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Sliding in a Winter Wonderland: A Brief Look at Slip and Fall Cases

| Category: Personal Injury | November 16, 2020

Winter is here, which means the arrival of inclement weather. Even though Maryland does not get much snow compared to other states, dropping temperatures combined with precipitation can lead to icy sidewalks, parking lots, and stairs. As a result, slip and fall accidents occur more frequently, leading to serious injuries. If you have fallen on someone else’s property and were injured, you may be entitled to compensation. A Laurel accident law firm can review your case and determine whether you have a claim. 

The Property Owner’s Legal Obligation

Generally speaking, property owners have a legal obligation to ensure that their property is safe for guests and visitors. Property owners can fail to meet this obligation in one of three ways: 

  1. The property owner was aware of a hazardous condition on their property but did nothing to correct it; 
  2. The property owner was not aware of a hazardous condition but should have known; 
  3. The property owner knew of the condition and failed to warn guests and visitors of the hazard. 

In cases involving snow and ice, the question is typically whether the owner had the opportunity to do anything about the hazardous conditions. If the ice developed during the night, the owner may not have an opportunity to treat the ice or warn others until the next morning. However, if the owner was aware of the ice and had ample time to either warn others or take action, they may be held liable if someone falls and is injured. 

Slip and fall cases depend heavily on the specific facts of each case. If you’ve fallen on the ice and been injured, a Laurel accident law firm can review your case and determine whether you have a claim. 

The Challenges of Slip and Fall Cases Involving Ice

There are two common defenses to slip and fall cases: 

  1. Contributory negligence. Contributory negligence refers to when the victim was at least partially responsible for the accident. Unfortunately, Maryland law prohibits victims from recovering compensation if their own negligence contributed to the accident. In the context of a case involving ice, this could include slipping and falling outside of a bar if you had been drinking. Maryland is one of the few states that follow this rule – most other states have adopted a less harsh comparative negligence rule. 
  2. Assumption of risk. If the victim was aware of the hazard and proceeded anyway, they are said to have assumed the risk of falling and the property owner may not be held liable. For example, if the ground was covered with snow, the property owner may try to argue that you assumed the risk, and they, therefore, should not be held liable for your injuries. 

Again, whether or not these defenses will be successful will depend on the facts of your case. For example, if your case involved black ice, you may be able to prevail on your claim and get compensation for your injuries. 

Contact a Laurel Accident Law Firm if You’ve Been Injured in a Fall

A fall caused by snow or ice can result in serious injuries, and you may be entitled to compensation if it was due to the property owner’s negligence. To discuss your case with an experienced attorney, contact Laurel accident lawyer Thomas E. Pyles for a free consultation. We have offices in Leonardtown and Waldorf for your convenience.