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Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

Many of the same obligations apply to businesses run by federal agents as they do to non-public corporations. For example, if a person is injured at a government building due to a slip and fall accident, the person can file a premises liability claim against the federal government. A Massachusetts court recently clarified what a plaintiff needs show to demonstrate the government’s culpability for harm caused by a slip and fall accident. If you were injured as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you should consult with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

The Plaintiff’s Accident

The complainant is said to have fallen while visiting the post office on a rainy day. She was injured and filed a premises liability claim against the defendant under the Federal Tort Claims Act as a result (the Act). After discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court refused the defendant’s motion after considering the facts.

Developing Evidence for Premises Liability Claims

The federal government is liable in tort to the same extent and in the same manner as a private individual in similar circumstances under the Act. Because the plaintiff’s accident happened in Massachusetts, she needed to show that the defendant was negligent under Massachusetts law. Continue Reading ›

Trip and fall accidents can cause significant injuries that are not only painful but also require substantial time and money to treat. In many cases, such incidents occur due to dangerous conditions that the injured party encounters when walking on someone else’s property. Whether the property owner will be deemed liable for harm suffered in a fall largely depends on whether the person who fell can show the owner knew or should have known of the issue that caused the person to trip. The evidence needed to prove actual or constructive notice was the topic of an opinion recently issued by a Massachusetts court in a case arising out of a trip and fall. If you were hurt in a fall, it is smart to speak to a trusted Cape Cod premises liability lawyer to assess your possible claims.

The Plaintiff’s Fall

Reportedly, the plaintiff attended a burial at a cemetery owned by the defendant municipality. After the ceremony concluded, he walked from the gravesite towards his car. He did not walk on a path but over other graves. At one point, he stepped on what he referred to as a soft spot, which created a deep hole. His left foot and ankle got caught in the hole, and he suffered significant injuries.

Allegedly, the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, asserting its negligence caused his fall. Prior to trial, the defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing it had not breached any duty owed to the plaintiff. After reviewing the evidence of the case, the court granted the defendant’s motion. Continue Reading ›

People rarely anticipate that they will sustain injuries while they are on vacation, but slip and fall accidents and other harmful events commonly occur at hotels and resorts. Parties injured in such incidents often choose to seek compensation from the property owners via civil claims. In cases in which the accident occurred in a foreign location, the claims will typically be filed in federal court, but in many instances, the defendant will argue such claims should be dismissed due to lack of jurisdiction. This was illustrated in a recent Massachusetts ruling in which the court discussed the exercise of personal jurisdiction in a matter arising out of an accident in St. Lucia. If you suffered harm due to a slip and fall accident, it is in your best interest to meet with an experienced Cape Cod premises liability attorney about your options.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff, who is a Massachusetts resident, was a guest at the defendant resort when she slipped and fell in the area near the hot tub. She suffered serious injuries in the fall and subsequently filed a lawsuit against the defendant in the Massachusetts District court, asserting negligence claims. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims for lack of personal jurisdiction, while the plaintiff argued she was entitled to jurisdictional discovery prior to her claims being dismissed. The court ultimately ruled in favor of the plaintiff and denied the defendant’s motion. Continue Reading ›

In a Cape Cod premises liability case, evidence regarding the accident scene can be crucially important. Without photographs or video surveillance of the place where the accident happened, it can be difficult for the plaintiff to convince the jury that the landowner was negligent in creating the dangerous condition that caused the accident or, if a third party caused the situation, in allowing the condition to persist past the time that a reasonable property owner would have noticed and corrected the issue(s).

Of course, not every piece of evidence is as reliable as it might first appear. There is technology available that can alter the appearance of both photographs and videos, a fact to which anyone who has skimmed through a fashion magazine can attest.

The case described below dealt with a situation in which the image shown in the photograph was real; it accurately reflected the scene at the time it was taken. However, there may have been a discrepancy regarding when the party offering the photographs into evidence said the picture was taken and when it was actually taken.

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When it comes to the ultimate outcome of a Cape Cod personal injury case, the availability of liability insurance is one of the most important factors to be considered. Assuming that there is a policy of insurance that covers the occurrence at issue, another important consideration is the policy limits of such coverage.

In the absence of adequate liability insurance, the plaintiff’s options for recovering a judgment against the defendant are limited. While the plaintiff may have a right to execute the judgment against any property owned by the defendant and/or any wages that he or she earns in the future, it may take a very, very long time to satisfy a judgment – if it is ever satisfied.

Of course these issues are meaningless if the plaintiff is unable to prove his or her case in court, so it is important that someone who has suffered personal injuries due to another person’s careless or reckless conduct consult an attorney who can help him or her build a case that will convince the jury of his or her right to money damages. Without evidence that preponderates in the plaintiff’s favor, the defendant’s liability insurance is irrelevant.

