Massachusetts Court Discusses Premises Liability Claims Against the Federal Government

Many of the same obligations apply to businesses run by federal agents as they do to non-public corporations. For example, if a person is injured at a government building due to a slip and fall accident, the person can file a premises liability claim against the federal government. A Massachusetts court recently clarified what a plaintiff needs show to demonstrate the government’s culpability for harm caused by a slip and fall accident. If you were injured as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you should consult with a knowledgeable Massachusetts personal injury lawyer to discuss your options.

The Plaintiff’s Accident

The complainant is said to have fallen while visiting the post office on a rainy day. She was injured and filed a premises liability claim against the defendant under the Federal Tort Claims Act as a result (the Act). After discovery, the defendant filed a motion for summary judgment. The court refused the defendant’s motion after considering the facts.

Developing Evidence for Premises Liability Claims

The federal government is liable in tort to the same extent and in the same manner as a private individual in similar circumstances under the Act. Because the plaintiff’s accident happened in Massachusetts, she needed to show that the defendant was negligent under Massachusetts law.

The court clarified that negligence is defined as failing to use the same level of care that a reasonable person would in a similar scenario. As a result, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to behave with reasonable care, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the plaintiff suffered loss as a result of the breach. The plaintiff must also establish a causal link between the injury and the breach of the owed obligation.

Invitees are particularly owed a duty to exert reasonable care to avoid harm caused by third-party conduct by business owners. This involves the responsibility to keep a property reasonably safe in light of all relevant factors, such as the danger of harm, the severity of potential injuries, and the cost of avoiding the risks.

A plaintiff must show that the business knew or should have known about the harmful condition and that the plaintiff was unlikely to be able to protect herself from the harm in order to hold the business accountable. In the instance at hand, the court determined that there was sufficient evidence showing, at the very least, there was a disagreement as to whether the defendant had breached the plaintiff’s duties. As a result, the motion of the defendant was denied.

Speak with an Attorney in Massachusetts

Business owners have a responsibility to protect clients from injury caused by unsafe circumstances on their premises, and they can be held accountable if they fail to do so. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, the skilled attorneys of The Law Offices of John C. Manoog, III, can advise you of your rights and assist you in pursuing the maximum amount of damages available under the law. You can reach us through our form online or at 888-262-6664 to set up a conference.


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