Plaintiff’s Failure to Prove Defendant Knew of Puddle’s Existence Results in Dismissal of Premises Liability Case

Maryland landowners have a duty to those whom they invite onto their property to keep the property safe and to warn visitors of potentially dangerous conditions. If a landowner fails to live up to this duty, and someone is injured as a result, the victim can pursue a claim for compensation against the landowner through a Maryland premises liability lawsuit.

However, in order to establish liability in a premises liability case, a plaintiff must present evidence to prove each element of the claim. One of these elements is the requirement that the defendant had knowledge, or should have had knowledge, of the hazard causing the victim’s fall. A recent case illustrates how courts interpret this requirement, and also what it means if a plaintiff is unable to present sufficient evidence of a defendant’s knowledge.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a customer at a Walgreen’s store. As the plaintiff approached the cash register, she slipped and fell, landing on her knee. As a result of her fall, the plaintiff suffered serious injuries and filed a premises liability claim against Walgreen’s.

The plaintiff testified that before she fell, the plaintiff did not see a puddle. However, when she went to get up after her fall, she noticed that the floor was wet. Her friend, who arrived on the scene seven minutes later, also testified that there was a puddle of water when she arrived. However, the store’s assistant manager and others who came to help the plaintiff after her fall did not recall there being any water or other liquid on the floor after the plaintiff’s accident. However, responding paramedics did state that the plaintiff told them that she had slipped on a puddle of water when they arrived to transport her to the hospital.

The trial court struck the plaintiff’s statements to the paramedics as inadmissible hearsay and then ruled in favor of the defendant, finding that the plaintiff failed to prove her case. The plaintiff then appealed to a higher court.

On appeal, the court found in favor of the defendant, but not necessarily for the reason cited by the lower court. Instead, the court held that the plaintiff’s case was insufficient as a matter of law because she presented no evidence that Walgreen’s knew or should have known about the puddle. Thus, even if the plaintiff’s statement to the paramedics was admitted into evidence, her case would still fail.

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, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing victims and their families in all kinds of Maryland personal injury and wrongful death cases, including slip-and-fall accidents. To learn more, and to speak with an attorney about your case, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

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

Court Discusses Admissibility of Social Media Evidence in Recent Personal Injury Case, Maryland Accident Law Blog, April 2, 2018.

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