Articles Posted in Premises Liability

To win a premises liability case in Massachusetts, you may have multiple options that you can use. If you seek a favorable judgment based upon the “traditional theory” of premises liability, you need proof that the hazard upon which you slipped was something of which the property owner knew or something that had existed for a long enough period of time that the owner reasonably should have known about it if it was being properly diligent. To learn more about your options if you’ve been hurt in a slip-and-fall (or trip-and-fall) accident, be sure you retain skilled Massachusetts premises liability counsel to handle your case.wet floor

A recent example of a slip-and-fall case with a “traditional theory” of premises liability was the accident suffered by D.K. D.K. was a shopper at a supermarket when she slipped and fell, suffering substantial injuries in the process. D.K. discovered that she slipped on an advertising sign that had fallen to the ground. The injured shopper’s lawsuit asserted that the store was liable to her and owed her compensation based upon the legal concept of “premises liability.”

If you slip and fall on something like the sign in D.K.’s case, you can win even without evidence that the store knew about the sign having fallen to the ground. The law in Massachusetts says that if a hazard had certain “physical characteristics” from which a jury could reasonably infer that a substantial amount of time had elapsed since the object was there, the injured plaintiff can still be entitled to a successful verdict.

Legal News GavelWhen you are injured due to someone else’s negligence, such as in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the amount of damages that you’ve suffered. In certain circumstances, though, your ability to recover payment for the full extent of the harm you suffered may be limited, even if you have proof of negligence and of the harm you suffered. One such scenario involves cases where the entity who allegedly harmed you is entitled to immunity. Obtaining full success, then, is making sure that you are able to persuade the court that no form of immunity should apply to protect that person or entity. When it comes to these and other litigation strategies, make sure you have a knowledgeable Massachusetts injury attorney to represent you.

Today, what is a “public” entity versus a private one can be less than perfectly clear, given the increasing prevalence of public-private partnerships. Take, for example, public housing. A public housing program may be operated by a public housing authority (a governmental entity,) but the individual properties may be owned and/or managed by private entities. That was the situation facing a man injured in a recent slip-and-fall case.

J. allegedly slipped and fell while going down the stairs at his public housing apartment building. The resident suffered significant injuries, so he sued several entities for the harm he incurred. The entities he included in his lawsuit were the local housing authority, the owner of the building and the owner’s managing agent.

Legal News GavelWhen you experience the loss of a loved one due to an accident, it is always devastating. If that accident occurred because someone else was negligent, the issues you may be facing multiply. In addition to your family issues, that negligence may create legal issues. The loss of your loved one undoubtedly did major damage to your emotional happiness, and it may also have done major damage to the financial stability of your family. For all of these processes, it is important to retain a skilled Massachusetts wrongful death attorney to represent you and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

Developing and presenting a persuasive case in a wrongful death action involves many types of evidence. A recent example was the case of a man named Albert, who sued a convenience store chain for the wrongful death of his wife, Kimmy. When the couple stopped at the store’s location in Chicopee, Kimmy went inside for coffee while Albert parked the vehicle. As the woman began to enter the store, an 81-year-old man, who may have had a stroke, raced his Ford Explorer through the parking lot and into the façade of the store at more than 55 mph. A store worker was hurt, and Kimmy was killed.

Albert sued the convenience store chain for Kimmy’s wrongful death. In a wrongful death case like this, you can pursue your case under a premises liability theory. This means that, much as with a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident that causes injuries, you can establish the property owner’s liability by showing that there was a dangerous condition present on the property, that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known about the hazard, that the property owner failed to fix the problem, and that this unresolved hazard caused the victim’s injuries.

Discount Retail StoreWhen you are injured in a trip-and-fall case, there are several hurdles you will necessarily have to clear. There are also some additional pitfalls that you may encounter depending on the specifics of your case. One of those potential pitfalls is the “open and obvious” rule, which says that, if a hazard is open and obvious, a property owner is not obligated to fix it or post warnings about it; the property owner or possessor has no legal obligation to do anything about an open and obvious hazard. Fortunately, there are many ways to counter a defense argument that a hazard was open and obvious. To make sure that you are prepared for everything that may come your way in your premises liability case, be sure to retain the services of a skilled Massachusetts premises liability attorney.

