If you’ve slipped and fallen as a result of snow and ice on the property of a condominium association, can you sue the association?
When winter temperatures drop and there’s moisture in the air, snow and ice accumulation is possible, if not probable. While snow will sometimes melt quickly before posing any real risk, other times, snow and ice accumulation can be extremely dangerous, contributing to the risk of slip and fall accidents.
If you live in a condominium, it’s important that you understand your rights and obligations regarding snow removal as a resident. If you slip and fall as a result of unremoved snow or ice on condominium property, who’s liable?
Important Precedent: Papadopoulos vs. Target
In 2010, the Massachusetts Supreme Court abolished the distinction between natural and unnatural accumulations of snow and ice (which prior to the case had constituted an exemption from premises liability). The result: property owners, including condominium associations, are responsible for clearing snow and ice, and must do so in advance of “unnatural accumulation.” If a property owner fails to remove snow and ice within a reasonable amount of time and an individual slips and falls, the property owner can be held liable for the individual’s damages.
Important Considerations When Determining Condominium Liability
If you have experienced a slip and fall on condominium property, you may be able to hold the condominium association liable for your damages. However, there are a number of important elements to consider first, including:
- How much time passed from the time of snow accumulation and the time of your slip and fall? Was there a reasonable amount of time for the condo association to engage in snow and ice removal?
- Do your condominium association documents make clear who is responsible for snow and ice removal? Condominium associations are almost always responsible for clearing snow and ice that is on public areas; however, responsibility for areas like private decks and balconies, stairways, walkways, and driveways may not be as obvious. If you slipped and fell on your private patio, the association will likely deny liability (and perhaps rightly so).
- Could you have prevented the slip and fall but for your own negligence? If you are pursuing a claim against your condo association, you can be sure that they will try to allege that there was something you could have done to prevent the slip and fall, such as wearing better shoes or using the provided handrail. Be prepared for these arguments, and arm yourself with a good lawyer.
Our Massachusetts Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
Pursuing a slip and fall claim against a condominium association can be intimidating and complex. At The Law Offices of Alan Hildreth King & Associates, our experienced Massachusetts slip and fall lawyers can assist you in holding the association liable for your harm and recovering the damages award that you deserve. Our law firm always offers free consultations and works on a contingency fee basis. Please call us today or send us a message directly to request a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.