Slip and fall accidents might not be as common as motor vehicle collisions, but they are prevalent enough to require legal attention, mainly because of the injuries suffered. A slip and fall claim is a fallback position, guaranteed to you by law. They can happen anywhere in public places —malls, sidewalks, parking lots, or hotels. As personal injury lawyers, we’ve dealt with several types of these situations.
Irrespective of the location, once you sustain an injury because of a negligent property owner, the law provides you avenues to seek redress with the help of a Maryland personal injury attorney. In this article, we will look at several elements that constitute a slip and fall claim.
The Property Owner’s Duty of Care
Tort law makes it clear that a person who has been wronged by a breach of the duty of care owed to them has the right to seek redress in a court of law. In slip and fall cases, it is vital to establish on whose part this duty lies.
The duty of care is subject to change, depending on the property involved. If it is a private residence, with the victim as the owner, then the primary duty of maintaining the property lies on the individual.
If the property is under a lease, the lessee would be responsible for the time the lease exists. It means that the lessee and not the lessor owes a duty of care to everyone who comes into the leased premises.
Therefore, in proving a property owner liable for a slip and fall accident, you must show that person failed to reasonably keep the premises in a safe condition for the purpose intended. You must also prove that the injury you suffered is a direct result of the negligence.
Dangerous or Defective Conditions on the Property
The prevalent cause of a slip and fall claim is often referred to as “Dangerous or defective conditions.” They refer to abnormal situations that cause a person to lose their footing and fall within a walking area.
Common outdoor/indoor dangerous or defective conditions are:
- Ice-covered concrete
- Raised or uneven pedestrian walkways
- Broken asphalt
- Liquid puddles
- Spilled food items
- Unsecured rugs
- Inadequate lightening
- Missing handrails
- Excessively high/short stair steps
Any of the above can result in a slip and fall and lead to injuries like bruising or sprains, or more severe wounds like traumatic brain injuries, ankle, hip, or wrist fractures, or dislocation of the neck or back discs. These are the types of conditions that most often lead to a slip and fall claim being filed.
Maryland is one of the few jurisdictions that allow contributory negligence as a defense to slip and fall claims. It means that while property owners are obligated to provide you with a safe and hazard-free environment, you must ensure that you play no part in your fall.
For example, if there’s a sign to avoid an area due to a spill or inadequate lighting, and you ignore the warning, you will be held partly negligent for your fall and injuries. History of a previous injury affecting your gait might also be used as a defense by the property owner to escape liability.
Another element that might affect your claim is failing to include all the possible defendants. In instances like this, the defendants might include the property owner or lessor, lessee, or a third party responsible for maintaining the property.
Multiple defendants usually arise when the owner or lessee shifts the blame to a third party. When that happens, it is vital to identify and include all the parties involved to get the maximum compensation, and you would need a Maryland slip and fall attorney’s assistance.
The Extent of the Injuries
There is no redress for wrong without suffering an injury, and they are crucial to your slip and fall claim. You can’t bring a wound from a car accident to get damages for a slip and fall claim.
You must be able to link your injuries to the fall, show records of the treatment received, and the cost. To this ends, you must:
- Call the police immediately after the accident to make a report, and request an ambulance.
- Take picture and video evidence of your surrounding and the possible cause of the fall.
- Ask for the contact information of witnesses, as they will help corroborate your story.
Secure the Services of a Slip and Fall Lawyer From Pinder Plotkin LLC
If you sustained an injury due to a property owner’s negligence, you must seek the help of a slip and fall claim lawyer in Maryland. At Pinder Plotkin LLC, we have a team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to take your case and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free case review.