Search Site
Menu

How Can the Weather Affect a Snow-And-Ice Case?

As we have mentioned in prior blogs, following Papadopoulos v. Target Corp. 457 Mass. 368 (2010), the standard of care of a landowner for a slip and fall accident on snow and ice changed from having to show an artificial or unnatural accumulation of ice to whether the landlord acted reasonably in relation to the threat of harm posed by the snow and/or ice condition. The focus is on the conduct of the defendant who is obligated to use reasonable care in treating the condition that led to the fall. This is consistent with the standard in premises liability cases generally. The Supreme Judicial Court was clear that such a focus is now the appropriate one for snow and ice cases.

How do we prove lack of reasonable care you might ask? Several factors come into play. For one, we will need to establish the condition of the surface area where the fall occurred at the time of the accident. Weather records help significantly in this regard because we can then show the climatic conditions at the time of the fall. Your attorney must also inquire into the conditions in the days and hours prior to the fall. This will provide some insight as to whether the landowner acted reasonably. For example, if a snowstorm was ongoing at the time of a plaintiff’s fall, it is more difficult to show that the landowner failed to act reasonably. Quite simply, there was not sufficient time for the landowner to respond to the threat created by the storm. See Wexler v. Stanetsky Memorial Chapel, Inc., 2 Mass. App. Ct. 750 (1975). However, if several days passed without precipitation and then the client was hurt, the reasonableness of the landowner’s snow removal/ice treatment effort is certainly more questionable.

Another major factor in determining the reasonableness of the landowner’s actions can be the type of snow removal methods utilized by the landowner to clear the surface area in question of snow and ice. As referenced in Papadopoulos, a landowner should be able to equip themselves quite adequately with whatever they need to remove snow and ice. If the landowner hires a snow removal service to treat the area(s) in question with salt or sand then the failure of the snow removal company to treat the area properly should create an additional defendant. Typically, multiple defendants help to bring about a successful recovery in negligence actions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Feinberg & Alban, P.C. fervently protects your rights
  • The Boston firm of Feinberg & Alban, P.C. specializes its practice in the area of personal injury.

    The attorneys serve the entire state of Massachusetts in addition to affiliating with lawyers in other states to handle cases outside of Massachusetts.

  • $7.7 Million Award for Feinberg & Alban Client in Personal Injury Trial

    Boston Attorneys Win Highest Injury Verdict in Massachusetts in 2011 & 2012.

Client Reviews
  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Robert Feinberg did a fantastic job handling our case. He is a thoughtful, caring man, cordial and a complete professional. The settlement we received was more than we had ever anticipated, his legal work is beyond reproach. Thank you Robert!!

    Read more

    Robert Bard

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    After my motorcycle accident I contacted Feinberg & Alban. I met with Marsha for a consultation and she was great. Their entire team kept me in the loop for the entire process. Colleen was also a part of my case, she help me with understanding a lot ...

    Read more

    Beantownie 617

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    I will be forever grateful to Robert and his team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. He is the best of the best and I truly cannot recommend his expertise enough. Having Robert represent me brought me great comfort. I never once doubted that he would not be s...

    Read more

    Mitchell Petitti

  • lawyers
    5.0/5.0

    I will be forever grateful to Robert and his team at Feinberg & Alban, P.C. He is the best of the best and I truly cannot recommend his expertise enough. Having Robert represent me brought me great comfort. I never once doubted that he would not be s...

    Read more

    Client

  • google
    5.0/5.0

    Robert and his team were unbelievably caring and thorough in working on my interests. It was a very serious case. It needed much attention and skill. Robert and his team were always there for me from the time I was in the hospital. They got me an ama...

    Read more

    Jason Lebovitz

See all reviews
Awards & Affiliations
Contact us

Quick Contact Form