When someone slips and falls in public in Maryland, they may feel embarrassed and try to pretend that it never happened. Often, they will just assume that it was their fault, and go about their day. Even if injured, they might think that it is their fault because no one pushed them or tripped them, and they were the only ones around when they fell. While sometimes people fall or trip for no reason, oftentimes, falls are the result of a hazardous or dangerous condition. For example, people may fall because of a sticky or slippery substance on the floor, the floor not being even, or different heights between steps. In these cases, it may not be their fault at all, but rather the fault of those who own or maintain the property.
Maryland law allows those injured in such cases to file a certain type of negligence lawsuit against the owner of the property: premises liability. To be held responsible, a court must find that property owners either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, but yet did not fix it or warn you about it. Additionally, a court must find that the plaintiff was not a trespasser on the property—a property owner does not owe a duty of care to those who are on their property illegally.
For an example of a premises liability claim, take a recent appellate case concerning a plasma donation center. According to the court’s written opinion, the plaintiff was a donor at the center and was walking into the bathroom when he fell, hit his head on a sink, and suffered severe injuries. According to the plaintiff, when he was laying on the floor he noticed that there was liquid on it, and some of that liquid got onto his shirt. He also stated that he noticed dirty footprints in the liquid. He filed a premises liability suit against the plasma donation center, alleging that they either knew or should have known about the liquid on the floor, and that it created a dangerous condition. Evidence presented in this suit included testimony that the employees of the center used separate bathrooms, and that the bathrooms were generally not cleaned by the center until after 7 p.m. each night, meaning the center would not have known about the liquid.
In response, the defendant center filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that there was no evidence of there being liquid on the bathroom floor other than the plaintiff’s statement of such, which was insufficient to bring a case. The plaintiff, on the other hand, maintained that the center should have known, and since they were negligent in not checking the bathroom regularly there was enough evidence to bring the suit to trial. Because the standard for summary judgment is “no genuine issue of material fact,” the court found that the defendant’s motion for summary judgment could not be granted. The evidence presented did establish a genuine issue as to whether or not there was liquid on the ground and whether or not the defendant was negligent for not checking it. As such, the court found that the plaintiff’s suit could move forward to a jury.
Contact a Maryland Slip and Fall Attorney
Have you recently been injured in a Maryland slip and fall accident? If so, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a Maryland premises liability lawsuit. Contact Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, today to learn more about how we can help you file a suit. We have decades of collective experience handling all types of personal injury claims, and know what it takes to succeed on our clients’ behalf. To schedule a risk-free consultation today, call 800-654-1949.