July 18, 2019

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Premises Liability in Massachusetts

Boston Law Firms

Premises liability is the area of law which holds property owners and those in control of properties responsible for maintaining a reasonably safe environment for the people who enter the property, including customers, guests, employees, other invitees, and even trespassing children.

Premises Liability Accidents and Incidents

Examples of accidents and incidents which can fall under premises liability in Massachusetts include:

  • Slip and fall
  • Assaults due to negligent security
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Elevator and escalator injuries
  • Stairway collapse
  • Fires
  • Building collapse
  • Porch collapse
  • Railing failure
  • Toxic exposure

Injuries to Trespassing Children

Massachusetts is one of many states which hold property owners responsible for injuries to trespassing children under certain circumstances.

In situations where the property owner knows or should know that children are likely to trespass and that there is a potential for serious injury or death, the property owner is required to eliminate the danger or take steps to protect trespassing children from being injured.

Swimming pools, swing sets, trampolines, and construction sites are among the dangerous conditions which often cause injuries to trespassing children.

Negligent Security

Property and business owners can be held responsible for injuries and death caused by assaults, including sexual assault, due to negligent security.

Obviously, there can be events beyond a property or business owner’s control, and some attacks may not be preventable. Negligent security occurs when the danger was reasonably foreseeable and the property or business owner failed to take the proper steps to minimize the danger.

Situations which pose a foreseeable risk include:

  • Certain types of businesses and properties, such as banks, ATMs, and nightclubs
  • Properties with a history of criminal attacks
  • Properties in high crime areas
  • Direct threats of violence

Examples of negligent security include:

  • Inadequate number of security personnel
  • Inadequate security cameras or failure to monitor cameras
  • Inadequate lighting in parking lots, parking garages, and walkways
  • Inadequate building access control in hotels and motels
  • Lack of panic button at ATM

Slip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents can cause serious injuries, and can even be fatal. Conditions leading to slip and fall include:

  • Failure to clean up spills in a timely fashion
  • Slippery residues left on floors from cleaning products
  • Damaged flooring
  • Failure to post warning signs for wet floors, step up, or step down
  • Uneven stairs
  • Lack of handrails or damage handrails
  • Loose or wrinkled carpeting or rugs
  • Electrical cords in walkway
  • Open drawers or cabinet doors in walkway