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Slip-and-fall accidents and premises liability

On Behalf of | Oct 7, 2021 | Premises Liability

If you slip, fall and are injured while you are on another person’s property, can you hold the property owner liable for the damages you suffered? Under Massachusetts law, the answer is yes, but only under some conditions.

The legal theory at work in such cases is known as premises liability. Generally, Massachusetts law provides that property owners have a duty of reasonable care to protect others from hazardous conditions on their premises. If they breach this duty by failing to repair a hazardous condition, or failing to warn visitors about it, they have been negligent. If their negligence causes an accident in which a visitor is injured, the injured party can hold the owner liable for their damages.

Applying this theory to real-world cases can be unpredictable. Every accident is different and every case presents a unique set of facts.

Classic case

A relatively common scenario in premises liability cases involves a customer at a store who slips on a spill and is injured. The injured party files a personal injury claim against the store owner, alleging that the owner was negligent in failing to clean up the spill before the accident.

In such a case, one key question might concern how long the spill was on the floor before the accident. A reasonably careful store owner would clean up a spill as soon as they knew about it, but what if the spill occurred just seconds before the accident? Is it reasonable to expect a store owner to clean up a spill within seconds after it occurs?

There are many other potentially complicating factors in premises liability cases. Anyone who has been injured while on another person’s property can benefit from speaking with a personal injury attorney about their accident and their legal options .