When someone is injured on the property of a person, business, or government entity, the injured party may be able to seek compensation for their injuries through a Maryland premises liability lawsuit. In order to be successful in a premises liability lawsuit, a plaintiff must be able to establish certain elements. Specifically, an accident victim must be able to show that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the plaintiff’s injury.
A recent appellate court case filed by a plaintiff who was injured by a fallen tree branch illustrates which elements a plaintiff must prove in order to be successful in a premises liability claim.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff rented an apartment in a complex that was owned by the defendants. During a storm, a tree was seriously damaged, and a portion of the tree ended up being suspended between the tree’s trunk and the gutter of the apartment complex.
After the plaintiff fruitlessly contacted the defendants and let them know about the tree, she recruited the assistance of another resident who sometimes worked as a maintenance worker for the apartment complex to get the tree down. As the maintenance man was freeing the tree, the plaintiff got too close and was injured as it fell.
The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the defendants, arguing that they were negligent in the maintenance of the property and were responsible for her injuries. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, claiming that they were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because 1) the plaintiff was injured due to the negligence of a third party, 2) the maintenance man was not an employee of the defendants, and 3) the plaintiff had knowledge of the fallen tree but failed to avoid being injured by it.
The court rejected all three of the defendants’ claims and denied the motion for summary judgement. The court explained that summary judgment is only appropriate when there are no issues of material fact, and here, there was at least some question that needed to be resolved in each of the defendants’ claims. For example, the court looked at the defendants’ agreement with the maintenance man and determined that he may have been acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the plaintiff’s injury. This, the court held, was a question that should be answered by the jury, rather than by the court in a motion for summary judgment.
Have You Been Injured on Another Party’s Property?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of another party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland premises liability lawsuit. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have extensive knowledge of Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. personal injury law and decades of experience handling cases on behalf of their injured clients. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.
More Blog Posts:
Plaintiff Unable to Establish That Pool Owner Was Negligent in Recent Premises Liability Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, September 15, 2017.
Recently Filed Lawsuit Claims Former NFL Star Aaron Hernandez May Have Had Degenerative Brain Disease, Maryland Accident Law Blog, October 2, 2017.