Whether you’re at a friend’s house, a shopping mall, or a restaurant, you have the right to expect a reasonably safe environment. Unfortunately, negligent property maintenance and unsafe conditions lead to countless injuries and deaths every year.
In Massachusetts, premises liability law holds property owners responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property. Read on to explore the key aspects of premises liability in Massachusetts and what you should know if you find yourself in such a situation.
Duty of Care
Property owners in Boston and the surrounding areas are legally obligated to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This means taking necessary precautions to prevent accidents. Generally speaking, the level of care required depends on the status of the visitor:
- Invitees — These are visitors who are expressly or implicitly invited onto the property for the benefit of the property owner, such as customers in a store. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care, including regular inspections and the prompt repair of any hazards.
- Licensees — These are social guests who are allowed onto the property. Property owners have a duty to warn them about any known dangers.
- Trespassers — Property owners generally owe trespassers a lower duty of care. However, there are exceptions, including the “attractive nuisance doctrine” that requires owners to protect children from dangerous conditions, such as installing secure fencing around swimming pools.
To establish a Massachusetts premises liability claim, you typically need to prove the existence of three elements. These are:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care.
- The owner breached that duty by failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition.
- Your injuries were a direct result of the owner’s breach of duty.
Common Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability cases encompass a wide range of scenarios, each involving potential hazards that can lead to accidents and injuries. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their premises in a safe and secure condition, and when they fail to do so, they can be held liable for resulting injuries. Some of the most common types of premises liability cases include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Inadequate security leading to assaults
- Dog bites or animal attacks
- Poorly maintained or defective structures
- Swimming pool accidents
- Hazardous conditions in stores or public places
Massachusetts follows a comparative negligence rule, which means that even if you’re partially responsible for your injury, you may still be entitled to compensation. Your recovery may be reduced based on the degree of your own negligence, however, so it’s essential to consult with an attorney who can help you navigate this complex legal situation.
Statute of Limitations
In Massachusetts, you generally have three years from the date of the accident to file a premises liability lawsuit. Failing to file within this timeframe can result in the loss of your right to seek compensation. Although you technically have three years, waiting until the last minute can harm your case. Gathering evidence becomes more challenging with each passing day, and the severity of your injuries may be called into question if you wait months or years to file.
Seek Legal Counsel
Premises liability cases can be intricate, and it’s often challenging to prove negligence on the part of a property owner. Consulting with a skilled personal injury attorney helps to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. An attorney can help you gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and, if necessary, take your case to court.
Contact a Massachusetts Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, the experienced legal team at Altman & Altman Trial Attorneys is here to help. We have a proven track record of helping clients obtain the compensation they need in a timely manner. Let us advocate for your rights and provide the legal support you need during this challenging time. Contact Altman & Altman Trial Attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.