Maryland premises liability lawsuits are often centered around the relationship between the parties. For example, land and business owners owe a greater duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property than those who gain entry by accident or through trespassing. Earlier this month, an appellate court in Georgia issued a written opinion in a slip-and-fall case brought by a tenant in a condominium complex against the condo association and the property management company. The court ultimately dismissed the case against the defendants because no landlord-tenant relationship could be shown, illustrating the importance of naming the proper parties in a Maryland premises liability lawsuit.
The plaintiff was living in a condo that she rented from the owner. The plaintiff had an oral lease with the owner; no written lease existed. While living in the condo, the plaintiff complained to the condo association several times about the lack of lighting near a specific set of stairs; however, the association took no action. One day, the plaintiff slipped and fell while descending the stairs. The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit, naming both the condominium association and the property management company responsible for the complex’s maintenance.
The defendants argued that the plaintiff should not be entitled to recover compensation because she was aware of the hazard that ultimately caused her fall. In response, the plaintiff cited the “necessity rule,” which allows for recovery even when an accident is caused by a known hazard if the tenant must cross the hazard by necessity. The trial court agreed with the plaintiff, and the defendants’ motion for summary judgment was denied. The defendants then appealed to a higher court.
On appeal, the court reversed the lower court’s decision. The court explained that the necessity rule applies only when there is a landlord-tenant relationship between the parties. Here, the plaintiff was unable to prove that she had a landlord-tenant relationship with either the condominium association or the property management company. Thus, the court determined that the necessity rule did not apply and that the lower court was improper to base its decision on the rule. As a result, the case was sent back to the lower court so that it may conduct the proper analysis.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in any kind of Maryland slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The case discussed above illustrates the importance of including all potentially responsible parties in a lawsuit in order to maximize your chance of recovery. The dedicated Maryland and Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive experience assisting their clients in all types of premises liability cases. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Determines Zip-Line Is Not a “Dangerous Condition,” Upholding Government Immunity in Recent Personal Injury Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, June 22, 2017.
Appellate Court Determines Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case Should Have Been Presented to the Jury, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 10, 2017.