Slip and Fall Lawyers
More than one million people in the U.S. suffer a slip and fall injury every year. Work-related falls are the leading cause of death in construction accidents, and falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for people age 73 or older.
A slip and fall case involves proving liability (determining who is at fault for the fall), and recovering damages: monetary compensation for things like medical expenses, lost wages, and physical and emotional suffering.
Recovering damages from a slip and fall case in Maryland is often difficult because of the state’s law of contributory neglect. Under this law, if the person who fell is even slightly at fault for the accident (because they weren’t paying attention, for example, or were wearing the wrong type of shoes), that person cannot recover any damages.
- In the U.S., about 19,565 people die every year from fall-related injuries.
- Slips, trips, and falls account for 15% of all accidental deaths, and nearly 20% of all work-related injuries.
- Slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- Around 20 to 30% of all people who slip and fall suffer moderate or severe injuries like bruises, head injuries, and hip fractures.
- Fractures from slip and fall accidents most commonly occur in the spine, hips, forearms, legs, ankles, pelvis, upper arms, or hands.
- Slip and fall accidents may lead to broken bones or fractures, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, incapacitation, long-term medical conditions, or death.
Maryland slip and fall law
In a slip and fall case, the first step is to prove liability: in other words, prove that the owner or maintainer of the property on which you fell is to blame for the accident. Proving liability is easiest when you can prove that the property owner knew – or at least should have known – about hazardous conditions and did nothing. For example, multiple burnt-out lightbulbs or significantly uneven ground are conditions that the property owner should have known about and taken steps to remedy.
On the other hand, if you slip on a banana peel and fall, the banana may have been dropped only seconds before you arrived on the scene, in which case the property owner couldn’t have known about it, and therefore isn’t responsible for your fall.
Liability also depends on the type of guest and the reason for their visit. The property owner has more responsibility towards an invitee – a guest whose presence benefits the property owner – than towards a trespasser. If the property owner is an individual, the invitee may be a friend who was invited over for lunch. At a doctor’s office, the invitee is someone coming in for an appointment or consultation. Similarly, an invitee at a shopping mall or other business may be there to shop or conduct business which will benefit the property owner.
By contrast, a property owner has no responsibility towards a trespasser, other than the obligation to not intentionally injure them.
Because of Maryland’s law of contributory neglect, you may be unable to recover damages from the property owner if you are even 1% at fault for your slip and fall accident. There are several reasons the property owner may give for attributing you part of the blame:
- You may not have been paying attention when you fell
- May have been wearing shoes that weren’t safe under the circumstances
- May have been on a part of the property where visitors aren’t allowed
- An area blocked off by signs or cones
- Dangerous conditions may have been so obvious that you should have noticed and taken greater care
Assumption of risk may also come into play in a slip and fall case. This means that the person who fell assumed a risk of their own free will when entering a property. For example, if you walk through a parking lot on a particularly icy day when the pavement is slippery, you assume the risk of falling. In other words, you knew the parking lot was dangerous and took a risk by walking through it. Assumption of risk makes it more difficult to attribute full blame to the property owner and recover damages from them.
After proving liability, the next step is recovering damages. When you slipped and fell, you may have sustained serious injuries that will or already have cost a good deal of money in medical expenses. You may need to take time off work due to injuries, and in severe cases, you may lose your job and experience long-term pain and suffering. If the property owner or maintainer is found at fault in your accident, he or she must compensate you for related medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, in proportion to the extent and severity of your injuries.
Trip-And-Fall Lawyers Representing The Delmarva Peninsula And The Eastern Shore Of Maryland
Otway Russo, P.C., accepts meritorious premises liability cases. Knowing how tricky these cases are, we are selective about which ones we handle. If we represent you, it will mean we truly believe in your case. We are prepared to work hard to prepare compelling arguments in your favor.
First, we will investigate and evaluate your fall accident case. Did someone leave debris in an apartment hallway or on a sidewalk, causing you to fall and injure yourself? Were steps or stairs in a state of poor repair, causing you to trip on them? Whatever the circumstances or cause of the accident, we will determinedly pursue the answer to the question of “Why?”
The next step is to prepare your case as if for trial. We take seriously the possibility that we might be asked to present your claim to a jury. For the sake of a real or theoretical jury, we will subpoena videotape surveillance evidence, interview eyewitnesses, study police reports and otherwise work to uncover pivotal facts in your slip-and-fall accident case.
Contact an Experienced Salisbury Slip and Fall Lawyer
Make the first move as soon as you can after a premises liability claim. We can help you discover negligence and pursue compensation after a serious fall injury in Maryland. Contact us by calling (410) 749-3900 or sending an email. Ask us for a free consultation.