Meetings can be scheduled by appointment at various locations for the convenience of our clients. If you can't come to us, we'll come to you.
Baltimore, MD
410.576.4287410.576.4287
Tysons Corner, VA
888.540.2599888.540.2599
By Appointment Only
Bethesda, MD
301.470.7201301.470.7201
Washington, DC
202.659.0555202.659.0555

Assumption Of Risk Defenses In Maryland Slip And Fall Accident Cases

Please note: the following is not legal advice. Do not assume the facts herein are applicable to your case without talking to a lawyer. Each case is unique and results depend on a variety of factors. For more information see the full disclaimer below the article.

  • Under the law in Maryland, the doctrine of assumption of risk can have a profound effect on an injured victim’s ability to succeed and recover in a personal injury case.

  • Assumption of Risk is a doctrine of law that is asserted as a Defense to negligence claims, in certain types of personal injury actions. The idea is basically that if the injured victim knowingly and voluntarily assumed the risk of injury by choosing to act in a particular manner, he should be barred from recovering for his injuries, even if he is blameless, because he 1.) Knew of the potential risk and 2.) Voluntarily encountered that risk.
  • For example, if Passenger A gets into a vehicle in which driver A was intoxicated and Passenger A knows Driver A is intoxicated but gets into the vehicle anyway, because he needs a ride home…Passenger A may be precluded from recovering money from the negligent intoxicated driver even though the Driver’s drunken negligent driving was the cause of the accident. The reason this doctrine would apply in this case is because 1.) The Passenger knew there was a potential risk of danger of being driven by an intoxicated driver and 2.) The passenger voluntarily engaged that risk by abandoning his position of safety or not choosing some safter alternative like calling a taxi cab to drive him home.
  • Since Assumption of Risk is a Defense, it must be asserted by the Defendant in a negligence action, and if proved sufficiently to a judge or jury, then it is a complete bar to recovery for the Plaintiff.
  • This type of defense is most commonly raised is in slip and fall cases in Maryland. For example, suppose a person is walking through a parking lot and while walking, notices some large potholes and cracks in the parking lot with cones all around it. The person even though they see these warnings tries to walk across them anyway and gets injured as a result.  If the assumption of risk doctrine is applied here, the Plaintiff will usually not be able to recover money for his injuries in Maryland even if the premises owner or occupier was negligent in failing to properly maintain the premises in a reasonable and safe condition. Indeed, even if the premises owner was negligent, the Plaintiff in this type of case will most likely be held to have assumed the risk of his injury and therefore is barred from any sort of recovery from the negligent property owner.
  • This has been a hurdle to recovery for many personal injury victims that are injured in snow and ice cases.  Defendant Premises owners in Maryland have even gone so far as arguing that victim’s who were injured by slipping and falling on invisible or “black ice” without actual knowledge that the ice was present, should be held to have assumed the risk of falling simply because they were walking outside in the cold and under the circumstances of cold weather, it is foreseeable that ice might be present.
  • In the Maryland case of Allen v. Marriott Worldwide, the Plaintiff slipped and fell on black ice while leaving the hotel to walk to the parking lot which had black ice.  The courts determined that the Plaintiff assumed the risk because she should have know that there was a possibility that the water would freeze and form black ice and by walking in the parking lot she assumed that risk.
  • Fortunately for Plaintiffs, this case was largely overturned in the Maryland Court Of Appeals giving renewed hope and rights for injured slip and fall victims in Maryland. In Poole v. Coakley Williams Construction the injured party claimed that he slipped and fell on black ice in a parking lot in Montgomery County behind his workplace and blamed the construction company who had caused the black ice to form. The court essentially decided that Allen v. Marriott Worldwide was decidedly incorrectly and that it cannot be assumed that the Plaintiff should have had the knowledge that there was black ice and if the Plaintiff did not have that knowledge, then there can be no assumption of risk.
  • Assumption of Risk is a tricky hurdle for Plaintiff’s in Slip and Fall Cases. Indeed, each case must be looked specifically and analyzed specifically within the framework of the Maryland law. It is not always easy to determine whether or not a Plaintiff assumed the risk of his or her injuries in Maryland and in fact, many times, such a determination is left for the Jury to decide.
  • An experienced Maryland Slip and Fall Lawyer should always be consulted with to determine whether a viable negligence claim exists against a premises owner in or occupier Maryland and what, if any, defenses may operate as a bar to such negligence claims. Further, as the law is dynamic and constantly changing, what was an applicable assumption of risk defense two years ago may not be applicable today. The only way to know for sure is to consult with a knowledgeable Maryland injury lawyer.
  • Justin Katz has litigated multiple slip and fall claims throughout the State of Maryland and the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.

Read Some of Our Recent Client Reviews!

