Premises Liability at the Ball Park

Last year, a woman fell two stories down an elevator shaft at Fenway Ball Park, suffering numerous injuries when she brushed up against an elevator door that unexpectedly slid open. Earlier this year, a woman was sent to the hospital after being hit in the face with a broken bat that flew into the stands. Although injuries on someone else’s property are not necessarily grounds for premises liability suits, in cases like these there is the possibility of a successful claim.

Premises liability suits depend on a number of factors, including whether the owner of the property was negligent in upkeep, if safety measures were taken to prevent injury, whether there was sufficient warning about the probability of injury, and when the injury case was filed.

Premises Liability on Public Property

The owners of public property, like Fenway Ball Park, have more leeway in premises liability suits than private property owners. Rather than all visitors being treated as “invitees” – individuals the owner has greater duties to warn – they are considered “licensees.” With licensees, the owner is only responsible for damages if he or she knew about the hazardous condition beforehand.

Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability suits, though they are not the only type that can occur. Cases usually come down to whether the equipment was maintained appropriately, whether there was evidence that the owner knew about the problem, and (if there was knowledge) whether there was sufficient warning about the potential danger.

If the owning company knew about the problems and did not warn visitors that there were hazardous conditions, it is clearly at fault. Even simple signs stating that floors are slippery can be sufficient to disprove fault in the courts. If you see these warnings, you are expected to act cautiously.

Responding to a Slip and Fall

If you or a loved one has a slip and fall, assess the conditions affecting the incident once you are able. For example, if the floor was slippery due to conditions like recent cleaning or polishing, the property owner may be negligent, especially if there were no warnings posted. These types of conditions may not be obvious before the fact, but they are certainly clear afterwards.

Massachusetts law requires premises liability cases to be filed within three years. With injury cases, this is three years from the date of the injury. If there was a fatality involved, the case is now a wrongful death suit, and the three year time limit is instead from the date of death. This is an important distinction, as the date of death may be later than the date of injury.

If you live in Boston and you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, contact the offices of Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP. Our partners are experts in premises liability suits, including wrongful death cases. Two of our attorneys are among the top 40 lawyers under the age of 40, and our third is listed as one of the top 100 national trial lawyers.

Sweeney Merrigan Law, LLP, is devoted to getting our clients the best settlement possible. No matter how simple a slip and fall or other property liability accident may be, there are always consequences to the injured party. We understand the areas of compensation that can be given to an injured person and will investigate the circumstances of the accident to demonstrate any negligence on the part of the business owner.

With the Massachusetts statute of limitation on these cases, the sooner you get us on your case, the better the outcome. Reach out to us for more information.

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