Slip & Fall
Slip and fall is the traditional term to describe a legal claim for an injury suffered on someone else’s property. In order for a recover damages for a slip and fall, the injury lawyer must show that the property owner or manager was in some way negligent. In order to recover for a slip and fall injury, the accident does not have to occur indoors, and the property owner can be the federal, state, or local government. We have all seen the yellow “caution wet floor” signs in stores and buildings, but slip and fall accident happen for a variety of reasons other than a wet floor. Common causes of a slip and fall accident that may result in a successful legal claim include poor lighting, cracked or uneven surfaces, unmarked obstructions, worn carpet, and failure to remove ice or snow. Maryland uses the fault system when addressing negligence cases. In order to recover damages, the plaintiff must show that the owner or manager of the property knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take adequate steps to correct the dangerous condition.
Under the Maryland fault system it is much easier to prove negligence due to the existence of long-term dangerous condition such as poor lighting, narrow stairs or walkways, and cracks in the concrete. These types of hazards do not occur overnight, thus an injury lawyer can prove that the owner or property manager knew or should have known about the condition. By contrast, it is harder to prove knowledge of short-term hazardous conditions such as slick or sticky surfaces due to spills and leaks. Defense lawyers and insurance companies will typically argue that the owner or manager had no knowledge of a dangerous condition even if the condition had been present for hours or even days. The insurance defense lawyers may also argue that although a dangerous condition may have existed, the owner or manager did not cause the dangerous condition, thus invoking the defense of causation. An knowledgeable attorney can counter these defenses with various tactics such witness statements and expert testimony. If you are involved in an accident seek immediate medical attention if necessary. Try to remember all the facts surrounding the fall including the exact details of the dangerous condition and any statements by store or building employees. Be sure to save any clothing such as shoes that you were wearing during the fall.
In addition to claiming that the owner or property manager was unaware of the dangerous condition, defense lawyers will also try to use contributory negligence as a defense to a claim for damages. Maryland follows the contributory negligence rule, which states that a party who is even 1 percent liable for the accident may be barred from recovering monetary damages. Defense lawyers may also argue that the slip and fall accident victim assumed the risk and therefore may not recover damages. Assumption of risk is a powerful defense that many insurance companies will argue, and if successful can bar an accident victim from recovery. Do not let the insurance companies prevent you from recovering what you deserve! An experienced and aggressive injury lawyer will be prepared to fight each and every defense that the large insurance companies try to argue, in order to secure a just settlement or verdict. If you or someone you know has been involved in an accident call The Herbst Firm at (410) 207-2598 for a free consultation.