Articles Tagged with Accident Lawyer

In a previous post discussing Premises Liability, we briefly noted two (2) relevant legal doctrines – Attractive Nuisance and Sovereign Immunity. We recently discussed the Attractive Nuisance doctrine, so today will be focusing on the doctrine of Sovereign Immunity and its codification under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.

As discussed in previous posts, if you were injured in a car accident or on the property of another, you likely have a cause of action against those persons. However, what happens when the driver of that other car is a government employee or the property you were injured on is a government building? In Massachusetts, it is much harder to file a lawsuit and win when the other party is the government. As you may have guessed, this is due to the aforementioned principle known as Sovereign Immunity.

Sovereign Immunity is a very old legal premise that basically states that the sovereign, i.e., the government in this country, cannot be sued even if an individual is harmed by the acts, decisions, or inactions of the government. It dates back to English law, where people were unable to sue the king. Even in this brief explanation, you can see that this is an exceptionally broad principle that absolves the government of virtually all tortious acts. However, there are limits to Sovereign Immunity. 

In a previous post discussing Premises Liability, we briefly noted two (2) relevant legal doctrines – Attractive Nuisance and Sovereign Immunity. We will address Sovereign Immunity and the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act in a subsequent post, but today we want to discuss the other doctrine: Attractive Nuisance.

Premises Liability, property owners have a duty of reasonable care to anyone entering their property. The highest duty of care is owed to those who have express or implied permission to be on that property, known as invitees and licensees under Massachusetts law.  An example of this are patrons of a restaurant or supermarket. Trespassers are owed the lowest duty, i.e., people who enter a property without permission. A trespasser cannot sue a property owner for injuries suffered on that property except under “unusually dangerous” situations. There is; however, one group of potential trespassers to whom property owners still owe the duty of reasonable care: young children. This is where the doctrine of attractive nuisance applies. Under this doctrine, property owners can still be found liable for injuries caused to a young child, even one who is trespassing. 

Massachusetts defines an attractive nuisance as an artificial condition on the property owner’s land that can “attract” children to trespass onto the land and lead to injury. This means that a natural pond, rock face, or other natural condition on the property is not subject to the laws of attractive nuisance.

How Do I Document My Car Accident Injuries?

When you’ve been injured in a car accident, your life can be turned upside down. In addition to dealing with the normal hurdles that life brings, you also have to deal with an injury. Now you’re also having to go to doctor’s appointments and therapy visits while also having to deal with the fact that your normal activities now aren’t as easy to do.

How an injury affects your life on a day to day basis is what is generally known as pain and suffering. While many rightly assume that it’s their Personal Injury Lawyer’s job to prove your pain and suffering, it’s actually a joint venture. Like a basketball player without shoes, a personal injury attorney can only do so much to prove injuries if he or she doesn’t have a client who properly documents those injuries.

In Part 1, we discussed the duty owed by property owners in terms of snow and ice removal. In this post, we will discuss what happens if you are injured after slipping on ice or snow. It is important to know what steps are available to you and what, if any, fault you may have in the matter. 

As noted in the previous post, it used to be much harder to recover damages from a slip and fall caused by snow and ice. A 2010 Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) case (Papadopoulos v. Target Corp) overturned an over-a-century-old law regarding the accumulation of snow. The duty placed on property owners was raised and it became easier to prove negligence. However, just because it became “easier,” does not mean collecting damages will be easy. There are still multiple factors at play.

All slip and fall cases fall under a class of personal injury claims requiring you to prove negligence. You must establish a duty, a failure to meet that duty, injuries, and that the breach of duty caused those injuries. In a case of snow and ice-induced slip and fall case, the duty owed is by the landowner and he or she owes you “reasonable care” for a safe walking environment, that is, free of ice and snow. Further, you must suffer a significant injury, for example, sprained or broken bones or traumatic brain injury from hitting your head. Finally, you need to establish that the ice was the cause of your slip and fall. 

Winter in New England, a right of passage we all endure every year. No one can claim to be a real New Englander without going through a handful of winters full of blizzards, wind, and freezing temperatures. Cleaning off your car, shoveling the sidewalks and stairs, and salting or sanding the ice are all tenets of our yearly winter ritual. While many of us are used to the cold, snow, and ice, it is important to know what happens when those conditions result in an injury. In the first part of a two-part series, we will discuss what duty you owe as a property owner to others entering your property and what happens in the event someone is injured as a result of a fall on snow or ice. 

Under Massachusetts law, all property owners (commercial and residential) and landlords are legally responsible for snow and ice removal from their property. While each town and city has its own specific codes (and we encourage you to take a look at your city or town’s requirements), it is important to know the state law establishing this minimum. This means that any publicly-accessible areas, e.g., sidewalks or walkways, driveways, parking lots, etc., must be free of snow and “de-iced.”

This is a relatively new law, coming into effect on the heels of a 2010 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) ruling that overturned 125 years of precedent of unnatural vs. natural snow accumulation. The arcane distinction aside, the takeaway is that the SJC prioritized safety of guests and visitors. (That case was Papadopoulos v. Target Corp, which dragged snow and ice law into the 21st century. It got rid of the rule that a “natural accumulation” of snow means that a property owner wasn’t responsible for someone’s injury.). 

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