Brittany Peterson
Brittany Peterson
08:19 17 Nov 18
Had a very awesome experience fast settlements... Communication was a A+ ...Strongly recommend Mr.Katz. !!! Ms. Robin made me felt like family was always there when i needed her and when i had a question.
Yarnell Goodwin
Yarnell Goodwin
23:38 15 Nov 18
Got a little more settlement money than expected. Was provided great service and prompt responses. I greatly appreciate it!
Ashley Poole
Ashley Poole
01:05 08 Nov 18
Attorney Bob Katz and his staff are highly recommend. Customer Service was impeccable. Every phone call and email was responded to in a timely manner. Natalie Ulrich was very professional, helpful and thorough every step of the way, which resulted in a stress free experience. I will recommend this law firm to family and friends!
Tania Jefferson
Tania Jefferson
17:51 06 Nov 18
Customer service was A+. All questions were answered promptly and information was shared appropriately. Concerns were addressed and I was made aware of all updates on my case. I would whole heartedly recommend this firm.
edward Robinson
edward Robinson
03:00 06 Nov 18
I highly recommend Mr. Katz and his staff. They were friendly, compassionate and really showed they had their clients best interest at heart. There was never a time you called them they didn't respond or returned your calls and answer your questions.They took the worry, and stress and turn it into reassurance. They were diligent and just down right professional. My wife and I really thank God for allowing us to cross paths on a professional business experience. Ms. Rebecca Slatery is the most courteous, compassionate soul. We wish you all peace, love and blessings. Thank you for your service.
J JR
J JR
20:11 31 Oct 18
I decided to use this firm again for an accident I was involved in. As always they were professional and caring. Rebecca slattery was the paralegal assigned to my case and she was professional and kept me up to date with everything. I would recommend this firm to friends and family!
Cedric Jones
Cedric Jones
19:04 23 Oct 18
Erica Z is amazing with keeping you to date and staying communication with you during the entire process. Meghan Young was a wonderful lawyer made me feel extremely comfortable in the courtroom and she also fights for the best possible outcome for you..GREAT LAW FIRM
Nguyen Le
Nguyen Le
16:44 23 Oct 18
It was a great experience being taken care of by Rebecca Slattery and Meghan Young, they helped me resolve my case and were very courteous and professional. Highly recommend working with this law firm
Soun Gil
Soun Gil
21:35 17 Oct 18
Ms. Park helped me out through my whole accident process. She took her time with me and made sure I understood everything. I would recommend to her all of my friends if they were to get into any accident.
Yejin Chung
Yejin Chung
15:40 12 Oct 18
I highly recommend. My family’s experience with this office was great. Christina Franetovich was very helpful throughout the whole process, which made this experience less stressful. She responded to my questions immediately and made sure that I understood everything.
Claudette Pope
Claudette Pope
13:18 30 Aug 18
I was referred to Gordon & feindblatt in 2014 when my family was in an accident, Mr. Katz personally consulted with me by phone and he was very polite and professional, Mr. Carpuso, one of the litigation attorneys even came out to our home and went over our case with us, he made sure all of our needs was addressed and before he left our home that day I felt like we were old friends. that case was settled and I was very pleased, I have used this law firm twice since then and the results are always the same, I have nothing but great experiences with Gordon & Feindblatt the staff are courteous and professional and they get the job done but the one in particular that really stood out for me is Rebecca Slattery, she is truly a gem, she is so compassionate, she walked me through the entire process, she even checked up on me from time to time just to see how I was feeling and I really appreciated her kindness. I will use this law firm again and again for any future legal issue that may arise and I would highly recommend Gordon & Fiendblatt to friends, family and co-workers.
UniversalSniping
UniversalSniping
02:32 04 Aug 18
The lawyer who was initially handling my case parted ways with the company and I was assigned a new lawyer. This new lawyer was amazing! Christina Franetovich made me feel secure by double checking all the facts and notes in my case so that I was not worried during this transition. I was on disability from an a different accident while she was finalizing my case, and I had called and hounded her about the time frame of my settlement very frequently to the point that I felt guilty for calling so much. Christina was very sympathetic to my situation and assured me that she would do everything in her power to make sure the situation would be resolved quickly. She actually finalized my case before the time frame she had given me, was always very courteous and knowledgable on the phone, and I feel extremely lucky that she ended up handling my case because the previous lawyer was not as amazing with customer service as Christina. She also has a way of making you feel comfortable and builds incredible rapport quickly. I am going to highly recommend her to my friends and family. Thank you Christina!!!
Richard Hose
Richard Hose
02:26 27 Jun 18
On Feb 23, 2017 I was in a bad accident on the JFX. I had been rear end by another driver. Almost immediately I felt pressured by the other drivers insurance. Everything from wanting a recorded statement; to failing to acknowledge responsibility. No one would answer my questions, nor would anyone take responsibility. I was frustrated and overwhelmed with everyone from the towing company, to the repair shop, to the insurance company nightmare I just entered. I reached out to Attorney Robert Katz and I was assured they were here to help. He provided with some much needed information, and told me not to worry, Sarah his Paralegal would be in touch to help get things moving. Sarah reached out as expected and explained their process and walked me through what my expectations would be. She as well assured me they were here to help me navigate the obstacles. What Sarah really did was so much more than help. She took the stress and burden off my shoulders and assumed ownership for handling everything on my behalf. I knew what to expect, and I received regular updates throughout the entire process. Honestly, I received so much more than I anticipated. Some of the most frustrating items to chase after are medical records and hospital charges. While I was trying to recall events and timelines, she had already obtained my records and information. She made this process so painless. I truly cannot say enough about the exceptional service she provided. Many thanks for all your help. Sincerely, Richard Hose
Andrea Barajas
Andrea Barajas
15:13 16 May 18
My husband and I were in a car accident in August 2017. We contacted Bob Katz team for legal representation in our case. Kristen A. Turner was our paralegal and she was excellent. It took 9 months for us to receive our settlement and Kristen kept us updated throughout this entire process. She was very kind and patient as I happened to have several questions. She always answered my questions promptly and thoroughly. I would highly recommend this firm and Kristen if you are in need of legal assistance.
TheOfficalCeeandDee
TheOfficalCeeandDee
15:24 09 Feb 18
My experience here was great. My lawyer Rebecca was so professional and I love her personality. She handled my case well and kept me updated and made the process easy and always made me feel comfortable to call whenever I needed to know anything.
Next Reviews