December and January are the height of the winter season in Baltimore, MD, and you can expect more snow and ice accumulation for the next few months. Every year, countless victims suffer injuries due to slip and fall on slippery surfaces, ranging from minor scrapes to serious head injuries. You might assume that you have a claim for compensation against the property owner if you are injured, but the legal concepts are quite complicated in this area of law. Discuss your situation with a skilled Baltimore County, MD personal injury lawyer, and check out some important information on these claims.
Default Rule on Property Owner’s Duty
Generally, when you are injured due to a dangerous condition on a property, your claim is based upon premises liability. To recover compensation in a slip and fall case, you must prove that:
- The owner or occupier of the property had a legal duty to keep the premises free of hazardous conditions;
- There was a breach of this legal duty through an act or omission of the property owner;
- Your injuries were directly caused by the breach of duty; and,
- You sustained damages as a result of the breach.
Specific Premises Liability Rules for Falls on Ice and Snow
There is no state law in Maryland requiring property owners and occupiers to remove snow. However, the Baltimore County municipal code does include a regulation requiring removal of snow and ice within 24 hours after a snowfall. Though a violation of the law would result in a citation and a fine, the situation also has implications for a slip and fall accident. The concept of premises liability may allow you to recover compensation when:
- The property owner failed to remove the snow and ice accumulation within 24 hours, leading to an unreasonably hazardous condition on the premises;
- There was no sign posted regarding the slippery, dangerous conditions; or,
- The property owner or occupier acted carelessly in removing snow or ice, making the condition of the premises even more hazardous.
Safety Tips for Ice and Snow
While you can not completely avoid slippery conditions, you may benefit from some recommendations on how to get around safely when snow and ice are present.
- Wear snow boots, which provide more traction than heels, dress shoes, or athletic shoes;
- Take shorter steps on ice;
- Bend your knees to lower your body’s center of gravity;
- Plant your whole foot gently on the surface, as opposed to your normal heel-to-toe gait;
- Slow down and use handrails where available; and,
- Avoid carrying heavy loads.
Contact a Baltimore County, MD Slip and Fall Lawyer to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you were injured due to a fall on snow or ice, you should discuss your claim with an experienced premises liability lawyer. You may be able to recover compensation, but these cases are more complicated when Mother Nature or other unpreventable factors contribute to the hazards on a property. Please contact attorney Michael A. Freedman for more information. We can review your circumstances and take appropriate action regarding your legal remedies.