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Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Slip & fall accidents can be a lot more serious than many people think. No, scraped palms and knees don’t make up the bulk of the injuries that result from these events:  As a Boston slip & fall attorney, I can assure people:  Broken limbs, herniated spinal discs and concussions are most often the types of injuries that result from these events.  When people around age 70 or older are the victims, broken bones become even more common.  A good deal of my injury law practice involves representing these types of injury victims, and I’ve seen more serious injuries result from these types of events than I can discuss here.

So it was very positive news when a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) case was recently decided, which basically expanded the liability of retail business operators for slip and fall injuries.  This type of case falls under an area of law known as “Premises Liability.” (There’s an entire section on Premises Liability at our website, which you can get to by clicking on the “Website” tab, above.)  Explaining on a technical, legal level precisely why this decision expanded liability of retail stores for these types of injuries, would likely take a long time here and probably cause you to doze off. (I understand – for non-lawyers, these court decisions are pretty dry.)  But – very briefly – I’ll try to explain the legal reasons for this decision: Continue reading

Most people are aware that there are a high number of fatalities involving motor vehicle accidents and such, but I’ll bet that most aren’t aware of the number of people killed on the job in this state. The fact is, Massachusetts workplace fatalities happen more frequently than many think.

A report released jointly a few days ago by two labor groups – the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupation Safety and Health, revealed that fifty (50) workers died due to injuries they suffered on the job last year in Massachusetts. Not surprisingly, transportation workers – taxi drivers, bus drivers and truck drivers, figured prominently in the Massachusetts employee deaths report. Equally unsurprising, but troubling still, were too many deaths caused by falls from heights, such as those involved in Massachusetts construction site injuries and Massachusetts scaffolding injuries.

As a Boston Massachusetts construction site accident lawyer, I’ve seen too many of these types of injuries – they can be horrific. Another fact that might surprise some people is that – yes, people are murdered in the workplace: Three Massachusetts workplace homicides took place in 2014, in just the first three months of 2015, another three took place.

So many people love the Fall season. I’m just not one of them. For many people, it’s a time for apple-picking, football games, Halloween and clean, crisp air. For me, it’s a time for longing the warm summer air and beach days that have left us. It’s also the season for leaf-peeping, which here in Massachusetts, people do in droves.

But did you know that autumn leaves, while beautiful, can pose a threat and can precipitate a Massachusetts slip and fall injury? “Fall” is the operative word here. Think about it: Dew falls during the nights and mornings, and it rests on leaves that have fallen everywhere. Aside from dew, rain also can pour down on leaves. The result? Moist leaves that are as slippery as a banana peel – or a sheet of ice, in winter. People certainly know how dangerous snow and ice are, but are probably not as familiar with how dangerous wet leaves can be. A Massachusetts slip and fall injury caused by simply wet leaves can be very serious.

Wet leaves can pose a problem at private homes — especially on walking surfaces like driveways, stairs and porches. At public places and at businesses, wet leaves that are not raked away or that simply pile up can be very dangerous, at entrances and exits, and on stairwells. One false move, and you’re on the ground with a broken wrist, a twisted ankle, or far worse – and when and where you least expected it. If that happens, you will need a Boston slip and fall attorney.

Recently here in the Boston area, the media has paid a lot of attention recently to the subject of dangerous off-campus housing for college students – and justifiably so.

Boston is the College Capital of the Nation, and there are more undergraduate and graduate students here than in almost any other part of the country. Against this massive student population, there are only so many campus dorm units – i.e., on-campus housing facilities. Universities here knowingly accept more students than they have the capacity to house on campus. Why? Tuition revenue. The student overflow ends up in apartment buildings in and around the greater Boston area – and these numbers have increased over 30% since just 2006. What’s the problem with this? A huge percentage of those apartment buildings and rental units are located in shoddy, dilapidated, over-crowded and dangerous buildings. Many of them are flagrant examples of numerous Building Code violations relating to both safety and health. Translation: Dumps and fire traps. More than 45,000 students live in these apartment buildings and houses – 99% never having lived on their own previously. Can you say “lambs to the slaughter?”

