Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case raising an interesting issue that all Maryland slip-and-fall injury victims should be aware of. The case discussed the potential liability of third-parties who may not initially be thought of as responsible parties.

The Facts of the Case

According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was an employee at a restaurant. While working, the employee was asked to empty a grease trap into a dumpster in the rear of the restaurant. While the plaintiff was walking the trap back to the dumpster, he stepped in an open water meter, causing him to spill hot oil on himself.

The plaintiff initially named his employer and several related parties (the employers) in his lawsuit. In response, those parties named the defendant maintenance company (the defendant) in a third-party complaint. The employers argued that the defendant was liable for the plaintiff’s injuries under a contract the defendant had to perform maintenance of the parking lot area. The plaintiff then named the defendant in his lawsuit, as well.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether the defendant, the owner of a car repair shop, could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. The court ultimately concluded that the defendant’s duty to maintain the shop in a reasonably safe condition was a non-delegable duty, and thus, the jury’s decision to hold the defendant partially responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries was proper.

The case is important for Maryland slip-and-fall accident victims in that it discusses what a property owner’s non-delegable duties are and under what circumstances they may be transferred to another party.

The Facts of the Case

The defendant owned an auto repair shop. He leased a portion of the shop to another mechanic but maintained an office on location and continued to use the shop. The defendant was the only one with keys to the shop, and the mechanic could not enter or use the shop without the defendant being present.

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Recently, a federal appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing whether a casino could be held liable for the injuries sustained by an independent contractor when he fell from a ladder while working on the building’s roof. Ultimately, the court concluded that the plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to show that the defendant casino was in “operational control” over the plaintiff’s actions.

The case raises an important issue that frequently arises in many Maryland personal injury cases involving claims filed by independent contractors or claims based on an independent contractor’s negligence.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff worked for a maintenance company that was contracted by the defendant casino to clean the casino’s air ducts. The air ducts were located on the roof of the casino, and prior to the beginning of the contract the casino specified where the maintenance workers would access the roof.

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As a general rule, the law requires that all land owners maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, and warn their guests about hazards that may not be evident. Under Maryland premises liability law, the duty a landowner owes her guest depends on several circumstances; however, Maryland businesses owe their customers the highest duty of care.

While premises liability law may seem straightforward, it can often get complicated in its application. For example, while it’s beyond question that a business owner is responsible to maintain their store in a reasonably safe condition, what about the approach to and from the store?

A recent state appellate opinion discusses a plaintiff’s case against a store for an injury occurring in the store’s parking lot.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion in a premises liability lawsuit that was brought by a woman who tripped on a raised portion of the sidewalk that was maintained by the defendant city. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to prove that the city should have been aware of the defect’s existence.The case discusses the concept of “constructive notice,” which is important in Maryland personal injury cases. Generally speaking, a Maryland slip-and-fall plaintiff must be able to establish that the defendant landowner knew or should have known of the hazard that caused their injuries. However, establishing that a party had actual knowledge of a hazard can be difficult because it would require the plaintiff to be able to see inside the mind of the defendant.

Thus, courts allow for plaintiffs to circumstantially establish knowledge of a hazard through other relevant facts. This concept is called constructive knowledge. Essentially, the idea is that courts are comfortable imputing knowledge when a reasonably attentive person would have noticed the hazard.
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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case raising several important issues that commonly arise in Maryland premises liability lawsuits. The case required the court to determine if the plaintiff’s case was properly dismissed following a defense motion for summary judgment. Finding that the plaintiff could not establish the necessary elements of her case, the court affirmed the dismissal of her case.The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was visiting the defendant fast-food restaurant with a few family members. The plaintiff’s nephew parked in the restaurant’s parking lot, and the group crossed the drive-thru lane and entered the restaurant.

When it came time to leave, they left the same way they had come in. However, this time, as the plaintiff approached her nephew’s car, she got distracted by one of the cars in the drive-thru lane. As she returned her attention to where she was going, she tripped and fell on a cement parking barrier, resulting in serious injuries. The barrier, which was a few inches high, was the type used to prevent vehicles from parking too far into a parking space.

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Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case discussing the state’s recreational use statute, and whether it applied to bar the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant. Ultimately, the court concluded that the recreational-use statute did not apply because the defendant’s land was not offered for public use. The case is important for Maryland premises liability plaintiffs in that it discusses a key element of a defendant’s recreational-use defense.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the son of the defendant (Father), and was injured on his father’s land while hunting. Father owned about 40 acres, and allowed his immediate family to use the property to hunt. Father excluded other members of the community, extended family members, and friends of his children from using the land to hunt.

Father had constructed several blinds from which hunters could hide and wait for animals to approach. One day, the plaintiff was hunting on Father’s land when a wooden board came loose from the blind, and the plaintiff fell 16 feet to the ground below. The plaintiff broke both his legs as a result of the fall, and filed a personal injury lawsuit against his father.

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All Maryland land owners have a duty to make sure that they maintain a safe premises for those whom they invite onto their property. If a property owner fails to fix a known hazard, or fails to warn visitors about a dangerous condition of the property, the landowner may be held liable for any injuries through a Maryland personal injury lawsuit.

Not all injuries that occur on another’s land, however, will result in the landowner being held liable; an injury victim must be able to establish the elements of a premises liability lawsuit in order to recover for their injuries. Traditionally, these lawsuits are governed by the common-law principle of negligence, which requires plaintiffs to establish that the landowner violated a duty of care that was owed to the plaintiff. In addition, the plaintiff must be able to establish that the defendant’s violation of that duty was the cause of their injuries.

When it comes to defending against Maryland premises liability cases, landowners often make two arguments. First, that they were unaware of the hazard and thus did not have the opportunity to fix it. And second, that the hazard was known to the plaintiff or was so obvious that no duty arose to warn the plaintiff about it. A recent case illustrates the second of these two examples.

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Recently, a federal court of appeals issued a written opinion in a personal injury lawsuit discussing the quantum of evidence a plaintiff must present in order to survive a defense motion for summary judgment. Ultimately, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim because the court found that the gas station where the plaintiff’s injury occurred did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care to warn her of the alleged hazard.

The case is significant for Maryland personal injury victims because it illustrates the importance of providing evidence to establish each element of a plaintiff’s slip-and-fall case.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was the passenger in her boyfriend’s car, when her boyfriend decided to stop and get gas at the defendant’s gas station. As her boyfriend went to pay for the gas, the plaintiff got out of the car in search of a squeegee to clean the car’s windows.

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Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a personal injury case presenting an interesting issue that may arise in Maryland premises liability cases. The court was tasked with determining whether a clause in a residential lease agreement that included limiting the statute of limitations was enforceable. Ultimately, the court concluded that the clause was enforceable, and thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s case as untimely.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff slipped and fell after stepping on a curb that crumbled under her weight. The curb was located in a common area of the apartment complex where the plaintiff lived.

In the jurisdiction where the case arose, the statute of limitations for a personal injury lawsuit is two years. However, the residential lease agreement signed by the plaintiff prior to moving into her apartment contained a clause requiring she bring any lawsuit within one year of when the cause of action accrues. Specifically, the clause stated that any case “must be instituted within one year of the date any claim or cause of action arises and that any action filed after one year from such date shall be time barred as a matter of law.”

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