People are often injured while on someone else’s property or in their home or business. Sometimes no one is to blame. But other times the injury is the result of carelessness in failing to guard against dangerous conditions or defects on the property. Stairs may be broken or in disrepair. Automatic doors may close too fast. Railings may be weak and give way. Even debris that wasn’t cleaned up can result in serious injuries.
Anyone who owns a business, a residence, an apartment building or a vacant lot is responsible under Massachusetts law to use reasonable care to keep the property safe for visitors. The responsibility for people's safety when physically on your property falls into a category of the law called premises liability. While the events that could cause injury on someone's property are unlimited, there are a few basic categories that cover a large percentage of premises liability cases. They are injuries caused by snow and ice, injuries caused by violations of the state building code or other safety standards, and injuries caused by a homeowner’s negligence in keeping his or her property safe.
In the Northeast, inclement weather poses an important challenge that property owners must deal with for several months of the year. Snow and ice, if not properly treated, can cause serious slip and fall injuries such as head and brain trauma, broken bones and permanent back injuries. Prior to 2010, it was difficult to hold property owners liable for injuries caused by negligence in removing snow and ice. Property owners could be held liable only for “unnatural” accumulations of snow or ice, for example, piles of shoveled snow, snow changed by the tramping of feet, or an ice patch that was caused by the redirect of water by a gutter. In 2010, the Supreme Judicial Court abolished the so called “Massachusetts rule,” a rule which had been rejected repeatedly by other states, and it adopted a simple negligence standard. Property owners must now use reasonable care in the removal of snow and ice from their property.
Owners or managers of property can also be held liable for injuries caused by building code violations. The Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) has adopted certain regulations and provisions that constitute our state's building code. The state certifies building inspectors who are responsible for making sure that buildings have complied with the code's safety standards. Property owners who fail to comply with the building code or other applicable safety standards may be held liable for injuries which occur as a result.
Finally, injuries that occur as a result of negligence may also be compensable. Under Massachusetts law, homeowners and business owners are required to keep their premises reasonably safe. A homeowner who has a swimming pool that is not properly guarded or who has other indoor or outdoor hazards may be held liable for injuries that occur as a result.
Premises liability laws are complex. The duty of a homeowner may be different than the duty of a business owner. If you think you have been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, call the experienced premises liability attorneys at the KJC Law firm. There is no cost or obligation, and we can meet with you in your home or the hospital if necessary. We have over 60 years of experience litigating major premises liability cases, including some accidents that have occurred outside Massachusetts. We have the resources to investigate your claim, hire the necessary experts, and get you the compensation that you deserve. KJC Law Firm represents injured people from communities all across Massachusetts, including the Greater Boston area, Cambridge, MetroWest, Cape Cod, Fall River, Lowell, Worcester and Springfield.