Boston Premises Liability Lawyers
Boston is home to more than 250 high rises, including more than 30 that are over 400 feet tall. While this makes for a trademark skyline, it also means many staircases, one of the most common locations for slip and fall accidents. Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability claim.
If you were injured on a residential, commercial, or public property in Boston due to a hazard that the owner or possessor of the property should have repaired, you can seek compensation for your injuries.
An experienced Boston premises liability attorney from Finkelstein & Partners can explain this process and also provide details about the services our firm can provide to help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation available in your case.
We have helped the injured throughout the Northeast states for more than 60 years; while these are only past results and no guarantee of outcome in every case, we have garnered for our clients:
- A $2 million settlement from a school district on behalf of a seventh-grader who lost an eye during a school science exhibition because negligent school officials failed to mitigate a hazardous situation where students stood too close to the platform where the exhibition took place.
- A $1.625 million settlement for a client who suffered injuries to his legs when he fell through a hole at the train station that the Port Authority knew about and failed to repair properly.
- A $1.6 million jury verdict for a 12-year-old client who suffered serious injuries from a dog bite.
What Is Premises Liability?
Property owners and possessors must regularly inspect their property for hazards that could injure guests, promptly repair known hazards, and place prominent warning signs to inform guests of known but unrepaired hazards.
Not all injuries you receive due to a property hazard are the liability of the property owner or possessor. To prove a premises liability complaint, you must be able to show that you had entered the property as either an invited social guest or to do business with the owner or possessor.
Property owners cannot intentionally lure trespassers onto the property to cause injury. Otherwise, they do not owe trespassers a duty of care, unless the trespasser is a child who wandered onto the property, curious about a property feature such as a swimming pool, an abandoned appliance, or other attractive nuisance that could cause harm.
Additionally, if the property owner did not know and had no reason to know that the hazard existed, he or she likely cannot face liability for failing to mitigate it.
Types of Premises Liability Accidents in Boston
Many property hazards can injure guests. In Boston, premises liability accidents often involve slip and fall accidents caused by icy or wet walkways or staircases because of many multi-level buildings and inclement winter weather.
Here is an overview of some of the most common types of premises liability accents.
Slip and Fall/ Trip and Fall
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability complaint. These accidents occur when a hazardous condition causes a visitor to slip and fall while on the property.
Slip and fall accidents account for around one million visits to hospital emergency rooms in the U.S. each year and are a major cause of injury, death, and disability for elderly adults.
Some of the property hazards that can cause this type of accident include:
- Wet or icy walkways. Boston sees more than 50 inches of snow each year, which keeps property owners busy shoveling and salting walkways to protect visitors.
- Loose or damaged flooring materials.
- Clutter or debris on the floor.
- Poorly lit stairwells.
- Damaged or improperly constructed staircases, or missing handrails.
- Electrical cords, cabinet doors, and other objects that extend into the walkway.
- Cracked pavement in outdoor areas or potholes in parking lots.
Dog owners are responsible for the damages caused when their dogs bite someone. As with most premises liability claims, the owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy generally covers this type of claim.
Dog owners are strictly liable in Massachusetts, meaning the victim does not have to prove negligence on the part of the dog owner. Liability exists even if the owner had no reason to believe that the dog was prone to aggressive behavior.
Known criminal activity is another hazard that the property owner or possessor can face liability for.
The law requires property owners to prevent criminal activity from injuring their guests through:
- The provision of security guards and security patrol on the premises.
- Equipping apartments, rental homes, and hotel rooms with locking doors and windows and alarm systems.
- Installing lighting and motion sensors to deter criminal behavior.
- Failing to develop adequate policies and procedures for activities such as summer camps and public pools to prevent injury to attendees.
Most of the high-rise buildings in Boston have elevators or escalators for the convenience of the building’s occupants. While these devices help, failing to properly maintain them and address known hazards can cause injury to those who use the device.
Injuries involving elevators or escalators can occur in the following circumstances:
- The elevator malfunctioned, causing it to surge upward or downward or to land hard.
- The door of the elevator malfunctioned, causing it to close on a guest’s body.
