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Maryland Property Owner's Duty in Slip and Fall Cases

Slip and fall accidents are not uncommon anywhere in the country. In most cases, the incidents are caused by the victims’ own unintentional actions. However, there are some slip and fall cases in which someone else’s negligence plays a role. In these situations, the property owner may be held accountable for a victim’s injuries.

Slip and fall cases are often difficult to prove. They require the expertise of a Maryland slip and fall attorney who has experience handling these types of claims. Having the right attorney on your side can make a huge difference in whether you get the compensation you deserve or are just out of pocket for your own injuries.

Requirements of a Maryland Property Owner

Property owners are required to maintain their property so that it is in a relatively safe condition for its specific purpose. Not all property owners owe the same duty of care to every single person who enters their property. The liability in slip and fall cases will typically rest on the property type and what the intended use is for that property.

The duty of care is an important factor in determining who is liable in a slip and fall. At a private residence, the homeowner is the one who is primarily responsible to keep the property safe and ensure it is maintained. In a situation in which the property in question is a commercial location that is rented out to someone else, that lessee business owner is the one likely responsible for the duty of care.

Categories of Property Visitors

Visitors to a property are divided into different groups, and the duty of care will differ based on the classification. In Maryland, individuals can be classified as either an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. For example, a homeowner has a greater duty of care to an invited guest versus someone who is trespassing with the intent to steal something.

Invitees typically include family, friends, and neighbors. Licensees are people who have a reasonable expectation to be on the property. Perhaps it is a maintenance worker or a salesperson. Property owners would need to at least warn a licensee of potential hazards if they are things a licensee is not likely to discover on his or her own.

Trespassers are people who do not have authority to be on the property, and there is sometimes no duty to protect their safety. However, there are instances in which a property owner may owe a duty to a trespasser, especially if the trespasser is a child. The duty of care can be complex, which is why it is important to speak with a Maryland personal injury attorney.

Statute of Limitations for Maryland Slip and Fall Cases

Like other types of personal injury matters, there is something called a statute of limitations in place in Maryland. This means you have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party and preserve or “toll” the statute. Failure to preserve the statute of limitations means the at-fault party has no legal obligation to continue settlement negotiations with you. In Maryland, that timeframe is three years. You have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.

Retaining a Maryland Slip and Fall Attorney

If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 to schedule a consultation.

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