Parking lots are riddled with potential hazards, from potholes, to shopping carts, to inattentive drivers. It is not surprising, then, that there are thousands of people who are injured in Maryland parking lots each year. A significant number of these injuries are the result of slip-and-fall accidents. Recently, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a premises liability lawsuit arising out of a parking lot trip-and-fall.
As the court described the facts leading up to the filing of the case, the plaintiff was injured while she was returning a cart after shopping at the defendant grocery store. The plaintiff finished shopping and entered the shopping cart corral without issue, however, as the plaintiff was leaving the corral, she tripped on a raised crossbar connecting the ends of the corral. Evidently, the corral was hit by a delivery truck several months prior to the plaintiff’s accident, which bent the frame of the corral. As a result, the crossbar of the corral lifted off the ground by a little over an inch. It was this raised crossbar that caused the plaintiff to trip and fall.
The plaintiff initiated a premises liability lawsuit against the defendant. In response, the defendant argued that the plaintiff should not be permitted to recover for her injuries because the hazard that caused her injury, the raised crossbar, was open and obvious. The defendant explained that it had called to have the crossbar fixed, but hadn’t scheduled a day to have the repair completed. The defendant also noted that the plaintiff was able to safely enter the corral, suggesting she knew that the crossbar posed a potential hazard. The lower court agreed, and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court disagreed with the lower court’s decision, reinstating the plaintiff’s case. The court rejected the defendant’s arguments in turn. First, the court held that there was a question as to whether the cross bar was open and obvious. While the court acknowledged that the plaintiff must have known about the presence of the cross bar, there was no evidence suggesting that she knew the hazard it presented.
Regarding the fact that the plaintiff was able to enter the corral without issue, the court viewed pictures of the corral and noted that only part of the corral’s crossbar was raised. Thus, the court concluded that it was possible that the plaintiff entered the corral without noticing the raised crossbar.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Slip-and-Fall Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland slip-and-fall accident, or any other accident occurring in a Maryland parking lot, contact the dedicated injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. At Lebowitz & Mzhen, we have over 20 years of experience helping accident victims recover compensation for their injuries, and look forward to discussing your case with you. To learn more, and to speak with a dedicated Maryland personal injury attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.