Slip and fall accidents are common. In many cases, the victims are responsible since they were careless or even engaging in horseplay. However, in other situations, a property owner’s negligence contributes to the incident and a property owner can be held liable. People who fall can suffer soft tissue injuries, sprains, concussions, bone fractures and back injuries.
Some injuries are so serious that they affect the individual’s quality of life significantly. It can be difficult to prove that a slip and fall accident was not your fault, especially if you try to do alone. Most victims find it necessary to hire an attorney who has successfully handled such cases before. Having the right Maryland slip and fall lawyer can make a big difference in your ability to get compensation.
Determining Property Owner Liability in a Slip and Fall Case
Property owners are generally required to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. However, the duty of care can vary depending on the type of property and who the visitor is. Depending on what the property is used for, the liable party can vary. If you suffered injuries at a private residence, the homeowner would be responsible. However, if you slipped and fell in a store at the mall, the person who leased the space is likely to be responsible rather than the owner of the building.
Of course, there are circumstances in which this may not be the case. The lessee may be held liable for a spill that wasn’t cleaned up promptly. However, the landlord may be held liable if they were supposed to address the hazard that caused you to fall. Your Maryland slip and fall attorney will investigate the situation and identify the correct party.
Another factor that will affect your case is whether you were an invitee, a trespasser or a licensee. Invitees can include friends, relatives and neighbors. Service providers and salespeople can be considered licensees. The property owner’s duty of care will vary depending on your status. An individual has a greater duty of care to someone they invited to their home than they do to someone who was planning to steal. Licensees would at least need to be warned about hazards since they wouldn’t be familiar enough with the property to otherwise know.
Trespassers are people who don’t have permission to be on the property. If you were trespassing, the property owner has no duty to keep you safe. One of the few exceptions is if the person who strayed onto the property was a child. Therefore, if it was your child who slipped and fell, the property owner may still be responsible. It’s best to reach out to an attorney for case-specific advice.
The Role of Contributory Negligence and the Statute of Limitations
It can be hard for victims in Maryland to get the compensation they deserve. One reason for this is that this state practices a contributory negligence system. The business or individual can argue that you were somewhat responsible for your fall. If the court agrees, you would not be able to get compensation. Even if you were just one percent at fault, you would walk away empty-handed. The defendant may argue that you were careless, or you should have known that a hazard was present. The contributory negligence doctrine is used by property owners every day and sometimes, it works. However, a skilled attorney can help you to prove that you had no role to play.
Meanwhile, you need to keep the statute of limitations in mind. It affects slip and fall cases in the same way as other personal injury cases. You only have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This doesn’t mean you can wait that long to take action. It takes time to build a case and most personal injury cases are settled via negotiations. You need to give this process time to work before you head to court. However, you’ll lose leverage if you allow the statute of limitations to run out.
Call the Team at Pinder Plotkin LLC Today
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident because of someone’s negligence, you’ll need help. Our Maryland personal injury law firm can help you to get the compensation you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation so we can review your case and give you a legal opinion. You don’t have to pay us any fees until we secure compensation for you.