When is a property owner liable?
Under the law, a property owner is obligated to keep their property in a safe and hazard-free condition. The owner of the property where a slip and fall occurs is responsible only if the owner knew of a dangerous condition that caused the injury and failed to take steps to eliminate the condition. A property owner can also be liable even if he or she was not aware of the dangerous condition if the owner failed to monitor the condition of the property properly.
Slip and fall cases usually apply to businesses but can also involve the owners of private residences. The legal standard is different when a slip and fall occurs at a private residence. If the injured person is a trespasser, it is unlikely that person will be entitled to compensation for injuries occurring while on the property without the owner’s permission. If the owner knows the person is there or has invited that person to be on the property, that person would be categorized as a social guest or a business invitee and different rights, and responsibilities would apply.
Statute of Limitations
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a time limit on your right to file a lawsuit. If you bring a slip and fall case after the expiration of the statute of limitations, a court is likely to dismiss your case. In Maryland, the statute of limitations in a slip and fall lawsuit is the same as any other personal injury claim. A plaintiff has three years from the date the injury occurred to file a lawsuit.
If you file a lawsuit in a slip and fall case, be prepared for the other side to argue that you are partially at fault for your injuries. Maryland follows the very harsh rule of contributory negligence. This means that if you contributed in any way to your own fall, the property owner would not be held liable. You may only be 1% at fault for the incident, and the property owner 99% at fault, and you still would not be able to recover on your claim.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury
If you’ve been injured as the result of a slip and fall accident, an attorney can help you evaluate your options and determine who may be at fault for your injuries. Contact the experienced attorneys at Alpert Schreyer, LLC, online or call us at 301-381-2655 for a free consultation.