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Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

Hazards and defects on commercial or residential property

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Many accidents and injuries are caused by defective conditions or other negligence on residential and commercial property. Property-related accident cases can range from simple defects, such as a defective railing, stairway, step, or deck, to the most complex mechanical and design defects resulting in fires, explosions, and electrocutions. As one of the oldest and largest personal injury firms in Massachusetts, SUGARMAN's accident attorneys have a broad range of experience litigating property-related injuries.

Sometimes referred to as claims for "Premises Liability," property-related accident cases involve establishing the legal liability of property owners, landlords, commercial lease-holders and others in control of property for injuries that occur on that property. In basic terms, Massachusetts law requires that the person bringing the claim establish that an owner or keeper of a given property negligently caused or allowed a defective condition to exist on their property, resulting in injury. An injured person's lawyer establishs negligence by showing that a dangerous condition existed on the property and ought to have been fixed before the accident occurred. Violation of the Massachusetts Building Code and Sanitary Code, as well as other codes and standards, can also serve as evidence of negligence.

Like anything in law or life in general, getting to a successful result in a premises liability case is not always simple, and it certainly should not be viewed as simple by your personal injury lawyer. Successful prosecution of a property-related accident case requires knowledge, resources, and experience in the multiple legal specialties and subspecialties involved in bringing such cases. SUGARMAN's injury attorneys possess all three criteria. Not every property-related accident case is the most complex case; however, SUGARMAN lawyers have handled some of the most complex and noteworthy cases in recent Massachusetts history. These same lawyers are available to bring the firm's vast experience in this area of the law to bear on your case.


Examples of the kinds of "premises liability" cases our injury attorneys handle are numerous, and include:

  • fires, explosions or electrocutions;
  • negligent security at hotels and bars resulting in violent crime;
  • porch or other structure collapses;
  • elevator and escalator injuries;
  • injuries at camps, health clubs, and places of amusement;
  • injuries at swimming pools;
  • injuries from snow and ice;
  • dog bites and other animal-related injuries;
  • defects in stairways and walkways resulting in falls;
  • slips, trips, or falls in stores or supermarkets;
  • mold or other toxic injury; and
  • injuries to tenants and their guests in rented space or common areas

Commercial and Residential Property

Massachusetts imposes a duty of reasonable care on both commercial and residential property owners. In essence, they must take steps to adequately address dangers and hazards on their property before they cause harm to a lawful visitor.


Real Cases

Bowers v. P. Wile's, Inc., 475 Mass. 34 (2016)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court affirmed the Appellate Court's decision to reverse the trial court's entry of summary judgment. SUGARMAN attorneys represented a woman who was caused to slip and fall on a stone that had been kicked loose from the defendant store's self-service display area, a hazard that the store was well aware of for several years. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed with SUGARMAN's attorneys that the "mode of operation" analysis applied to the facts of the case, vacated the judgment in favor of the defendant and remanded the case back to the Superior Court for further proceedings.

Defective apartment window screen

Settlement received from manufacturer, seller and landlord. Toddler fell out of a third-floor apartment window due to dangerous design, installation, and maintenance of the window screen, resulting in severe brain and orthopedic injuries to the child.

Trip and fall in supermarket parking lot

Settlement reached with owner of parking lot on behalf of an 85-year-old women who suffered a left femur fracture. The injury occurred when the woman tripped on an uneven surface in the parking lot.

Snow and Ice Cases

Snow and ice is a way of life in Massachusetts during the winter. Pedestrians, however, have a right to expect that a property takes measures to treat or remove snow and ice on property so that it is safe to walk on.


Real Cases

Town building inspector slips on ice during inspection

Settlement for a town building inspector who slipped on an icy unpaved driveway while performing an inspection of the defendant’s property, resulting in severe and permanent leg injuries that rendered him totally disabled from performing his job as a building inspector.

Slip on ice by grocery clerk

Settlement reached for a grocery clerk who slipped on ice in the employee parking lot as he was leaving work for the day, resulting in quadriplegic injuries.

Loading dock worker injured neck due to slip and fall on ice

Settlement for plaintiff against owner of loading dock for failure to properly remove ice from walking surfaces, causing fall and neck injury requiring cervical fusion surgery.