Premises Liability - Injuries on Property

Hazards and defects on commercial or residential property

SUGARMAN’s accident attorneys have a broad range of experience litigating property-related injuries.

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 “premises liability” claims, property-related accident cases involve the legal liability of property owners, landlords, commercial tenants, and others who have control of the property for injuries that occur on it. In basic terms, Massachusetts law requires the person filing the lawsuit to establish that a property owner negligently caused or allowed a defective condition to exist on his or her property, resulting in injury. An injured person’s attorney establishes negligence by showing that a dangerous condition existed on the property and should have been fixed before the accident occurred. Violation of the Massachusetts Building Code and Sanitary Code, as well as other codes and regulations, may also serve as evidence of negligence.

Like anything in the law, reaching a successful outcome in a premises liability case is not always simple, and certainly should not be viewed as simple by your personal injury attorney. The 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 injury attorneys meet all three criteria. Not all property-related accident cases are the most complex; however, SUGARMAN attorneys have handled some of the most complex and notable cases in recent Massachusetts history. These same attorneys are available to bring the firm’s vast experience in this area of ​​the law to your case.

Examples of the types of “premises liability” cases our injury attorneys handle are numerous, and include:

  • fires, explosions or electrocutions;
  • negligent security in hotels and bars resulting in violent crimes;
  • collapse of terrace or other structure
  • elevator and escalator injuries;
  • injuries at camps, gyms, spa centers and places of amusement;
  • swimming pool injuries;
  • snow and ice injuries;
  • dog bites and other animal-related injuries;
  • defects in stairs and walkways that cause falls;
  • slips, trips or falls in stores or supermarkets;
  • mold or other toxic injury;
  • injuries to tenants from your guests in the rented space or common areas

Types of Premises Liability

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If you or a loved one has been injured because of negligence on a commercial or residential property, the injury lawyers at SUGARMAN are here to help.

Types of Premises Liability – Injuries on Property

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.

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Settlement for visitor after condo association and tenants failed to light pathway

Pre-trial settlement on behalf of a woman who suffered a significant ankle fracture when she fell after missing a step while walking down a dark pathway at a beach cottage. The cottage, located in Bourne on Cape Cod, was part of a large condominium association which failed to install lighting on the common pathways that weaved among the cottages, despite recommendations to do so years prior. In addition to the condo association, the plaintiff brought claims against the cottage tenants, as they knew of the poor lighting conditions and knew people would be on the pathway that night, but failed to turn on the exterior lighting for the cottage. The plaintiff underwent four surgeries on her ankle and has residual pain and stiffness nearly four years later.

Defective apartment window screen

Settlement of personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer and seller of the defective screen, and the landlord. A 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.

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.


Snow and Ice

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.

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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.

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.

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.

Ankle fracture after fall

Settlement for a woman after she slipped and fell on ice which had accumulated on the walkway of her condominium in a 55+ community northeast of Boston. SUGARMAN's attorneys established that the condo association failed to take proper precautions to salt and sand the areas where residents would walk. The case settled at mediation.

Electrician slips and falls on ice outside work

Pre-trial settlement for electrician who slipped on a large patch of ice in the parking lot of his work and suffered a severe ankle fracture which prevented him from returning to work. The owner of the property knew for many years that water would leak out of a pipe on the side of the commercial building and then freeze in the parking lot, but took no steps to remedy it.

Jury verdict in premises liability case

In one of the first civil trials following the lifting of the COVID-19 court closures, SUGARMAN partner David McCormack obtained a jury verdict for a client who sustained a severe femur fracture after slipping on ice at the corporate defendant's property. For several days following a snowstorm, the defendant and its employees failed to inspect the property, a busy gas station and convenience store in Lowell, and failed to find and treat the ice that caused the plaintiff to slip and fall. The jury, sitting for Middlesex Superior Court in Lowell, returned a verdict in favor of SUGARMAN's client after just 3 hours of deliberations. Following the addition of interest, the total judgment came to $897,452.34.

Nursing home guest slips on ice leaving facility

Settlement for a middle-aged woman who slipped and fell on an ice patch at the entrance to the defendant’s nursing home resulting in a rotator cuff tear requiring surgical repair, and back injuries. The client had been visiting her elderly father at the nursing home.