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.
The injured party must also show that the owner neglected to take the reasonable steps necessary to protect invitees. Here, the evidence of record showed that the plaintiff admitted that there was no visible hole in the ground prior to his fall, and none of the defendant’s employees were tasked with inspecting that area or were aware of any defect. As such, the court found that the plaintiff was unable to establish that the defendant knew or should have known of the defect as required to establish negligence and granted the defendant’s motion.
Meet with a Trusted Massachusetts Attorney
People who fail to properly maintain their property should be held accountable for any harm that others suffer as a result of their carelessness. If you suffered harm in a trip and fall accident, you might be owed compensation, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. Attorney John S. Moffa of the Law Offices of John S. Moffa has ample experience helping people injured by the carelessness of others seek redress for their losses, and if you hire him, he will advocate aggressively on your behalf. You can reach Mr. Moffa via the online form or by calling 508-362-5554 to set up a meeting.