Slip and Fall Lawyer Maryland
Thousands of slip and fall cases take place throughout Maryland each and every year. In fact, slip and fall accidents are among the most common not only in Maryland, but in many other states. Did you know that the way a slip and fall case is evaluated in Maryland is actually very similar to the way an automotive collision might be?
This is because both slip and fall and auto accidents are generally “personal injury” cases. In a personal injury case, you navigate state laws in order to demonstrate that an accident that led to your injury was, at least partially, the fault of another person. This holds true whether you are in a private residence or a commercial building at the time.
When you slip and fall, the law in Maryland makes no assumption as to who is at fault: You could be found responsible or the owner of the property might be. In order to demonstrate that the property owner is at fault, you must do everything possible to show that the accident was the result of a danger that they knew, or should have known, could contribute to a risk of injury: Something that they would reasonably be responsible for fixing or warning you about.
A slip and fall case does not have to happen within an enclosed building or space. Slip and fall can actually take place outside, such as on a street or in a public park. No matter where the event takes place, the basics remain the same: Liability must be assigned based on negligence, and the injured party can be partially or fully responsible.
Common Cases: Hotel Tub, Supermarket, Grocery Store Lawsuits and More
Whenever you travel, you will face some risks of slip and fall. That risk becomes unacceptable when it arises from a danger that someone should have known about, corrected, or warned you about. The specifics of each case vary, but some examples may be helpful:
If you slip and fall in a hotel tub, you might be found completely responsible for that accident. However, if the tub was leaking, damaged, or in any other way compromised and this led to the accident, it might be found that the property owner was at least partially responsible.
If you are walking in a grocery store, fall, and injure yourself, you might be at fault. However, if there was a puddle in the store which should have been cleaned up or roped off, and you slipped on it not realizing that it was there, liability might accrue to the store.
When liability is assigned, it is generally assigned to the “superior” party: In the example above, the liability would usually be assigned to the store, not to an individual employee whose job was to clean up the puddle, unless it can be demonstrated that person was negligent in those duties. If that person was reasonably performing those duties and the accident occurred anyway, he or she might not be responsible.
Defenses that Businesses Use to Escape from Paying Damages
Businesses are very aware of their potential liability in slip and fall cases. For this reason, a number of common defenses have been used. Some of these are below. Although many other states use similar doctrines in their laws, it is important to consult with an expert in Maryland law in order to understand the state’s interpretation.
Assumption of Risk
There are some risks which individuals are fully aware of and choose to take on voluntarily. For example, if you participate in an adventure sports event that has some inherent element of risk, “reasonable precautions” cannot reduce that risk to zero. If you are injured, you must show that the injury arises from some element that the business had reasonable control over and that the business was negligent, such as a problem with its safety equipment. A famous Maryland case involving assumption of risk is Hooper v. Mougin, which took place in 1971.
Even if a business or other person was highly negligent in your case, you can limit the amount of damages that you might receive if it is proven that you were also negligent. Negligence involves failure to take reasonable care to avoid accident or injury, and there is a way in which you could be negligent during almost any kind of activity. Even if you do not feel that you were negligent, the defending party is likely to try to prove that you were.
What About Reasonable Care in Public Places?
What if you simply slip and fall on asphalt in a public place rather than a business or residence? There are some accidents which simply cannot be prosecuted under Maryland law. However, a case is possible if it can reasonably be proven that someone else contributed to the accident: For example, if the asphalt was in a damaged or compromised state due to someone’s negligence.
Average Amounts or Average Settlements in Maryland Cases
Various amounts or settlements are possible when dealing with Maryland slip and fall. The amount that you might receive depends on a number of factors:
— Your medical bills and the value of ongoing care related to the accident.
— The value of your lost wages or other lost opportunities caused by the accident.
— Pain and distress caused by the medical complications or other factors.
Various settlements depend on the specifics of the case, but can range from a few hundred dollars to hundreds of thousands. Slip and fall awards of $120,000 to $250,000 are not uncommon in situations where strict safety procedures were in place, but not followed. Contact an attorney with Batzer legal services today to discuss a slip and fall case you may be involved with.