According to premises liability laws, property owners and management have a responsibility to ensure the safety of anyone with a legal right to be on their properties. Depending on the nature of the property, this may include guests, employees, and customers, among others.

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A property owner may not be able to guarantee that no one on the premises will be at risk of sustaining injury. However, to a reasonable degree, they should take steps to limit the chances that a legal guest will be put in harm’s way.

You may have grounds to take legal action if you’re ever injured because a property owner neglects this responsibility. For example, maybe you’re visiting a property late at night and the owner has knowingly failed to install adequate outdoor lighting for the parking lot and other frequently used areas.

Lack of proper lighting could make it difficult for you to spot tripping hazards, potholes, and other obstructions in your path. If you’re involved in a slip and fall or similar accident as a result, you may file a claim with the property owner’s insurance to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. If the insurance company refuses to offer a proper settlement, you could file a lawsuit if your injuries resulted from the negligence of another person or entity.

However, taking legal action and recovering the damages for which you may be eligible could be more difficult in some circumstances than in others. For instance, perhaps you were injured on government property. Keep reading to learn more about your potential legal options if this were to happen in Massachusetts.

Injured on Someone’s Property in Massachusetts: What You Need to Know About Suing the Commonwealth

Premises liability laws technically apply to all property owners in Massachusetts. Thus, if you are injured on government property, you may still have the right to file a claim or lawsuit.

According to the Massachusetts Superior Court jury instructions for premises liability cases, to demonstrate that you are owed compensation after being injured on someone else’s property, you must show the following:

  • The property owner owed you a duty of care while you were on their property.
  • The property owner (or an extension/representative of ownership, such as an employee at a retail store) failed to exercise reasonable care in an effort to guard against accidents and harm.
  • You were injured as a result of the property owner’s negligence.
  • You sustained losses for which you may be compensated.

Premises liability laws technically apply to all property owners in Massachusetts.

Proving some of these points can be challenging. This is particularly true when suing the state or federal government, which may have substantial resources to defend itself, as well as reliance of certain laws protective of such institutions.

For example, perhaps you were injured while visiting a government building because you slipped on ice in the parking lot. To show that you deserve to receive compensation, you would need to demonstrate that by the time your accident occurred, a responsible property owner would have been aware of the ice and had time to apply de-icing agents or at least warn guests of its presence.

You must also consider how Massachusetts’s comparative negligence law might affect your case. Under this law, if a victim is found to have contributed to their own injury or harm due to negligence, the amount of compensation they may receive can be reduced by the degree to which they were negligent.

In the above example, maybe it can be shown that you were looking at your phone when your accident occurred. The government could therefore argue that you are at least partially to blame for your accident because you weren’t paying attention to your surroundings. If the government argues this point successfully, you may receive less compensation than you initially thought you would receive. You might even be found ineligible to receive compensation at all if it can be shown you are at least 51% to blame for your accident occurring or for your injuries being as severe as they are.

Suing Someone in Massachusetts: Consider Hiring a Boston Premises Liability Attorney

The best way to determine whether you have justification to sue the government after being injured on government-owned property in Massachusetts is to discuss your case with a professional. At Swartz & Swartz, P.C., a Boston premises liability attorney is on hand to review your case, answer your questions, and provide the aggressive representation you deserve if you decide to hire us. Learn more about what our attorneys can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to schedule a free consultation.

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If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: Elizabeth M Guthrie
Elizabeth M. Guthrie is an associate attorney at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. Elizabeth represents victims of personal injury and medical malpractice.

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