility. Please contact me via this website or by calling (413) 592-0999.