Maryland Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are much more common and more serious than most people realize. Falls are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits and are the second leading cause of missed workdays. Slip and fall accidents can happen for a number of reasons, but when they are caused by dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
- Broken or uneven steps
- Cracked or uneven pavement
- Lack of adequate warnings
- Loose or missing handrails
- Obstructions or debris on walkways
- Poorly lit walkways or stairwells
- Poorly maintained sidewalks
- Slippery, wet or greasy floors
- Snow or ice left on walking surfaces
- Uneven flooring or torn carpeting
- Unguarded manholes
- Unsafe construction sites
Responsibility for Slip and Fall Accidents
Property owners, managers and caretakers have a legal responsibility to protect visitors and patrons from known hazards. This means taking reasonable steps to clean up spills, repair cracked sidewalks and clear walkways of debris that could cause someone to slip or trip. It is important to note; however, that not all slip and falls are the property owners’ fault, even in the presence of one of these hazards. To determine whether slip and fall injuries are worth compensation, the injured victim must prove that the accident was caused by negligence.
Negligence in a premises liability case is similar to that in other areas of civil law, such as product liability or medical malpractice. In general, for a person or entity to be found negligent, there must be evidence that: 1) the defendant had a duty of care toward the plaintiff; 2) he or she failed in that duty; and 3) that failure was the direct cause of any injuries. However, the law regarding negligence in premises liability cases also involves some very specific and unique elements. These include:
- The status of the injured person – Property owners who invite visitors on to their property for business purposes or as social guests have a high level of responsibility to keep the area safe from known hazards. The same standards do not apply to trespassers. Under Maryland law, the only duty property owners owe to trespassers is to not intentionally cause them harm.
- The nature of the dangerous condition – Property owners are only responsible for hazards that they knew about or should have known about. The source of the hazard, its location and the length of time the condition existed are all important factors in determining the owner’s liability.
- The status of the person controlling the property – The scope of legal responsibility does not always rest solely on the landowner. Store managers, caretakers, tenants and even repair companies or landscapers may also be held liable for injuries that happened as a result of their careless or negligent actions or inactions.
Maryland is one of only four states in the U.S. that apply the very harsh rule known as contributory negligence. Under this rule, an injured person is barred from recovering damages if they were even one percent at fault for the accident. This rule is based on the idea that individuals who enter someone else’s property, whether public or private, willingly and voluntarily assume the risk of encountering a potentially dangerous condition, and therefore must exercise reasonable caution to protect themselves from injury. Contributory negligence and assumption of risk can make it extremely difficult to recover compensation in most slip and fall accident cases. For this reason, it is imperative to hire a qualified Maryland slip and fall lawyer with experience in successfully handling these types of cases.
Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall Injury
The period immediately following a slip and fall or trip and fall injury is critical to a successful premises liability claim. Below are some important steps that should be taken after a slip and fall injury:
- Seek medical attention – Even if your injury seems minor, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible after a slip and fall, for both health and legal reasons. Some injuries, especially those to the head or spine, may be severe and worsen over time without prompt medical attention. Try to provide the doctor with as much detail as possible about how the injury occurred so that he or she can give you an accurate diagnosis. Also, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions and attend all follow up visits.
- Collect evidence – It is essential to know why the fall accident happened in the first place. Take note of the physical conditions in the area of the accident and take pictures if possible. Check to see if there were any signs posted that could have warned you about a potential hazard. If there were any witnesses to the event, get their information and ask them to provide their account of what happened.
- Contact a Maryland slip and fall lawyer – Because of the complex and difficult nature of premises liability law in Maryland, it is highly advisable to seek the assistance of a qualified attorney with experience handling slip and fall cases. Your Maryland premises liability lawyer can help to determine if you are eligible to receive compensation, as well as assist with collecting and preserving critical evidence.
Maryland Slip and Fall Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Obtain Compensation for Injuries Caused by Property Owner Negligence
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. Maryland slip and fall lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton have successfully obtained over $100 million for victims of all types of accidents. Call 800-547-4LAW (4529) today to arrange your free and confidential consultation with one of our dedicated Baltimore premises liability lawyers. A qualified member of our legal team is available to take your call and answer your questions 24 hours a day, or you can always contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent injured fall victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.