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PREMISES LIABILITY

Over the last 25 years, the lawyers at Morgan & Murphy have represented thousands of victims of slip & fall and trip & fall types of accidents. These claims are categorized into a legal term called “PREMISES LIABILITY”. Premises liability creates in property owners the responsibility to keep their properties reasonably safe, secure and properly maintained. Whether due to defects or hazards on a property, dangerous conditions in stores, ice and snow or poorly maintained buildings, we have obtained payment for our clients for pain and suffering, lost wages, medical bills and more.

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  • DEFECTS AND HAZARDS

    Each year tens of thousands of people throughout Massachusetts are the victims of injuries caused by hazards or defects found in commercial and residential property. Hazards and defects are not just found in inner city buildings. These potentially dangerous conditions can also be found in the suburbs of the North Shore, South Shore and Metrowest, as well as more rural areas like the South Coast and the Cape and Islands.

    While there are different standards of care due invitees versus trespassers, generally property owners must keep their property reasonably safe for those entering upon the premises. In order to be found responsible for an accident, the property owner needs to have control of the property and, in particular, the area where the fall took place. Landlords and other property owners have a duty to warn of any dangerous conditions that they know or should have known about.

    SLIP & FALLS

    Many slip and falls occur in commercial or retail places likes supermarkets. Often they involve either a liquid or a foreign substance that has fallen onto the floor from either a shelf or from the produce area. Previously the success of foreign substance cases depended in large part upon how long the foreign substance had been left untouched in the area where the fall occurred. These cases were often difficult to prove. Recently the Massachusetts courts have applied a “mode of operation” standard to foreign substance cases, and they have become easier to prove.

    At Morgan & Murphy we have represented many people who have been seriously injured as the result of negligence on the part of their landlords. These tenants and oftentimes their neighbors have repeatedly reported defects or hazards to their landlords and the landlord has failed to cure the problem. If a tenant or guest is then hurt by the defect , the injured person may have the right to recover medical payments, lost wages and pain and suffering from the landlord. We have represented many tenants in claims involving defective interior and exterior stairs, poor interior and exterior lighting and falling ceilings due to leaking pipes.

    ICE & SNOW

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    In Massachusetts the courts have made it difficult, but not impossible to pursue slip and fall injuries which occur due to ice and snow. Simply stated, because ice and snow is considered to be a natural condition occurring during the winter months in Massachusetts, there is no recovery for injuries that occur due to slip and falls on snow and ice unless there is an unnatural accumulation of these substances. Therefore, a property owner's duty of care is not violated by the owner's failure to remove a natural accumulation of snow or ice.

    Many cases arise out of the unnatural accumulation of ice and snow. These cases are analyzed on a case by case basis by looking at the facts surrounding these slip and falls. Over the years, the courts have found exceptions to this rule. At Morgan & Murphy we have obtained settlements for our clients who have been injured due to slip and falls on ice and snow by establishing that the ice or snow accumulated in an unnatural way. Some of these successful cases include recovery for ruts and bumps of accumulated snow in in parking lots and on walks after they have been plowed improperly. We have also successfully settled claims where defective roofs, gutters and overhangs have caused drainage problems, creating unnatural accumulations of ice on walkways or stairs.

    Tenants and condominium unit owners tend to fare better when they are injured where they live. Where a landlord or condominium trust has undertaken the responsibility of keeping passageways and sidewalks clear from snow and ice and then negligently performs that duty in such a manner as to cause injury to a tenant or unit owner who relies on its proper performance, that landlord or condominium owner is liable. Tenants and condominium unit owners should check their respective leases or bylaws to determine their rights and then contact Morgan & Murphy for a consultation regarding any slip and fall on ice and snow.

    WE HAVE HANDLED SLIP & FALL CASES INVOLVING:

    **ice &snow **leaking pipes
    **supermarkets **broken gutters and drainage pipes
    **retail stores **landlords
    **trespassers **tenants and guests
    **culverts and holes **inadequate lighting
    **homeowners **parking lots
    **construction sites **defects in decks and stairways
     

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    Morgan & Murphy Person Injury Attorneys
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    Sample of Verdicts

      $150,000 settlement on a SLIP AND FALL ON ICE AND SNOW. The client underwent surgery for a broken leg after he slipped and fell on the sidewalk outside his home. We recovered pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses for the client.

      $80,000 settlement for a slip and fall at a convenience store on a wet floor. The client sustained several broken bones. The convenience store defended saying that there were "WET FLOOR" posted throughout the area. Despite that the defense, we were able to get the insurance company to pay for medical expenses and pain and suffering.

      $30,000 settlement for an OUT OF STATE DOG BITE CLAIM. We contended that the dog's owner was strictly liable for the injury to the finger and we were able to settle the claim successfully without having to leave Massachusetts.

      $100,000 policy limit settlement for a person injured in an auto accident. During arbitration we successfully argued that the plaintiff's pre-existing, congenital Chiari Malformation was aggravated to such an extent by the injuries sustained in the car accident that they became disabling and in need of surgical correction. The arbitrator agreed and ordered the insurance company to pay the entire amount of its policy.