- The elevator experienced a power failure that resulted in individuals becoming trapped inside.
- Malfunctioning escalators that reverse directions unexpectedly, causing riders to fall.
- Elevator panels giving way, resulting in people falling off the sides of the apparatus.
- Broken or missing elevator steps.
Swimming Pool Accidents
More than 3,500 people die each year in private residential, hotel, or public pools.
The notion of swimming pool accidents causes many people to think of accidents involving a small child wandering into the pool and drowning. In truth, this is a major cause of death and injury across multiple age groups.
Near-drowning can result in an anoxic brain injury, which is a serious condition caused by oxygen deprivation to the brain. It typically results in extreme and permanent deficits.
There are many other ways that a person can be injured in a swimming pool as well, including:
- Circulation injuries, where drain suction traps someone. This accident can disembowel people.
- Slip and fall accidents resulting from wet surfaces around the pool.
- Diving board accidents.
- Electrocution from the pool’s lighting or other electrical components.
Seeking Compensation After a Boston Premises Liability Accident
If a dangerous property feature on a public, residential, or commercial property injured you, you can seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
While many individuals feel tempted to file a lawsuit without an attorney, an experienced premises liability attorney can provide:
- A free case evaluation, which allows you time to obtain answers to your legal questions and to receive guidance into the legal process of pursuing compensation in a premises liability matter.
- A case value that is based on the expenses and impacts you have incurred due to your injury, as well as those you will likely incur in the future.
- Determination of liability in your case and associated insurance policies that can be accessed to provide your compensation.
- Skilled negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to obtain a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- The timely filing of your court-required paperwork. You must file most personal injury cases in Boston within three years of the accident. Claims against government agencies for injuries occurring on public property require a shorter time limit and process.
- The collection and organization of evidence and witness testimony to prove your case in court.
- In lieu of a fair settlement offer, litigation. Your attorney’s services during litigation include delivering opening and closing arguments, presenting evidence, and examining witnesses.
- Collect your settlement or award.
- A convenient contingent-pay scheme, which means you do not have to pay for the services of your attorney until there is a positive outcome in your case.
The Damages You Can Recover Through a Boston Premises Liability Claim
Massachusetts allows personal injury claimants to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages after being injured because of a property owner’s careless or reckless actions.
In legal claims, “recovering damages” means you obtain compensation in payment for harm. Economic damages refer to compensation for the expenses of your injury, while non-economic damages refer to compensation that provides for the impacts your injury has had on your life.
Some expenses and impacts that are commonly found in damage claims after Boston premises liability accidents include:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
How to Prove Liability in a Premises Liability Claim in Boston
To prove that the property owner or possessor is liable for the expenses and impacts of the injury you incurred as a result of a premises hazard, you must show:
- The property owner knew, or had reason to know, that a hazard existed.
- Despite knowing the condition, the property owner failed to mitigate the risk to guests by repairing or replacing the hazardous feature.
- The property owner’s failure led to an accident that caused your injury while you were legally on the property as a social or business guest, and resulted in expenses and impacts to your quality of life.
Defense attorneys and insurance providers use a few common defenses in premises liability claims. Your attorney should fully anticipate these defenses and will work to counter them on your behalf.
Common defenses include:
- The property owner claims to have had no knowledge or reason to know that the hazard existed.
- The hazard is open and obvious, meaning it could have easily been seen and avoided by the claimant.
- The claimant was at fault for the injuries.
- The defendant does not control the property.
- There was no way for the defendant to foresee third-party conduct that would result in a negligent security complaint.
Hurt in a Boston Premises Liability Accident? We Can Help You.
Boston premises liability accidents can often result in the most serious types of injuries one can experience, including spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, and other damage that can change the course of the person’s entire life.
We are dedicated to providing our clients with superior service and compassion while also aggressively fighting for their right to recover compensation for their injuries. Let one of our experienced Boston premises liability lawyers answer the questions you have about your case, and help you prepare your claim against the property owner or possessor who failed to protect you from harm.
15 Court Square, Suite 800A
Boston, MA 02108