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Ideally, the outcome of a Cape Cod premises liability or personal injury case would be the same regardless of whether it went to trial in a state court or a federal court, before a jury or just a judge, or in the city or in a small town. Justice is justice, right?

Unfortunately, the court system is far from perfect, and there can be differences in the outcome of a given case based on these and other factors. Because of this, the plaintiff in a case may choose to file his case in one venue rather than another – if there is a potential choice about such matters, given the facts. Defendants, too, sometime engage in “forum shopping” of sorts by seeking removal of a state case to federal court or transferal of a federal case from one district to another.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff in a recent slip and fall negligence case was a man who alleged that he was injured when he slipped on a “wet, dangerous, and hazardous condition” located on the floor of a Massachusetts grocery store. He filed suit against the defendant store owners in a New Jersey state court in late 2019, seeking fair compensation for his medical expenses and associated damages resulting from the fall. The defendants removed the case to a federal court located in New Jersey based on diversity of citizenship.

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When a Cape Cod personal injury lawsuit is filed against a defendant that is a governmental entity, there is often a defense that the entity is immune from suit based on the principles of governmental tort immunity. Of course, this defense is not always successful, as there are many situations in which the government can be sued, and a judgment can be entered. Resolution of the issue of whether or not immunity applies is typically handled by motion practice in the trial court, sometimes with interlocutory review by the appellate court if an appeal is filed by the party aggrieved by the trial court’s decision.

Facts of the Case

In a recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case (unreported), the plaintiff was a man who suffered a closed head injury and bilateral leg amputations after falling onto subway tracks (owned and maintained by the defendant transportation authority) and being struck by a train. He filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, averring that the defendant was negligent in failing to adequately staff the station with a safety inspector or a customer service agent (CSA) on the day the accident occurred.

The defendant sought summary judgment, arguing (among other things) that it was immune from liability for the plaintiff’s failure-to-staff claim, citing the discretionary function exception contained in Massachusetts General Laws ch. 258, § 10(b). The trial court denied the defendant’s motion, and the defendant filed an interlocutory appeal of the denial of its motion under the doctrine of present execution.

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When someone is hurt on another’s property, there may be a possibility of filing what is commonly called a “slip and fall” or “premises liability” lawsuit against the landowner or business operator whose negligence caused the accident.

Of course, the defendant in such a case is likely to offer up a myriad of possible defenses, blaming the plaintiff for the accident or denying that the condition that led to the injury had been in place long enough for the defendant to have legal notice of it.

In some situations, there may be another possible defense, such as the recreational use statute.

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In a Cape Cod premises liability case, the plaintiff has the burden of proving that the defendant landowner or shopkeeper was negligent in maintaining its property. Of course, the defendant will likely deny that it should be held liable for the plaintiff’s slip and fall accident, pointing the finger back at the plaintiff for the accident or denying that the dangerous condition described by the plaintiff even existed. It is up to the jury to resolve the factual issues between the parties.

Facts of the Case

In a recent unpublished appellate court case, the plaintiff was reportedly an 84 year-old man whose shoe caught in an “eroded concrete surface” near a gas pump, causing him to fall. The plaintiff filed a negligence lawsuit against the defendant gas station owner, seeking monetary compensation for the injuries that he suffered in the fall. At trial, a fellow customer, who witnessed the incident, testified that the disrepair was readily apparent and had been in place for quite some time. In response, the defendant insisted that the gap that caused the plaintiff’s fall was so minor a defect that, as a matter of law, it could not give rise to a violation of the defendant’s duty of care to the plaintiff.

The jury found in the favor of the plaintiff (who was joined in the action by his wife, who asserted a loss of consortium claim), awarding him $450,000 and his wife $200,000. The trial judge issued a remittitur, reducing the plaintiff’s damages award to $300,000 and the wife’s to $125,000. The plaintiffs accepted the remittitur. The defendant filed a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict and/or for a new trial; the trial court denied both motions.
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There are many different circumstances through which a Cape Cod premises liability lawsuit may arise. In a “slip and fall” case, a person may be injured due to a fall caused by a slippery substance on the floor of a grocery store or poorly constructed stairs outside a public building. If the property owner breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may be able to recover money damages to compensate him or her for medical costs, lost wages, and other losses caused by the injury.

In a negligent security case, a property owner may be held liable for failing to protect the plaintiff from harm caused by a third party – typically a criminal whose intentional actions harm to the plaintiff. Such cases can be challenging, as the defendant typically attempts to shift the blame away from itself and onto the third party.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a man who was stabbed while waiting in his car for a friend outside a theater in 2011. The man sued the theater (and its parent companies), alleging that they were negligent in failing to provide police detail on the theater premises. (The plaintiff’s stabbing occurred on a Tuesday evening about 10 p.m. For some years prior to 2008 or 2009, the defendants had police detail on their premises seven nights a week, but they then restricted the detail to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings only.) Continue Reading ›

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