Massachusetts Appeals Court Clarifies Law on Responsibility of Landowner to Remove Snow and Ice
New Trial Ordered for Tenant Who Suffered Broken Hip
Have you been injured when you slipped and fell on ice? This case may be important to you.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court has granted a new trial to a plaintiff injured after falling on ice after the Superior Court justice misapplied the legal rule governing open and obvious dangers in a premises liability. The Court limited the application of the open and obvious rule in snow and ice cases.
At the trial, the judge allowed instructions on the defense of an “open and obvious” danger, and failed to instruct the jury on comparative negligence. The verdict was for the landowner which had failed to treat a large area of frozen slush with deep footprints in it.
The case made it clear: The open and obvious defense does not apply to snow and ice cases. Snow and ice do present obvious dangers to pedestrians, but often there is no safer route for a pedestrian to take. The proper questions for a jury is whether the landowner was reasonable in his or her effort to reduce the danger from an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice, and whether the plaintiff was comparatively negligent.
The case is good news for pedestrians, whose rights to recover for injuries in snow and ice cases are made stronger by the case.
For a more complete discussion of this case, please read the article on our website, Massachusetts Appeals Court Clarifies Law on Responsibility of Landowner to Remove Snow and Ice.
The case was Soederberg v. Concord Greene Condominium Association, Appeals CourtNo. 09-P-380, February 25, 2010.
If you have been injured after slipping and falling on ice: Please contact our office if you need legal representation for personal injuries caused by slipping and falling on ice. We have over 80 years of experience on these types of cases.