Slip and Fall Accidents
“Slip and fall” is a term used for a personal injury case in which a person slips and falls as a result of a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property. Inside a building, dangerous conditions such as torn carpeting, abrupt changes in flooring, poor lighting, narrow stairs, or a wet floor can cause you to slip and hurt yourself. Outside a building, you may slip and fall because of rain, ice, snow or a hidden hazard, such as a gap or a pothole in the ground. Slip and fall accidents can occur on commercial, residential or public property. Regardless of where they happen, all property or building owners have certain level of responsibility (duty of care) to make sure an environment is safe.
Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of “premises liability” cases, which center on the question of a property owner’s duty to care for the property. Injury by fire or other accidents resulting from defects in the conditions of buildings also fall under this category.
Slip and fall injury claims in Baltimore and all of Baltimore County are governed under the negligence law. To win premises liability claim, an injured victim must prove either that:
A) The defendant created the hazard that lead to the accident or
B) The defendant knew or should have known about the danger and had it removed or repaired.
This can often be difficult to prove, since proving when a given hazard first appeared can be challenging.
Example: If you slip and fall on a puddle of fluids in a grocery store in Columbia, MD absent some evidence of when the fluid first fell onto the floor, it may be difficult to prove that the store “knew or should have known” about the dangerous condition. If the fluid fell onto the floor ten seconds before you arrived, then the store most likely could not have know about it . Since Plaintiff’s have the burden of proof, proving when the hazard first appeared and that the store should have known about the hazard presents problems in certain cases.
Structural damages to a building, often due to age or wear and tear, can be a significant cause of injury.
(1) Uneven steps
(2) Parking lot potholes
(3) Cracked sidewalks
(4) Broken tiles
(5) Torn up carpeting
This neglect in structural integrity can create dangerous situations for visitors to a building in Baltimore, for example. As noted earlier, to prove negligence, we will have to prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the problem and failed to repair it.
Occasionally, negligence can be proven by violation of a statute. Building owners must ensure that the building’s structure is in compliance with applicable building codes. For example, handrails and other similar structures typically must be installed at a certain general height. If you fall on a stairway that lacked appropriate handrails, and the lack thereof caused your injuries, you may have a valid claim against the building owner for violating building codes.
Weather-related slip and fall accidents are difficult cases for injured plaintiffs. Landowners are generally expected to take reasonable steps to reduce hazards created by adverse weather. This can include, but is not limited to, shoveling snow, salting or sanding icy and slippery spots, and installing anti-slip devices on outdoor steps. As with other cases, if the landowner has no reasonable opportunity to correct the problem, as where a flash flood has created a hazard, the landowner will not held liable for injuries caused by the hazard
In slip and fall cases, as with all other negligence claims, comparative negligence applies. As a guest on another person’s property, you are expected to exercise reasonable judgment and caution.
Example: You fall while walking down the stairs at a hotel, sustaining serious injuries. A jury finds that the property owner had been warned about the trouble spot weeks ago and failed to correct it, however, the jury also finds that you were reading the newspaper while you walked down the stairs and your inattention contributed to causing the accident. If the jury finds you 50 percent at fault and the defendant 50 percent at fault, the defendant would have to pay you only one half of the total damages found to be incurred by you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, call the Law Offices of David B. Shapiro now at 410-576-9100 or CONTACT A TOP SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT ATTORNEY IN BALTIMORE. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t hesitate! You may have a valid Baltimore SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be field before the statue of limitations expires.