Premises Liability Laws in Massachusetts
Premises liability claims often result from slip and fall accidents on someone else’s property. Being attacked by a dog, tripping over uneven stairs, and being exposed to toxic fumes or chemicals may also cause serious injuries. Whether you are shopping at a grocery store, or you are injured while visiting someone’s house, you have the right to pursue compensation from those responsible.
The Legal Responsibility of Property Owners
Under Massachusetts law, property owners owe a duty of care to visitors. This means they must eliminate hazardous conditions on their property. If they are unable to feasibly get rid of the problem, they are required to have adequate warning signs to alert guests. Wet floors, cracked pavement, uneven steps, and poor lighting can all contribute to unsafe conditions on someone’s property. If you are injured, you have the right to file a premises liability claim to seek justice.
Who may be responsible in a premises liability lawsuit?
- Property owners
- Title holders
- Easement holders
- Business owners
Massachusetts Recognizes 3 Types of Visitors
The state of Massachusetts identifies 3 types of visitors:
1. Licensees. Licensees, also known as social guests, are people who are visiting a property for social reasons. Friends, acquaintances, and people invited over to visit in a social gathering fall into this category.
2. Invitees. Invitees are those who are visiting a property for business purposes. Customers at a store fall into this category.
3. Trespassers. Trespassers are those without legal right to enter the property. They have not obtained permission from the owner, and are on the property illegally.
Understanding the Duty of Care Toward All Types of Visitors
Property owners owe a reasonable duty of care to licensees and invitees. This means, if you are a social guest or a customer, you have the right to file a lawsuit against negligent or careless property owners.
Even though trespassers are there without permission, property owners still owe a minimal duty of care toward them. However, they do not owe a reasonable duty of care. This means trespassers cannot sue property owners for negligence. They only have the right to sue a property owner if he or she displayed willful, wanton, and reckless conduct toward them. For example, if a property owner sets a trap for a trespasser, the trespasser can file a premises liability lawsuit.
The bottom line is that, if there is a hazardous condition that could reasonably cause harm to visitors on the property, the owner is responsible to remove it or put up a warning sign. Failure to do so will result in liability. Depending on the situation, you may be able to receive a settlement for lost wages, medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Call Our Boston Premises Liability Attorneys Today at (617) 227-8118
The Law Office of Steven R. Whitman, LLC provides compassionate representation to injured clients. We are passionate about holding property owners accountable for negligence. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury on someone else’s property, we will discuss your options for pursuing compensation. Our Boston premises liability lawyers will use thorough preparation to build your case, and will walk you through the process.
Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.