Fatalities Caused by Accidents on Property
Tenacious Boston Lawyers Handling Wrongful Death Cases
Massachusetts property owners have a duty to provide a certain level of care and attention to ensure that guests are safe when visiting. An accident on someone else’s property can happen when they fail to meet this duty. Some accidents are relatively minor, and a victim may recover completely. Others premises liability accidents are far more serious and lead to unfortunate fatalities that affect an entire family for a lifetime. If a property owner fails to install or maintain appropriate lighting, for example, visitors are at risk for falls. Wet surfaces, faulty staircases, and hazards in swimming pools are other common examples of situations that can lead to a fatality. At the law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston wrongful death lawyers have assisted many in Massachusetts with obtaining compensation after losing a loved one to another person or entity’s carelessness.
Understanding Premises Liability Actions
There are many different ways that a victim can lose his or her life as a result of an accident on property. A missing manhole cover on a street or sidewalk, black ice on a walkway, or rundown parking lots can create a serious risk of slip and falls or trip and falls. Poor lighting is another common cause of injuries on property, especially during winter when conditions make the ground icy, or in a dark stairwell. If an apartment complex does not have well-maintained furnaces, they may emit carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if the occupant does not evacuate the building in time. Gas leaks present the hazard of explosion and fire. Failure to maintain working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors may contribute to injuries or deaths.
Businesses also have a duty to ensure that guests and visitors are free from unreasonable risks of attacks by third parties, such as in a dark parking lot in an area with a high crime rate. Landlords and commercial property owners must maintain railings, escalators and elevators. Stairs with missing steps or broken treads, loose carpeting, and damaged balconies are additional examples of potential defects. If a property is undergoing renovation or construction, the property owner is responsible for preventing exposure to dangerous work conditions and hazards from falling construction materials.
Children present some distinctive issues when it comes to the duties owed to them by property owners. They often lack the ability to understand the dangers that certain places pose. Swimming pools and construction sites are two common examples. If a construction site does not take care to cover dangerous pits or to render construction equipment safe, a child could lose his or her life if they wander into the area. A premises liability claim may be an option in these tragic circumstances.
In most serious cases involving death caused by a premises liability accident, expert witnesses will be required to testify about the conditions that caused the incident, as well as the standard of care required. Building codes, construction regulations, and local ordinances may all provide evidence of a defendant’s negligence.
Seek Justice Through a Wrongful Death Claim
Massachusetts provides a cause of action for wrongful death in situations in which a victim suffers a fatality caused by an accident on property. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the person who must file the action. This person is may be named in a will. If there is no such person identified, the court can appoint someone to the position of executor or administrator. In the lawsuit, a wrongful death lawyer must prove that the defendant failed to use due care at the time of the accident and that this failure was the direct cause of the decedent’s untimely passing.
Damages in a wrongful death case include reimbursement for burial expenses, funeral expenses, the loss of the victim’s care, companionship, and guidance, and the loss of their expected income, among other damages. In certain situations, punitive damages may be recovered. Punitive damages are only available when the plaintiff can prove gross negligence, reckless disregard for the decedent’s safety.
Consult a Knowledgeable Premises Liability Attorney in the Boston Area
Having a vigilant wrongful death lawyer to guide your family and you through this process can make an enormous difference in easing your mind and your finances. While you are coping with your grief and the suddenness of the loss, we can ensure that your legal rights are protected at all times. At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston lawyers provide bereaved family members with compassionate attention. We proudly serve families of victims of accidents on property, car crashes, and other fatal accidents in Boston, Cambridge, Waltham, Lowell, Newton, Somerville, Quincy, Dedham, Norwood, Brookline, Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Plymouth, Worcester, Lawrence, and Springfield. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 1-800-379-1244 or contact us online to get started.