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Slip and Fall Accidents: Liability and Compensation in Maryland

Slip and fall accidents are premises liability claims for injuries sustained due to hazardous or unsafe conditions on someone’s property. Slip and fall accidents can occur on public or private premises, including businesses or residences. Common examples include sliding on an icy parking lot or sidewalk, falling or tripping over a hidden obstacle, falling from an unsecured object, falling through a weak floor, step, or unsecured manhole, or slipping on a wet floor. 

Property owners are obligated to maintain safe and hazard-free conditions for visitors. To establish liability for a slip and fall injury, one must demonstrate that the property owner was negligent in maintaining the property or warning visitors of potential dangers.

According to the Maryland law, specific requirements must be met to prove negligence and pursue a claim.

  • Notice of Unsafe Condition: It must be shown that the property owner had knowledge or should have known of a dangerous condition and failed to take appropriate steps to eliminate that condition or warn visitors of potential hazards.
  • Legal Status of Visitor: The injured person must have been a legal visitor at the time of the accident. Property owners may not be liable if the individual was trespassing, or entered the property illegally or in an area where visitors are not allowed.
  • Direct Cause of Injuries: Injuries sustained must be directly caused by a hazardous condition on the property.
  • Provable Damages: The injured party must prove the damages suffered due to a slip and fall accident. Damages include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, or property damage.
  • Statute of limitations: In Maryland, claims must be presented within the three-year statute of limitations with a few exceptions. If a government agency is involved, there may be an additional requirement to notify that agency within a certain amount of time regardless of whether the statute of limitations has expired. Another exception would be if the injured party were a minor, they would have three years after reaching the age of majority to file a lawsuit. If the injured party dies as a result of the accident, a claim for wrongful death can be presented within three years of the date of death.

Common hurdles or complications injured parties experience in presenting a slip and fall claim include proving the property owner’s awareness of the dangerous condition and their failure to address it. Additionally, Maryland follows a contributory negligence rule. This means any contribution to the fall, even as little as 1%, absolves the property owner of liability.  Factors such as footwear or awareness of dangerous weather conditions can impact the ability to recover for injuries.

At Bob Katz Law, we are here to help if you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We are committed to advocating for your interests, ensuring that every effort is directed towards securing the best outcome.

By Tatyana Bronzova, December 19, 2023


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