Can I File a “Slip and Fall” Personal Injury Claim in Maryland?
Yes. For injuries sustained by an individual while “on premises,” a victim of a Maryland slip and fall incident has the right to recover monetary damages from the property owner. Although the term “Slip and Fall” may seem simple enough, the legal theories that support these kinds of personal injury cases can be complex, especially for someone unfamiliar with Maryland's legal statutes. Furthermore, proper understanding and application of the law is very important to any victim of a slip and fall accident, and almost certainly in cases where the individual is seriously injured or perhaps has died as a result of his or her injuries.
Despite an increased awareness on the part of shopkeepers, commercial establishments and property owners, slip and fall liability is not always taken seriously; not, at least, until an innocent party has been badly injured or killed. For example, consider a pedestrian who, while walking through a shopping mall, slips on some spilled cleaning solution left behind by a mall employee. In the resulting fall, the victim sustains a broken pelvis. What are her options? Who is liable? Where does one begin to recover the tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, rehabilitation expenses and possible nursing home costs? And what about the victim's potential loss of income due to her inability to work?
As Baltimore personal injury attorneys, Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, has years of experience in the area of slip and fall litigation. When it comes to instances where an individual is injured in a fall due to an external issue with a pedestrian walkway, these are often referred to as dangerous or defective conditions. Common situations that can lead to dangerous walking conditions often include raised, heaved or otherwise uneven concrete; snowy or iced-over sidewalks; broken or damaged parking lot asphalt; slick indoor flooring surfaces caused by spilled liquids or dropped food items; and even bunched or otherwise unsecured carpeting, rugs or other floor coverings.
Additional factors that can contribute to a serious slip and fall incident include poor, sub-standard or otherwise inadequate lighting; missing, poorly placed or loosely attached handrails; improper stair design or installation; and other inadequate structural or safety-related fixtures. One or more of the aforementioned conditions can lead to a slip and fall accident; however, the outcome of a Maryland personal injury claim is in many cases not that clear cut.
While store owners and property management firms are obligated by law to provide safe and hazard-free environments for customers, patrons and passersby, simply being injured as a result of a slip and fall in no way guarantees that a plaintiff will win his case. Sadly, Maryland's legal statutes make recovering damages from slip and fall accidents more difficult for victims than one would expect. The most notable component of Maryland’s slip and fall law is known as contributory negligence.
As a legal doctrine, contributory negligence has been adopted by only a fraction of states in the U.S. Yet, for victims of slip and fall accidents here in Maryland, the legal theory of contributory negligence has thwarted countless slip and fall lawsuits. Basically, if a business or individual can argue that the victim of a Maryland slip and fall accident was at least somewhat responsible for the event, then the court can throw out the entire case. By “somewhat” we mean even if the plaintiff can be shown to have contributed just one percent to the accident, the law says that the claim is not valid.
Naturally, many defendants and their lawyers threaten slip and fall victims with Maryland's contributory negligence doctrine as a way to get the injured party to settle for less than a reasonable amount of compensation. While they may be correct about the law, they may not be correct about their understanding of the circumstances surrounding your particular injury.
Because every personal injury case is different, you owe it to yourself to seek qualified legal advice. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, our skilled team of personal injury attorneys can assess the potential of your slip and fall case. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of another party's negligence, we are ready, willing and able to discuss the facts of your case so you may better understand your options going forward. Please feel free to contact our law offices to set up a free, no-obligation initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable slip and fall experts.