A great many of these apartments are located in the Allston/Brighton section of Boston – near Boston University and Boston College. Allston is so bad when it comes to dilapidated housing that it has earned the nickname “Rat City,” for the reputation it has for vermin in that part of Boston. Who owns the vast majority of these buildings and apartments? Many of them are absentee landlords – also known as slumlords. Whether it’s old, creaky stairwells that can collapse, causing a dangerous Massachusetts stairwell fall injury, or old, rotted exterior porches and decks that can result in a Massachusetts porch collapse injury, or old, out-of-code electrical wiring that can cause a Massachusetts apartment building fire, the risks are numerous and very serious.

Here’s a local development that happens a lot more around the Boston area than many people realize: Last night (Friday, Sep. 13th), a porch connected to an apartment building collapsed, with several people being injured. The accident happened at 1358 Tremont Street in the Mission Hill section of Boston. The porch was connected to a “3-decker” building, and as is common with these types of events, there was no prior warning – it just gave way. No time to get off before it came tumbling down. – in this case, falling on and crushing the porch immediately below it.

That’s not uncommon in deck collapse accidents: As a Boston porch/deck collapse lawyer, and as a lifelong resident of the Boston area, I can attest to the fact that building conditions in this area are primed for this kind of accident: The area is swimming in old, 3-decker houses and apartment buildings – most have been around since the 1950’s or so. These types of 3-deckers are almost always made of wood, not brick or concrete, and they are exposed to all kinds of weather that leaves them unstable. The result? Most of them are rotting, weak, and unsafe. Put more than a few people at once on them, and you’re risking a lot.

This is a major safety risk in the Boston area. Why? One word: Students. While a great many college students live in university dorms (which are almost 100% brick and mortar buildings that are usually quite safe,) a great many students in the Boston area also live off-campus. And what does that usually mean? Cheap housing – which is very older, often out of code, and – to be quite frank – dumps. The Allston-Brighton, Kenmore Square, Fenway, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Mission Hill areas are notorious for having these kinds of 50+ and 60+ year-old wooden structures, which are very dangerous. Many of them are owned by slumlords, and are fire traps as well as places where Boston stairwell accidents and Boston deck collapse accidents occur more than just occasionally.

Summer is usually a time when thoughts turn to cooling off and leisurely days around a swimming pool (especially during heat waves such as we’ve had here in Massachusetts recently.) That makes perfect sense, but in my view as a Massachusetts swimming pool accident lawyer, not enough people are aware of the dangers of backyard swimming pools – whether in-ground or above-ground. In my career, some of the worst injuries I have seen involve swimming pool injuries. They can pose serious, and even deadly, hazards.

This was recently made clear in the past few weeks, as more than one person has died in Massachusetts swimming pool accidents. These unfortunate events illustrate the inherent risks that are associated with swimming pools. Whether the pool is an in-ground pool or an above-ground portable pool, as a Boston drowning accident attorney, I can assure you they are dangerous.

Tragedies like this illustrate the need to be aware of the dangers that swimming pools represent. In a great many of these types of cases, the injuries and drowning deaths that occur are sustained by children. This is so for a variety of reasons:

Binland Lee was 22 years old and set to graduate from Boston Univeristy later this month. Tragically, she is dead today, killed last Sunday, April 28 2013, in a three-alarm fire that tore through her apartment in Allston. Beyond Ms. Lee’s fatality, nine additional residents and another six firefighters suffered injuries in the blaze. According to the Boston Fire Department, the fire was started by careless smoking. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office is investigating to determine if criminal charges are warranted in the tragedy.

