Articles Tagged with premises liability 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.

Many lawyers use the term “premises liability,” which is a phrase that most people don’t use. Therefore, there’s often a misconception about what the term means. In reality, it’s a way to describe the duty owed by a business or property owner. These claims are a type of a negligence lawsuit, which means the focus of a claim is usually on the duty of care owed and whether or not that duty was breached. For your reference, some common examples of these types of claims include, but are not limited to:

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