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From Snowsuits to Lawsuits – How Bad Weather Affects Massachusetts Personal Injury Litigation

House in the snowIt may be cliché to talk about the weather, but in a winter like the one we are currently experiencing, it is unavoidable. The Bay State has been hit by one blizzard after another, with accumulations measurable not just in inches but in feet. Such extreme weather is bound to affect our lives in many ways, and some of those ways may lead to the courthouse.

Just as the weather complicates our schedules, activities, and even budgets, it can also have an impact on the legal process when claims arise due to events that occur during extreme weather or in the days following such weather. However, the mere fact that an injury occurred during bad weather does not necessarily preclude litigation concerning the injury.

Automobile Accident Cases

Although authorities have attempted to reduce the number of traffic accidents by measures such as parking bans and restrictions on the types of commercial vehicles that can be on the roadways during especially hazardous weather conditions, automobile accidents are still commonplace among those who must venture out.

Although severe weather conditions can complicate matters, it does not, in and of itself, excuse careless or negligent driving. The standard rules of negligence law do apply to wreck cases that occur during bad weather. To be successful in a lawsuit arising from a crash that happened during a snowstorm or other significant weather event, a claimant must still meet the four-pronged test for negligence by showing that the defendant owed him or her a duty of duty care, the defendant breached that duty, the claimant suffered actual damages, and the claimant’s damages were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty.

Slip and Fall Lawsuits

Premises liability suits (sometimes called “slip and fall” or “fall down” cases) may also arise from weather-related circumstances. Businesses and homeowners are expected to take reasonable precautions to maintain their premises in a safe condition and warn visitors of any dangerous conditions that may be present. Again, severe weather conditions may complicate the determination of what is “reasonable” under the circumstances, but it does not totally excuse a defendant’s failure to keep his or her property reasonably safe.

Product Liability Claims

Lawsuits arising from defective products may also arise during weather such as we have experienced this year. In some situations, the product in question is one that is only used during snowy weather (snowbladers, snowmobiles, and the like). In other situations, the problem may be a product’s performance in certain weather, with a likely issue being whether the manufacturer could have foreseen an injury arising during such conditions.

To Speak to an Experienced Attorney about Your Case

An experienced attorney can review the facts and circumstances of your accident and give you an honest opinion as to whether you have a case against another person or business whose actions caused or contributed to your injuries. At the Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, we handle a wide array of personal injury lawsuits, including automobile accident cases, premises liability claims, and product liability lawsuits, and we will be glad to speak to you about your potential claim. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, call (888)262-6664. We represent clients throughout the Cape Cod area, including Plymouth and Hyannis.

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