Columbia Slip and Fall Lawyers
Slip and fall accidents can occur under a variety of circumstances, and they do not always mean litigation. However, litigation does compensate victims for the negligence of others, and people file and settle multiple slip and fall claims yearly. The most important aspect of a slip and fall case is the idea of “premises liability” – the legal concept governing injuries occurring on someone’s property. Proving fault in these cases can be difficult, but hiring a skilled Columbia slip and fall lawyer can help.
Premises Liability in Columbia, MD
Premises liability applies to different types of injury cases, of which slip and fall is only one. Premises liability claims hinge on proving the negligence of the property owner, and that his or her negligence led to your injury. Injuries from a slip and fall case can include broken bones, sprains, brain injuries, spine injuries, and others. To win a premises liability case, one must prove the owner of the property knew, or reasonably should have known, of the property’s unsafe conditions, and the owner did not correct them.
The laws governing property owners’ duty of care to maintain safe conditions on their property varies in different states. According to the law, there are four labels for people who are on someone else’s property:
- Invitees: An invitee is anyone the owner specifically invited onto the property.
- Social guests: The property owner welcomes these people to the property.
- Licensees: Licensees are on the property for their own reasons, but with the owner’s consent.
- Trespassers: A trespasser has no right to be on the property whatsoever.
Invitees and social guests have an implied promise that the property owner has made certain the property is reasonably safe; licensees and trespassers have no such promise.
States other than Maryland apply a uniform standard of care for social guests, invitees, and licensees. This means that anyone on the property, with the exception of trespassers, should expect safe conditions when they are on the property. Some states also consider the property’s use, the foreseeability of the accident, and the practicality of any attempts by the property owner to fix a dangerous situation or warn visitors of it.
How to Tell if You Have a Slip and Fall Case
The various factors that go into a slip and fall case can make it hard for injury victims to decide if their case is worth filing. Here are some questions to help determine premises liability:
- Did an unsafe condition exist on the property? A simple slip or stumble is not the fault of the property owner. For there to be a slip and fall case, some type of condition must be present that makes the area unsafe. Such conditions might include an accumulation of ice, badly damaged sidewalk, or wet floors.
- Was the property owner aware? Property owners are not responsible for conditions about which they could not reasonably be aware. Prior notice of an unsafe condition is one of the most difficult facets of a slip and fall case to prove.
- Did the owner post warnings? If property owners know about a dangerous condition but cannot immediately solve it, they should post a warning. Though it may not completely absolve them of responsibility, it does prove they took some care to warn visitors.
- Was the danger obvious? If the condition leading to the fall was obvious, the person who fell usually is considered responsible. People are expected to show reasonable care in providing for their own safety, so if the condition of was obvious, the courts will likely not find the property owner responsible for an injury.