Have you ever been in an accident and wished that there was video footage of it so you could more easily prove your claim? We are increasingly seeing surveillance videos of traffic accidents with cameras mounted on streetlights and from outside businesses as well as cameras on vehicle dashboards, but we are also seeing them inside retail businesses. Having a camera that captured a slip and fall or other incident inside a Massachusetts business is becoming more common as the technology has advanced to make cameras cheaper and the video more detailed.
Five years after an unusually tragic incident, the widow of an Illinois man who drowned at a pond located within his condominium complex after being attacked by a swan has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the property management companies that owned and maintained the residential complex. The decedent had had the task of feeding the swans and was in his kayak when a swan unexpectedly attacked him, causing him to fall into the water. Because he was wearing boots and other heavy clothing, he was apparently unable to climb back into the kayak or reach a place of safety before going under the water’s surface.
We have represented many families where there were injuries to kids. Having children around is a blessing but not necessarily around construction with kids in the home. Home renovation accidents involving children do happen but there are ways to prevent it by following these suggestions:
Pools and spas can be an excellent way to relax in the summer time. Unfortunately they are also the cause of many deaths and accidents among children, as well as adults. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that 202 children under the age of 14 died in pool or spa accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2013. Despite these tragic numbers, it is possible to keep family members, especially children, safe near swimming pools.
Is a Massachusetts landlord responsible for defects in residential property notwithstanding the tenant’s comparative negligence? That is, if there is a defect in a residential unit, is the landlord responsible no matter how the tenant is injured? In a case that came down from the Courts this past month, a critical decision was made as to how these questions will be answered.
Who is responsible if you ask a neighbor to cut down a tree on your property and, in doing so, the tree falls injuring you? In a case that was heard before the Massachusetts Court of Appeals recently, an injured man was the owner of property in need of trimming a tree. A rather large branch needed to be cut from the tree; the branch was 5 inches in diameter and approximately 10 feet long.
Clients often ask: well I was injured on their property, aren’t they responsible? Yes. And no. Not if they did not do anything negligent. In other words, was there anything that the property owner did, or failed to do, that caused the fall? For example, if a store owner knows of a leak, allows it to continue and fails to stop the lead or warn folks of the slippery floor as a result of the lead; clearly the store owner is responsible. On the other hand, if a customer picks up a bottle, drops it and you immediately slip from the wet floor, there was nothing the storeowner could do to prevent that slip; they did not have the opportunity to warn folks or clean it up.
In a case called Sarkisian v. Concept Restaurants, the Appellate Division of the District Court declined to extend the “mode of operation” law to a nightclub in Boston. In Sarkisian, the plaintiff was at a bachelorette party all evening at the Liquor Store nightclub. This is a favorite club in Boston; we know from various depositions over the years where folks have testified that they were at the Liquor Store, celebrating with their friends. In any event, when the plaintiff in this case slipped on the dance floor on a “half a cup” of liquid, it resulted in a badly broken leg. Should the night club be liable? What is the law for slip and fall in Massachusetts?
We have represented many victims of landlord negligence in Massachusetts. Landlords owe very specific duties to tenants. There are different types of landlords: commercial and residential, for example.
Historically, Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 186, Section 19, has provided residential tenants with recourse if they sustain injuries on premises caused by the landlord’s negligence. The law reads that upon notice, a landlord must “exercise reasonable care to correct the unsafe condition” that she is notified of. The law gives potential victims of injuries from landlords two ways of notice: certified mail from the tenant or notice from the board of health or other code enforcement agency.