People who suffer the loss of a loved one often expect they will have to contend with many things, such as economic losses, grief, and other strong emotions. They rarely anticipate that they will suffer harm during the process of saying goodbye to their loved ones, however. Harmful accidents can occur in a graveyard, though, and if they are caused by negligence, the party that owns the cemetery may be held accountable. Proving liability is not always an easy task, though. Recently, a Massachusetts court explained what evidence a person injured in a trip and fall accident must produce to recover damages in a case arising out of a fall in a cemetery. If you were hurt in a fall, it is in your best interest to speak to a seasoned Massachusetts personal injury attorney to discuss your potential claims.
The Plaintiff’s Injuries
Reportedly, the plaintiff attended a funeral service at the defendant’s cemetery. After the service was over, he began to walk over gravestones towards his car. When he was walking, he encountered a soft area, and his foot sunk into the ground, creating a hole that caused him to fall and sustain injuries to his leg and ankle. He subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, alleging its negligent maintenance of the property caused the dangerous condition that led to his harm. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing the plaintiff failed to prove the elements of negligence. The court agreed and dismissed the plaintiff’s claims.
Establishing Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident
Under Massachusetts law, property owners may be held liable for harm suffered by people who legally enter their premises, but only under certain circumstances. Specifically, an injured party must show that the owner knew or should have known that a dangerous condition that posed a risk of harm to invitees existed and that the invitees would not discover the condition or realize the danger and take the actions needed to protect themselves.