Aside from the possibility of careless smoking, there is an equal if not greater concern here: The dilapidated state of a great many of apartment buildings in Boston – especially in Allston and Brighton, which are “home” to thousands of BU students every year, who live in off-campus housing. Aside from being a Boston, Massachusetts burn injuries lawyer, I know this very well, because I grew up on the side of Brookline just down the street from these areas. I’ve seen them a million times, and been in them many times in my younger years. To be kind, many of them are one step above a slum: Virtual dumps and firetraps that haven’t been upgraded in decades. In many cases, they’re also overcrowded, housing a greater number of occupants than they legally should be. Liability for injuries sustained in such dilapidated buildings falls under an area of law known as Massachusetts premises liability.

Initially, that may well have been the case in this tragedy. News reports have stated that nineteen persons lived in this building, located at 87 Linden St, Allston. A city of Boston ordinance prohibits more than four unrelated college students from sharing or occupying the same dwelling. As of the date of this post, city officials have stated that no less than six of the 19 residents were students from BU. According to a city Inspectional Services spokesperson, the last time that the building was inspected was in 1992 – 21 years ago – and the building owner was allegedly cited by the city for operating an illegal rooming house. According to Ms. Lee’s uncle, Da Ren Kwong, when her mother visited her in Boston, she expressed concerns about the building’s safety. According to Mr. Kwong, Ms. Lee’s mother saw exposed wires on at least one wall, but Ms. Lee assured her mother all would be well. While the property owner’s lawyer has claimed that the building has passed inspection many times in the ten years his client has owned it, the city Inspectional Services Department disputes that claim, insisting that their records show that the last time the building was inspected was in 1992.

Most burn injury victims suffer these injuries due to a fire of some kind. However, as our burn injuries page makes clear, many times burn injuries occur due to scalding, and these types of burns are usually severe.

This was the case yesterday (April 6 2013,) when three students at the University of New Hampshire were badly burned Saturday afternoon due to a hot water pipe that burst in a dormitory, according to a university spokeswoman. Injuries from pipes that burst coming from a hot water heater, can be especially devastating: The normal water temperature inside a water heater is commonly set at around 160 degrees, and when water this hot hits the skin, it will without doubt cause third-degree burns. According to news reports, that’s exactly what these three female students suffered, as they were in or leaving Hunter Hall, a three-story dorm that houses nearly 115 students. Their burn injuries were so bad that while the burn victims were first taken to local hospitals, they were later transferred to Boston hospitals, due to the severity of their burn injuries.

Following such an accident, most families ask: Is anyone liable for the injuries that the burn injury victim suffered? If so, why, and what type of compensation is possible? As a Boston, Massachusetts burn injury lawyer, I can tell you that the answers to those questions depend on the facts and the circumstances surrounding the event, centrally whether and how much evidence of negligence is present. In this case, possible defendants could include:

It’s only due to sheer luck that there weren’t more people injured in the explosion at the Scores Gentleman’s Club in Springfield, Mass., last week. Apparently, because of reports of a natural gas leak earlier that day, the premises were evacuated and it’s simply a miracle that no one was killed.

The gas explosion occurred last Friday in Springfield, one of New England’s largest cities. It not only leveled the Scores Gentleman’s strip club, it exploded with a noise that reverberated for miles. In its wake, about 12 other buildings were damaged. The explosion happened in an area of downtown Springfield that is filled with commercial properties and residences. The damaging blast blew out all the windows in a three-block area. It left three buildings irreparably damaged and also forced an evacuation of a six-story apartment building that was buckling due to the blast.

At about 4:20 PM earlier in the day, firefighters responded and were investigating the gas leak. The blast happened about one hour later, and seriously injured over 18 people. The cause of the explosion hasn’t been identified yet but is under investigation.

As I reported in my previous post on this subject, amusement park injuries are much more common than most people might think. If you or someone you love has been injured in a Massachusetts amusement-park accident, you may be entitled to financial damages for your injuries. Following below are some typical forms of liability that may serve as the legal basis for damages following several types of injuries that are common to amusement parks:

Product Liability and Defective Products – This refers to whether or not there was a defect in the manufacturing or design of the ride.

Premises Liability – Broken stairs, lack of lighting, gaps in pavement, and parking lot conditions all have to do with premises liability, which is also known as property liability. Slip and fall injuries come under this category.