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Property owner negligence in Boston premises liability cases


Boston home and business owners are obligated to maintain properties to prevent employee and visitor injuries. Premises liability claims argue property owners are responsible for visitors’ injuries caused by unsafe conditions like inadequate security or lighting, wet floors and icy sidewalks.

An owner, operator, occupier – in many cases, an occupier is a tenant — or third party can be blamed for negligence when a customer is injured, by slipping on an untreated icy patch or tripping over an unrepaired pothole in a parking lot. Property owners have been accused of failing to provide proper security to prevent an assault. An insufficient number of smoke detectors could be the reason a hotel patron is burned in a fire.

Property owners also are expected to warn visitors about dangerous conditions that cannot be corrected in a timely manner. Signs or barriers can be used effectively to keep visitors out of hazardous areas.

The duty of care a property owner must provide varies, according to state laws. Sometimes, the safety measures required depend upon a visitor’s status. For instance, a higher safety standard may be required for a store customer than a party guest, due to reasons they enter a property.

Property owners sometimes counterclaim they were not aware of a hazard or could not remove it in time to prevent an accident. It’s up to the plaintiff to prove the defendant knew or should have known about a danger.

For example, an owner might be blamed for failing to replace lights that went out in a parking lot. If a customer was assaulted or fell in the dark, a jury would want to know whether the lights were out for a month or a few days. The longer a danger goes unrecognized and unaddressed, the more likely property neglect is involved.

Attorneys evaluate premises liability claims and support victims in settlements and, when necessary, jury trials.

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