Plaintiff’s Failure to Accurately Describe Where Slip-and-Fall Accident Occurred Results in Dismissal of Personal Injury Case

When someone is injured in a Maryland slip-and-fall accident occurring on government property, or any other accident involving a government defendant, the accident victim may be entitled to monetary compensation for their injuries. However, when naming a government employee or agency as a defendant, the plaintiff must take additional steps to comply with the relevant laws governing these claims.

In Maryland, an accident victim naming a government actor as a defendant must provide notice to the Maryland State Treasurer of the accident. This notice must include the names of the people involved, a description of the accident, and the location and date of the accident, as well as other pertinent information. Accident victims have one year from the date of the accident to provide this notice. Otherwise, a court is likely to determine that the case is time-barred.

The notice requirement allows for the government agency to investigate the claim. If a plaintiff’s notice is insufficient, a court may reject the plaintiff’s claim. A recent case illustrates an example of insufficient notice provided by a plaintiff following a slip-and-fall accident.

The Facts of the Case

In October 2013, the plaintiff tripped on a large crack in the pavement in a sidewalk that was owned by the defendant city. In her notice to the city, filed three days later, the plaintiff listed the location of her injury as “about 100 feet from the 95 North Exit 23 off ramp.”

The city began to investigate the claim, but it could not find the location of the crack that allegedly caused the plaintiff’s fall. The plaintiff’s claim was denied by the city, and she later filed a personal injury lawsuit against the city, naming the same location in her complaint. The city asked the court to dismiss the case, claiming that the location the plaintiff listed could not exist because there was not an Exit 23 off 95 North.

In March 2015, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, changing the location of her injury to “about 100 feet from the 95 South Exit 23 off ramp.” The city objected to the plaintiff’s amended complaint, arguing that it was filed well after the applicable timeframe and that the plaintiff’s original notice was insufficient.

The Court’s Analysis

The court agreed with the city and dismissed the plaintiff’s claim. In so doing, the court focused on the statutory language setting forth the notice requirement as well as the allowable time to file such notice. Here, the court held that since the location provided in the plaintiff’s initial complaint was not where her injury occurred, and it would not have reasonably led the city to the location, her initial notice was defective. Additionally, since the plaintiff’s amendment was not submitted until well after the 60-day timeframe under state law, the court was proper to deny it. As a result, the plaintiff’s claim was dismissed.

Have You Been Injured on Government Land?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland slip-and-fall on government property, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing victims and their families in all types of injury cases, including Maryland slip-and-fall accidents. We take extra care to ensure that our clients’ cases follow all of the required procedural rules and regulations to ensure our clients receive the compensation they deserve. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Dismisses Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Case Based on Conflicting Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 16, 2018.

Plaintiff’s Failure to Prove Defendant Knew of Puddle’s Existence Results in Dismissal of Premises Liability Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, May 1, 2018.

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