Posts tagged with "personal injuries"

Caution wet floor sign on floor

Premises Liability Law in Massachusetts: Determining Who’s at Fault

Gravity works and things happen. We all know that, so we aren’t surprised when an injury occurs because of a slip and fall event. Sometimes gravity gets a bit of an assist in slip and fall events, however. This is why landlords and/or tenants are sometimes held responsible under the law of premises liability.

This means that someone falling on a property can blame gravity without question, but blame can also fall to the landlord and/or tenants, depending on the facts of the incident. The wise course of action is obvious: have your personal injury lawyer on speed dial if you’re a landlord or tenant.

Premises Liability Law

“Premises liability” holds the owners of properties and the residents living there liable for accidents occurring on the property. Landlords and tenants may be liable for injuries caused by a slip and fall, or other type of accident, on the premises which you own and/or occupy.

When an incident occurs and legal action begins as a result, one of the first steps is determining who’s at fault for the accident occurring. Under Massachusetts premises liability laws, injured parties can make legal claims for monetary damages if the event occurred as a result of a hazardous defect or situation on your real property.

Anyone who owns property in Massachusetts must maintain that property in a reasonably safe condition for lawful visitors. When an accident happens or a slip and fall incident occurs, certain conditions must apply in order to bring a lawsuit. Anyone filing a lawsuit against a property owner must provide proof that the owner had a duty to provide reasonable care, that the owner breached that duty and that an injury resulted because of it.

That’s not to say that the property owner is automatically faulted when a fall or injury occurs. The law recognizes that a normal part of daily life is occasionally dropping or spilling things. A property owner may not necessarily garner blame for not cleaning up a spill immediately or instantly picking something up. The law also recognizes that grounds shift over time, creating uneven areas that take time to rectify.

Property owners are also not at fault when someone trips or slips on something that an ordinary person could reasonably expect to find there, such as a drainage grate or a concrete parking bumper. These things are an expected encounter in a modern urban area and ordinary people should anticipate their presence, expect to see them and avoid them.

In short, we’re all expected to look where we’re going.

Determining Who’s at Fault

Every state has its own laws and procedures that determine liability when an injury happens. The focus of the law may be on the property, its condition at the time of the incident and the activities of the owner and the injured party. Or, the law may center around the status of the injured person in determining liability.

Determining who is responsible may hinge on one or more of the following:

  • The visitor’s legal status. One of the following labels may be applicable: invitee, licensee, social guest or trespasser.
  • The actions of the visitor and the owner, as well as the condition of the property at the time of the incident.
  • Is the injured party a child or a trespasser?
  • Could “shared fault” rules be applicable in an injury event?
  • Rules specifically governing landlords.

In Massachusetts, the injured party has the option of filing an insurance claim against the property owner’s insurance carrier or taking the case to court by filing a personal injury lawsuit. While there are a number of laws and legal rules in Massachusetts that can impact litigation, there are two main legal points to consider before filing your lawsuit.

First, there is a statute of limitations deadline for filing litigation in a slip and fall occurrence. Meeting this deadline is imperative before moving forward with your case.

Second, Massachusetts has “shared fault” rules. This means a ruling that you bear some amount of responsibility for the accident may impact your right to recover monetary compensation for damages.

Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall in Massachusetts

The civil court system of Massachusetts puts a limit on the amount of time allowed to pass before you forfeit your right to bring a lawsuit into court. Your personal injury attorneys in Boston or other cities can explain the statute of limitations that applies to your specific type of case.

The important point to understand is that trying to file a slip and fall lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline date will almost certainly end in a dismissal of your case. The property owner or landlord you’re filing against will be quick to point out to the court that you are past the deadline date. When this happens, expect the property owner’s motion to dismiss to be swiftly granted.

The slip and fall statute of limitations in Massachusetts is the same as most laws governing personal injury cases in general. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 260 section 2A places a time limit of three years within the date of the incident for filing a slip and fall accident lawsuit.

It is also required that the property owner or landlord receive notice when you intend to pursue a claim under premises liability laws. There is a limit on the time allowed for this. Such notice is generally required within 30 days of the event.


