Contributory negligence laws affect slip and fall accidents in Maryland in that this legal doctrine applies to all personal injury cases. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident while on someone else’s property, the property owner or manager might try to use contributory negligence as a defense and deny you compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Contributory Negligence Affects All Personal Injury Cases
According to the American Bar Association (ABA), Maryland is one of four states, along with Washington, D.C., that still recognizes contributory negligence in personal injury cases. This tort rule dictates that injured parties may be denied compensation for damages if they are found even 1 percent at fault for the accident that led to their injuries.
In terms of slip and fall cases, if the injured party’s negligence led to the slip and fall in any way, they may not be able to collect compensation from the property owner or other liable party.
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Property Owners Are Not Always Liable for Accidents on Their Premises
In some cases, property owners in Maryland might not hold liability for accidents on their property. Private landowners who allow people onto their land for recreational or educational purposes without charging a fee may be exempt from premises liability.
This exception was established in 2018 in Anthony Martinez v. Daniel Ross, which cited the Maryland Recreational Use Statute and determined that private landowners who open their land to the public for free do not owe a duty of care to keep people on their land free from harm or warn them about hazardous conditions, “except in cases of willful or malicious failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition.”
This rule allows people to enjoy outdoor recreational activities in private parks or engage in public forums on private land, among other scenarios. Your slip and fall lawyer can review your case to determine whether this rule applies to your slip and fall case or if the property owner still holds liability for your accident.
You Might Get Blamed for Your Slip and Fall Accident
If the above does not apply to your situation, that does not mean you are sure to win your slip and fall accident case. Though commercial businesses and private property owners do owe a duty of care to keep guests, customers, and licensees safe from injury on their premises, they may still use contributory negligence to divert blame toward you.
One of the main ways that contributory negligence laws affect slip and fall accidents in Maryland is that it can be difficult to prove total liability on the property owner, making the injured party vulnerable to being considered partially at fault for the accident. You, as an injured party, must be able to prove that the property owner or business made no attempt to warn you of a hazard or fix it before anyone got hurt. However, if your actions led to the slip and fall accident and could have been prevented had you taken better care, it may be determined that your exhibited contributory negligence.
Some common arguments property owners use against plaintiffs during slip and fall cases include:
- The plaintiff was distracted and did not notice any warning signs that would have prevented them from slipping and falling.
- The plaintiff saw the hazard and still thought they could get around it, which led to the slip and fall accident.
- The plaintiff was not wearing appropriate shoes for the environment. This argument is often used for slip and fall accidents that occur outside, such as on a sidewalk, and the plaintiff slipped on ice or another slippery substance.
- The plaintiff was not allowed on the property and was actually trespassing, which would mean the property owner has no liability for their injuries.
Hire a Slip and Fall Lawyer from the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow
If you or a loved one was injured on public or private property, you may be able to pursue compensation through a premises liability claim or lawsuit. People who slipped and fell on someone else’s property may be entitled to collect damages if there were no warnings about the fall hazard or no precautions were made to prevent them from being harmed.
A Baltimore slip and fall lawyer from the Law Offices of Adam M. Smallow wants to help you fight for compensation and may be able to anticipate the kind of defense arguments the property owner or manager might make. Call our law firm at (410) 777-8960 for a free case review by one of our team members, who can then inform you of your legal options. We can start working on your case right away.
If you decide to work with our team, you will also be able to communicate with us 24-7 via text. We care about our clients and are always appreciative of any new information they can provide to us about their case.