One case that showed how it is possible to overcome an “open and obvious” argument was an accident that occurred at a Watertown discount retail store. Jean was walking toward the entrance of the store when she tripped and fell, suffering significant injuries. It was not raining, and the area was not wet at that time.

The customer tripped along a curb area in front of the store, which she alleged was unsafe. Specifically, she presented a negligence lawsuit that argued that the curb was dangerous and defective and that the store either knew or should have known that the curb was dangerous and defective.

Legal News GavelIn Massachusetts, a property owner has a legal duty to those on their property to maintain it in a reasonably safe condition. While many people may associate this obligation with maintaining the property in a hazard-free condition to avoid trip-and-fall and slip-and-fall accidents, the duty actually goes beyond just that. One of the other obligations property owners have is to keep visitors to the property free from harm by certain third-party assaults. When a property owner fails to do so, and you suffer injuries as a result, you may have a claim against that property owner. An experienced Massachusetts premises liability attorney can help you assess your situation and the merits of your case.

An example of this type of scenario was a federal case that recently went before the First Circuit Court of Appeals, whose rulings affect federal cases in Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico. In the case, the plaintiff, Henry, lived in a condominium complex that was attached to a luxury hotel in downtown Providence. This residence came with access to the hotel’s services and amenities. One night, while waiting outside for his girlfriend, Henry noticed a large group of boisterous young people who were going in and out of the hotel’s entry area. At one point, the group appeared to chase and potentially attack an African-American passer-by.

Henry told a valet to get help, but the valet told Henry, “That’s not my problem” and went to go park a car. Henry retreated to the hotel lobby. He informed the hotel concierge of the problem, but before she could act, the mob attacked Henry. They punched, shoved, and kicked him. They held him down while one threw a table at him. In the end, Henry suffered a broken arm in the attack.

Legal News GavelIn many situations, there may be more than one type of legal theory that allows you to win your case and obtain a recovery of damages. For one woman who broke her hip trying to enter a Cape Cod garden store, she was able to advance her premises liability lawsuit even though she didn’t have proof that the store owner had actual notice or constructive notice of the tripping hazard that caused her to fall. The customer succeeded because she persuaded the courts that she should be allowed to go forward based upon something known as a “mode of operation” analysis. This alternate means of pursuing a premises liability case is just one example of how it can pay to have skillful and knowledgeable Massachusetts premises liability counsel on your side.

The injured woman, Linda, was a customer who was attempting to enter the store when she fell. The fall took place along a walkway that was surrounded by a gravel area that the store used to display products for sale. One of the gravel rocks had found its way onto the walkway and caused Linda to trip and fall, which resulted in her suffering a displaced fracture of her right hip.

The customer filed a lawsuit against the owner of the store for her injuries. The store moved for summary judgment, which would have ended Linda’s case before she even got to trial. The store’s argument was that the law of premises liability required an injured person to show the existence of actual or constructive notice, and Linda had proof of neither, so she had no case. “Actual or constructive notice” means that the owner or party responsible for a certain property either actually knew or reasonably should have known about a hazardous condition (such as gravel rocks in a walkway).

Legal News GavelSlip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents are relatively common, but they also can potentially be very serious situations that cause long-lasting or even lifelong impacts upon the people hurt in them. When this harm is a result of the inappropriate action or inaction of others, the injured person may be entitled to a monetary recovery in court. If you’ve been harmed in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accident, there are many things that you should do right away. At the top of your list should be retaining an experienced Massachusetts premises liability attorney to represent you in your case.

Frances was someone who found herself in a slip-and-fall case. She was walking on the property of a senior living facility in Norwood when she fell, allegedly suffering injuries as a result of that fall. When you are hurt in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident, there are several things you can do immediately to help yourself. For example, if you have ready access to a camera, you can take pictures of the area where you fell to preserve an image of the area as it existed at the time of your accident. You can also request a copy of any incident reports the property owner or manager has written up.

Of course, as discussed above, one of the important things you should do is retain skilled injury counsel. Whether you need to collect and present the factual evidence of your case or make legal and procedural arguments before a judge, all of these things can be enhanced by having knowledgeable counsel. In Frances’ case, the latter half of this list (legal/procedural issues) took center stage. The ownership structure of the senior facility involved several layers of business entities, including corporations and LLCs.