Slips and falls are common occurrences in both public and private places in Maryland. In fact, they are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. When slips and falls happen, there is often confusion about who is liable for the injuries that result. Typically, you should watch out for yourself and avoid obvious dangers, but a premise owner also has a responsibility to ensure their property is safe or place warning signs for any dangers.
Determining who is responsible in Maryland
Premise liability law in Maryland distinguishes between an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser in determining who is liable for injuries due to slips and falls. The first category, an invitee, includes customers at businesses like stores and restaurants. A premise owner has the highest duty of care toward an invitee since they invited them onto the property. This means that a business must take measures to keep its premises safe from any potential hazards that could cause injury.
A licensee is someone who enters another’s property with permission but without any type of payment or consideration involved. Generally, licensees are social guests who visit a home or other private spaces such as parks and recreational areas. Premise owners have a moderate level of responsibility toward licensees, meaning they must warn of any dangers present and make reasonable efforts to keep the property safe.
A trespasser enters another person’s property without permission or invitation. In most cases, a premise owner has very little responsibility toward trespassers’ safety. However, they do have an obligation not to intentionally cause harm or create traps that could injure a trespasser.
If you slipped and fell on someone else’s property in Maryland, you may have a right to seek compensation. To do so, you must prove that the premise owner was negligent in some way and that their negligence caused your injuries. If you win the case, their insurance company or the court may award you damages that cover medical expenses, lost wages and other costs associated with your injuries.
If you are pursuing compensation for your injuries, you should keep in mind that there are statutes of limitations or deadlines by which you must file your claim. Typically, you only have three years from the date of the accident, but a judge might extend that time in special circumstances.