Premises Liability in MA & History of accidents on legendary Rollercoaster, “The Comet”
It was a “legendary ride” known as ‘the Comet’ located at an amusement park named Lincoln Park on a parcel of real estate in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. The park is in Dartmouth MA which is nestled between the Whaling City of New Bedford, MA and the great city of Fall River. The park was less than an hour from Boston, Massachusetts.
The roller coaster was so legendary that many people travelled all the way from Boston, Quincy, Worcester and Springfield among other cities and towns to enjoy the thrills and excitement of the ride. Local teens from Somerset, Seekonk, Freetown, Rehoboth and Fairhaven were known to frequent the park.
Quotes and some info for this article from The Standard Times South Coast Life, “Calmity on the comet” August 25th 2013. http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130825/LIFE/308250350
Children, teens and adults came to Lincoln Park from all over Massachusetts & Southern New England from 1894 to 1997 to enjoy the legendary amusement park. The park was always best known for the thrilling and amazing comet roller coaster.
Sadly, The Comet had a long history of accidents beginning with a man dying in 1964 during a ride as a result of standing up. The Comets last ride was in 1987 after yet another accident. There was also a serious crash in 64 in which 8 people were injured, some seriously. In 1968, 9 people were injured according to the standard times article. Tragically, another man died from antics while apparently jumping from one car to another. The comet ceased real existence in 1987 after the accident and then the park closed several months later. Id.
What happened at Lincoln Park in 1968?
The 1868 Crash was the most notable of them all. According to the New Bedford Standard Times: “A little after 10 p.m. on that frightful and fateful night 45 years ago, more thrill seekers were eagerly boarding the Comet, not knowing it would quickly turn into the disastrous ride of their lives as the coaster slowly began climbing the first hill with a familiar “clink, clink, clink”.The screams of fear and excitement soon became those of genuine horror when the last car on the four-car roller coaster derailed and flipped to one side, causing another car to land on top of it, hurling passengers to the ground. It was a tragic accident that left nine passengers injured, two seriously, according to a Standard-Times article on July 24, 1968.”Id.
“The scene became chaotic, according to the story. Those unhurt or with minor injuries, began helping the badly injured riders before a fleet of police cars, ambulances and fire trucks from Dartmouth, Westport, New Bedford, Fairhaven and State Police raced down Route 6 to the park, along with Civil Defense units.” Id.
What is the basic negligence law in Massachusetts?
“A property owner owes a common-law duty of reasonable care to all persons lawfully on the premises.” O’Sullivan v. Shaw, 431 Mass. 201, 204 (2000). This duty includes an obligation to `maintain his property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk.'” Ibid., quoting from Mounsey v. Ellard, 363 Mass. 693, 708 (1973).” Quote from IN SELENA SOEDERBERG v.CONCORD GREENE CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION. 76 Mass. App. Ct. 333 (2010) http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15568001088496113186
What statute pertains to fatal accidents and wrongful death in Massachusetts?
Currently, the Law in Massachusetts concerning wrongful death is: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleII/Chapter229/Section2 “A person who (1) by his negligence causes the death of a person, or (2) by willful, wanton or reckless act causes the death of a person under such circumstances that the deceased could have recovered damages for personal injuries if his death had not resulted”
What obligation do property owners in MA owe to visitors to clear snow and ice to prevent slip and falls?
The Court set forth the duty of landowners to make reasonable efforts to protect visitors against snow and ice that they are aware of or should be aware of. The Seminal case concerning slip and fall on ice in Ma is PAPADOPOULOS v. TARGET CORPORATION.
In Papadopoulos, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reasoned “This introduces no special burden on property owners. If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property, whether arising from an accumulation of snow or ice, or rust on a railing, or a discarded banana peel, the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger.”…”an accumulation of ice or snow upon a common approach to a tenement house may impose upon the landlord a liability for injuries due to it, provided he knew, or in the exercise of a reasonable oversight ought to have known, of the existence of a dangerous condition and failed to exercise reasonable care to provide against injury by reason of it” See PAPADOPOULOS v. TARGET CORPORATION http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ma-supreme-judicial-court/1532932.html In
Did Personal Injury Litigation commence as a result of the injured riders in the 1968 roller coaster crash
According to the Standard Times article, “Attorney (and later judge) Rosalind Poll Brooker of New Bedford took the case….which was later taken over by an attorney from Boston….and once it was determined the track was faulty, they (Lincoln Park) settled,” said Souza.
If you are injured in a premises liability accident please contact a Massachusetts Personal Injury Attorney or a MA Amusement Park Personal Injury Lawyer as soon as possible.
What is “premises liability” under Massachusetts law?
In MA, Premises liability pertains to a diverse range of personal injury claims. These types of claims and lawsuits seek to hold a real estate owner or the person in possession of the real estate liable as a result of an accident causing injury to a person who was using the property. This type of claim includes “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” mishaps.
A Mass. real estate liability claim typically pertains to the owners or occupants failure to properly maintain the premises safely. The claim could also allege a failure to fix an unreasonably dangerous conditions on the property of which the defendant either knew or should have known about. A claim could result based on an allegations of failure to warn visitors of a known danger on the property which caused personal injury or death.
Premises liability is not just limited to falls on ice and snow but also includes: asbestos exposure, dog bites, mesothelioma, Inadequate security measures enabling assaults, Inadequately lit stair cases, stairway falls, falling merchandise, or hanging hazards, carbon monoxide leaks, iced entrance ways, slippery floors, electric shock due to exposed electric wiring.