Slip and Fall Accidents – Where and Why You Were There Can Make a Difference
Generally speaking, property owners have an obligation to keep their property safe for guests and visitors. As a result, if you are injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to seek compensation from the property owner for your injuries and other losses. While this may sound simple, the reality is that successfully pursuing a claim is actually quite difficult. You need to understand which facts will be important–facts that sometimes will seem insignificant. You also need to understand how the law will apply to your case. Your best chance of getting the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering is to work with a Waldorf personal injury lawyer.
You Must Prove That the Property Owner Was Negligent in Some Way
Most personal injury cases require that you prove that the other party was negligent in some way. In some cases, such as a car accident, negligence is often obvious – perhaps the other driver caused your accident by running a red light. Unfortunately for those injured in slip and fall cases, negligence is rarely obvious.
The general rule is that the property owner may be held liable if they knew or should have known about the hazard that caused your injury and failed to take any action to address it. In the context of a slip and fall case, negligence may look like this:
- The manager of an amusement park fails to regularly inspect the property for broken asphalt, loose handrails, and other potential hazards that could foreseeably cause a slip and fall accident.
- The owner of an apartment building is aware of torn carpeting in the hallway but refuses to repair it claiming that it will be too expensive.
- The property manager for an office building does not put up a “wet floor” sign on a rainy day when foot traffic through the lobby causes the tile floor to become wet and slippery.
- A retail store manager leaves merchandise on the floor in the aisles despite the fact that it creates an obvious tripping hazard.
- A customer drops a gallon of milk on the floor of a grocery store resulting in a rather large spill. The spill is reported to the manager, but the manager does not take any action to have it cleaned up.
Proving negligence in your case will depend largely upon the facts. An experienced Waldorf personal injury lawyer will be able to identify which facts will be important in your case.
Property owners will rarely admit they were negligent when faced with a claim. Instead, they will usually attempt to argue that the hazard could not have been discovered or that they hadn’t yet had the opportunity to fix it. In other words, they will attempt to argue the facts.
Where Your Accident Occurred Matters
However, where your accident occurred can make a significant difference in your case. Different types of property owners have different legal obligations to different types of visitors. Under Maryland law, the duties that property owners owe to visitors are categorized as follows:
- Invitees: These are people who are on the property for the property owner’s benefit. Customers, clients, and other business-related visitors fall into this category. Property owners owe the highest legal duty to invitees. They have a legal obligation to take reasonable care to protect visitors from unreasonable risk of injury.
- Licensees: These are people who are on the property for their own benefit such as social guests. Property owners essentially owe the same duty to licensees as they do to themselves and their own families.
- Bare licensees: These are people who are on the property for their own purpose or convenience and without the express consent of the property owner. An example of a bare licensee would be a door-to-door salesperson. Property owners owe bare licensees only a duty to refrain from willfully or wantonly causing injury.
- Trespassers: Trespassers are people who intentionally enter upon another person’s property without permission. Except in cases of children, property owners have no legal duty to trespassers.
People who are injured on commercial property have the best chance of recovering compensation because they are owed the highest duty of care. That said, a skilled Waldorf personal injury lawyer may be able to help no matter where you were injured under the right circumstances.
Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident? Call Waldorf Personal Injury Lawyer Thomas Pyles Today
Slip and fall cases are much more complicated than people expect. If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall case, contact us today to discuss whether you may be entitled to compensation. Call 301-705-5006 or email to schedule a free consultation to discuss how we can help.