Slip & Falls
By law, a property owner or manager, must ensure that their property is safe for visitors. Proving negligence in slip and fall cases can be incredibly difficult, which is why it is important to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney as soon as possible. If there are hazardous conditions that the property owner knew about or should have known about, and the owner/manager did not take reasonable steps to fix the problem, then he or she may be sued for negligence. Hazardous conditions might include: an icy sidewalk, a slippery floor, loose handrails, etc.
In many slip and fall cases, the property owner or manager will attempt to defend the lawsuit by shifting blame to the victim. They do this by claiming that the victim’s own negligence contributed to his or her injuries. In Maryland, this concept is referred to as contributory negligence, and can be applied in certain types of cases involving negligence. An example of the concept in action would be if a person was on texting on their cellphone, causing them to disregard a “wet floor” sign before slipping and falling. In this example, the property owner could argue that the person is at least partially responsible for his or her injuries because a reasonable person would have used more caution while walking. This legal concept can have a significant impact on the outcome of the case as Maryland has unique laws regarding contributory negligence. To summarize, a victim may be ineligible for financial recovery if he or she is found to be even partly at fault for the accident.
Our Baltimore slip and fall attorneys have experience with the following types of cases:
- Injuries sustained by individuals using dangerous or unstable stairways.
- Accidents where victims fall on sidewalks.
- Accidents involving dim lighting and slippery surfaces.
Slip and falls are a part of premises liability that fall under the umbrella of personal injury law. Premises liability involves the legal responsibility of property owners and managers to keep their properties safe from hazards. Different legal rules apply to premises liability depending on whether the person injured is considered an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
Invitee versus Licensee
An invitee is a person invited onto a property by the property owner for the purposes of business. Examples of invitees include a person shopping at a retail store during business hours or an HVAC technician hired to make repairs at a person’s home.
On the other hand, a licensee is a guest invited to someone’s property for social purposes, such as a party. The difference between invitees and licensees is that property owners generally owe a lower duty of care to licensees. This means that, with regard to licensees, property owners would only need to address safety hazards that are already known to the owner. Whereas, a higher duty of care is owed to invitees, which requires the property owner to actively examine the premises for any hazardous conditions.
The status of a person visiting a property can mean the difference between recovering full damages for your injury or recovering nothing. For this reason, you should contact Cohen|Harris as soon as possible after the accident occurs to determine the strength of your case.
Liability for Injuries Sustained by Trespasser
Typically, property owners do not owe any duty of care to keep trespassers safe, with the exception that property owners cannot trap or injure a trespasser. Individuals have very few rights with respect to injuries sustained while trespassing. However, the rules are different when the trespasser is a child. The property owner may be held liable if a child trespasses onto your property due to an “attractive nuisance” (i.e., a swimming pool). In these cases, a higher duty of care likely applies to the child-trespasser.