Evidentiary Requirements in Massachusetts Premises Liability Lawsuits

Under Massachusetts law, individuals who suffer a fall on another’s property may be entitled to compensation for the injuries they sustained. However, Massachusetts slip and fall lawsuits are rarely as straightforward as they may seem. Plaintiffs in these cases must meet their evidentiary burden to recover against the negligent property owner.

Generally, plaintiffs possess the burden of proof in Massachusetts personal injury cases, and defendants do not need to prove that they are not liable for the victim’s injuries. Massachusetts premises liability law provides that property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for lawful visitors. As a threshold requirement, plaintiffs who want to recover against a property owner must be able to establish negligence. Slip and fall plaintiffs must be able to show that the property owner owed the visitor a duty of care, they breached that duty, and that breach caused the victim an injury.

Massachusetts slip and fall plaintiffs must be able to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the property owner violated their duty based on the general public’s views regarding acceptable behavior. Premises liability cases often vary depending on the type of property, visitor, and accident. However, regardless of the circumstances, most plaintiffs face challenges when trying to prove that the property owner did not take “reasonable” steps to keep their condition in “reasonably” safe condition. Issues often arise because reasonableness can be subjective, and the existence of a duty to act reasonably does not necessarily amount to negligence. Further, the law does not impose a burden on landowners to maintain their property in a way that ensures absolute safety for unforeseeable events.

In a recent opinion, a state appellate court found in favor of a defendant in a slip and fall case because the plaintiff did not meet their evidentiary burden. In that case, a woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against a pharmacy, after she tripped on a speed bump in the parking lot. She argued that the speed bump was dangerous and negligently constructed. The court found in favor of the defendant, reasoning that the plaintiff failed to provide any evidence to substantiate her claims. This case exemplifies the importance of meeting evidentiary burdens, and that proof of an injury is typically not enough to withstand a defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Have You Suffered Injuries in a Massachusetts Slip and Fall?

If you or a loved one has suffered serious injuries in a Massachusetts slip and fall, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Barry Feinstein & Affiliates P.C. have extensive experience successfully handling all types of slip and fall cases. The attorneys at our office understand how daunting Massachusetts premises liability cases can be, and we have the knowledge and resources to assist our clients in recovering for their damages. In addition to our attorneys, our office is comprised of highly trained paralegals, support staff, and investigators. These individuals serve as invaluable resources during all stages of a premises liability claim. Clients of our firm have recovered substantial monetary compensation through settlement and litigation. Contact our office today, 800-262-9200, to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our law firm.