Contact us

At the Boston law firm of Colucci Colucci Marcus & Flavin, PC, our attorneys will help our clients recover the maximum possible compensation for their injuries. For a free initial consultation with one of our professional and experienced personal injury lawyers, call (617) 698-6000, or contact us online via our email form.

New discovery sheds light on connection between Traumatic Brain Injuries and depression

Over the past ten years, doctors and medical researchers have stepped up efforts to learn more about the ways in which traumatic brain injuries affect patients’ lives. In some cases, the long-term effects of a TBI are not only physical and cognitive, but emotional, as well. Recently, researchers from Ohio State University published a study that may explain why some of those who have suffered mild TBIs develop depression later on in life.

The study, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, compared the brains of mice that had suffered TBIs with the brains of mice that had not. The injured mice exhibited some physical symptoms in the time immediately following their injuries, but each one seemed to fully recover in about a week. After 30 days, researchers examined the brains of the injured mice. They discovered that the injured brains showed signs of continued inflammation caused by a heightened immune response. This inflammation corresponded with depressive symptoms observed in injured mice that were not observed in uninjured mice. The researchers believe that these problems would have worsened over time had they continued to monitor the mice.

In an uninjured brain, cells called microglia act as the primary defenders against infections and injuries by producing inflammation triggering chemicals. This inflammation is not severe enough to cause damage, but rather is just enough to help the brain repair itself. After a brief period, the inflammation subsides.

In injured brains, however, the microglia go on high alert and generate an immune response that causes excessive inflammation. Under these circumstances, even if a patient appears to have recovered fully from a TBI, his brain is damaging itself with its own immune system. In some cases, it may take years before this damage begins to exhibit itself, and it may be the cause of depressive symptoms.

This study is important because it provides essential insight into possible treatments for those with TBI related emotional issues. First, it may be possible to develop drugs that stop the brain’s natural immune response in the time after an injury, which would reduce inflammation and help prevent long-term damage. Second, knowing that depressive symptoms arise due to an inflammatory response explains why patients with TBI related depression do not typically respond to antidepressants.

Treatments that prevent or reverse the brain’s immune response are likely years away, but understanding the problem is the first step to helping those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Radiation therapy injuries – The unplanned hazards of radiation therapy

Hazards of radiation therapy

Throughout the last few decades, the use of radiation in the medical field has increased dramatically – likely saving innumerable lives in the process. In fact, the New York Timesonce reported that the average dose of diagnostic radiation received by Americans has increased sevenfold since 1980. However, radiation is not only used to diagnose medical problems, but treat them as well. For instance, radiation therapy is used to treat more than half of all cancer patients.

Tragically, given the strength of radiation therapy, it can also have very negative effects if improperly used or monitored. Patients, including those here in Boston, need to be aware of the adverse consequences and injuries associated with radiation therapy accidents – injuries such as severe pain, ulcers, difficulty breathing, or even death, just to name a few.

Radiation therapy injuries

One need not look far to find examples of radiation therapy injuries. In fact, the New York Times has cited multiples examples in several past articles – including a Florida incident in which an incorrectly programmed linear accelerator led to 77 brain cancer patients receiving 50 percent more radiation than ordered. This disastrous event is even more frightening given the fact that the accelerator had been incorrectly programmed for almost a year with no one noticing.

Other events of radiation therapy accidents include a Philadelphia hospital that provided the incorrect radiation dose to more the 90 prostate cancer patients, a New Jersey veterans’ hospital that overradiated 36 cancer patients and a Louisiana prostate cancer patient who received 38 radiation overdoses in a row.

These are sadly only a few examples of the types of radiation therapy injuries occurring in the medical industry. In fact, these injuries led to a New York Times radiation therapy investigation in 2010.

Despite the fact that many of the accident details were private under the law, the investigation surprisingly discovered 621 mistakes during a period from 2001 to 2008. Of the radiation mistakes found, 284 involved treatments that missed some portion of the correct target area, with some treatments being done on the wrong body part all together; for instance, treating for prostate cancer when the patient actually has stomach cancer. Even more alarming is that investigators also found 50 patients who were administered radiation treatment that was supposed to be for another patient entirely.

Unfortunately, radiation therapy accidents like these continue to occur. Accordingly, if you or a loved one has been injured while receiving radiation therapy, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney to understand your rights and options.