Personal Injury Appeals Court Decision Covers What Needs to Be Shown in Premises Liability Case

Whenever you visit businesses in Massachusetts, the owners and managers of the property are expected to keep the premises reasonably safe for customers and members of the public. If a business fails to do so, they could be held liable for damages suffered by anyone injured. The injured party must show that there was an unreasonable danger that the owner knew or should have known existed. This can be proven by the injured party showing that the business or its employees created the dangerous condition, were made aware of the condition, or should have seen the dangerous condition.

For example, a person injured in a grocery store may be able to rely on a witness who either saw or created a spill in the store and then made the management aware of the spill. If the spill was not cleaned up in a timely manner, and it caused the injured party to fall, the witness testimony could be used by the injured person as proof of negligence. Another example of proof in a premises liability case would be records kept by the store of checks performed by maintenance staff throughout the day. If a spill or foreign substance was left for hours in an area checked at regular intervals, and during this time a maintenance worker should have seen it, the business may then be held liable for the spill because even though it was not “known” like the first example, the business should have discovered the spill during one of the routine maintenance checks.

In Stewart vs. Five Bridge Inn, LLC (14-P-1878), the Appeals Court of Massachusetts reviewed whether or not there was enough proof of negligence to hold a hotel liable for a woman’s injuries. The woman was a guest at a wedding and was walking toward the venue when she fell, fracturing two main bones in her leg. The woman alleged in her suit that her fall was caused by an irregularly sized rock embedded in the gravel parking lot. However, the woman also stated that she didn’t know why she fell and whether the rock played any role in her fall. The Superior Court determined that the woman did not connect her injury in the fall to any negligence by the hotel, and it entered a summary judgment in favor of the hotel. The Court of Appeals agreed and affirmed the lower court’s decision.

The Massachusetts personal injury attorneys at the Law Office of James K. Meehan are experienced premises liability lawyers who can help you negotiate and litigate your case. Premises liability law can differ, depending on the location of the fall or the contributing circumstances, so it is important to have attorneys familiar with the law at your side. Our attorneys have the knowledge you need to fully pursue your premises liability action. For a free, confidential consultation, call our office today at 508.822.6600.

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Massachusetts Supreme Court Ruling Allows Injured Couple to Keep Millions in Awarded Damages, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, September 28, 2015
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Affirms Multi-million Dollar Verdict in Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Suit, Massachusetts Injury Lawyers Blog, September 15, 2015