You probably realize that you have rights if you were injured because of dangerous conditions on property. But you may not give much thought to the underlying legal concept. In general, these slip and fall claims come under the theory of premises liability, a form of personal injury case that is based upon negligence. If you can prove the essential elements described below, you may be able to recover monetary damages for your medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and many other losses.
One key element in a negligence case is the duty a property owner owes to you as a guest, and there are two potential sources. A Baltimore County slip and fall claims attorney can explain in more detail, but an overview may also be helpful.
Premises Liability Basics for Slip and Fall Claims
To recover compensation in a slip and fall claim, you must prove for essential elements regarding negligence:
- The property owner had a duty to keep the space safe and secure;
- That person or company breached this duty of care;
- The breach was a direct cause of the accident in which you were injured; and,
- You suffered losses like those mentioned above.
While all of these factors are important, #1 is critical because it sets the foundation for the remaining elements. Unless there is a duty to exercise reasonable care, a property owner cannot breach it. Under Maryland law, there are two sources that give rise to a legal duty:
- Common Law: The US legal system relies upon case precedent regarding determinations in personal injury matters; in other words, courts are bound to follow the rulings in similar, preceding cases. Generations ago – even dating back to the times of British rule – a court found that a property owner had a duty to keep the premises reasonably safe for others. These same individuals and entities have a similar duty today.
- Statutes and Regulations: Federal, state, and local lawmakers have enacted statutes directed at the safety of property, such the Baltimore County Building Code. As you can probably guess, a violation could lead to fines and other sanctions for the property owner. However, it can also be used as evidence of a duty to support your claim in a premises liability case. The property owner had a statutory obligation and failed to comply – strong evidence for elements #1 and #2 above.
Consult with a Baltimore County, MD Premises Liability Attorney About Your Rights
Regardless of whether a breach of common law or statutory duty was behind your slip and fall claims, it is essential to retain a knowledgeable premises liability lawyer to assist with your legal remedies. Property and business owners carry insurance to protect their interests in these cases, so filing a claim can be complicated. You can trust our team to advocate on your behalf as an injured victim, so please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman to set up a no-cost consultation. We can advise you on your options after reviewing your circumstances.