Premises Liability Lawyer
Premises liability is a type of personal injury claim that occurs when a victim is injured by dangerous conditions on another person’s property. In larger terms, Maryland law requires property owners to keep their properties in a generally safe condition. If the property is not reasonably safe and a visitor gets hurt, then the owner may face a premises liability claim.
If you’ve been involved in an accident on someone else’s property, contact a Baltimore premises liability lawyer at Leppler Injury Law for help. Our Maryland personal injury law firm understands the law surrounding falling accidents and premises liability. We’ll fight for your right to just and fair financial compensation for injuries caused by these accidents.
What Is Premises Liability?
When you visit a commercial establishment or even someone’s private property, it is reasonable to expect that you are walking into a safe environment. However, the law also requires property owners to keep their commercial establishments or homes safe if they invite people over. If you were injured because a property owner failed to meet that obligation, you should consider placing a call to a premises liability attorney.
Premises liability cases almost always involve an element of negligence. The property owner or employee may have missed something that caused your accident. Proving that lack of oversight directly caused your accident will be key to winning your premises liability lawsuit.
The courts consider several factors before they decide on liability in a premises liability case. You do not automatically have a case because you received injuries on someone’s property. Unsurprisingly, these cases can become complicated, so enlist the help of a premises liability attorney before you proceed with your lawsuit.
What Are the Premises Liability Laws in Maryland?
Maryland law confers specific status classifications for property visitors in the state. The specific status classification granted to you before the accident will help determine if you have a premises liability case.
First off, we have the business invitees. Business invitees are guests the property owner welcomed into their establishment to complete specific transactions. As the Baltimore or Towson property owner, you owe your business invitees the highest duty of care. You must search for potential hazards and resolve them before welcoming invitees onto your property.
Customers in retail establishments and hotel guests are considered business invitees. Skilled workers such as electricians and plumbers are also regarded as business invitees because you invited them over to complete a specific task you will pay for.
Licensees by Invitation
Licensees by invitation are also known as social guests. These are the guests you invite for dinner parties or to hang out. Most of the time, you do not need to fix all hazards on your property before inviting a social guest. However, it would be best if you still warned them about those hazards.
Bare licensees are the people who enter your property of their own volition after obtaining your consent. They are on your property because they want to be. Salespeople are the most common examples of bare licensees, as homeowners typically do not invite them over. Property owners owe no duty of care to bare licensees. But, simultaneously, you cannot create any new hazards without warning the bare licensee.
Last up, we have the trespassers. The trespassers are the people on your property who did not obtain your consent. You must refrain from intentionally harming a trespasser, but you owe them no greater duty of care beyond that.
Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Any accident on another person’s property or an accident at a public place or store falls in the premise liability category. Some of the most common examples of these accidents include:
- Slips, Trips, and Falls. It’s unusual to slip or trip and fall for no reason, absent some medical condition. There is usually an unsafe environment of some sort that caused the fall. Wet floors, oil spills, uneven surfaces, and defective stairs or walkways are all common reasons to slip or trip and fall.
- Inadequate Maintenance. Improperly maintained appliances, light fixtures, staircases, elevators, etc. can all cause injuries if they fail at just the right time.
- Negligent Security. Parking lots, garages, hotels, and other commercial properties may have no or inadequate security or lighting. This can create the opportunity for any number of crimes in which a negligent security lawyer would need to step in.
- Electrocution or Fire. Malfunctioning sprinkler systems and poorly maintained wiring are examples of negligence that can cause electrocution or fire. More severe injuries can occur if fires break out and escape routes are blocked or insufficiently marked.
- Playground or School Accidents. When adults such as teachers or yard duty personnel don’t properly supervise children, serious injuries can happen on the playground. Poor hiring practices can result in the employment of a teacher or other school personnel who sexually abuse children, and drownings can happen in public or semi-public pools.
- Entertainment Venues, Festivals, Nightclubs, and Bars. Commercial establishments are required to ensure their security personnel is properly and adequately trained to de-escalate altercations, and restrain unruly, overly intoxicated, or aggressive patrons. If security personnel use excessive force while de-escalating and restraining a patron, and then injure you in the process, you may have a personal injury claim against the commercial property.
- Dog Attacks. Property owners have an obligation to keep their dogs restrained or provide warnings, especially if the animal has an aggressive past. If a dog injures someone because of an owner’s lack of training, absence of a fence, or failure to leash a dog, they may be liable for any damage the dog causes. In situations like these partnering with an experienced dog bite lawyer may be required.
According to Maryland law, the property owner and dog may avoid being penalized if their pet attacks a trespasser. A defendant can also be innocent if their dog attacked because of a criminal offense. The owner can also claim their dog was being provoked before the attack to avoid
Common Defenses a Property Owner May Use
The property owner in your premises liability case probably would not hand your compensation over simply because you asked for it. In all likelihood, you will need to poke holes in the defenses put forth by the other side. Detailed below are some common defenses property owners use in premises liability cases.
The Property Owner Did Not Know about the Hazard
Claiming ignorance is a common defensive tactic for property owners accused of being negligent. For example, they may claim that they knew nothing about the hazard and did not have enough time to discover it. Proving that the property owner did know about the hazard and had a reasonable amount of time to do something will be crucial to the success of your case.
The Property Owner Says You Should Have Recognized the Hazard
The property owner may also suggest that you should have recognized the hazard and avoided it. Finally, they may suggest that the accident occurred because you did not put in the effort to keep yourself safe. A property owner may use this kind of defense if they failed to put up a warning for a hazard inside their establishment.
The Property Owner Says the Accident Is Partially Your Fault
In a last-ditch effort to avoid a compensation payout, the defendant in your case may accept blame while also casting some on you. If that claim sticks, you will miss out on compensation completely because Maryland uses the principle of contributory negligence to settle these lawsuits.
Sharing even 1% of the blame for your premises liability accident is enough to bar you from receiving compensation. Hire a premises liability attorney to prevent that from happening.
Proving Fault in a Premises Liability Case
Establishing fault in a premises liability case will likely be the greatest challenge for the plaintiff and their Baltimore premises liability lawyer. You will need to prove certain elements to get your claim to stick. Let’s talk more about those elements below.
- You Were Owed a Duty of Care: The first thing you need to prove as the plaintiff is that the property owner owed you a specific level of care. We touched on this earlier when we discussed status classifications. For example, if you are a customer or a social guest, the property owner owes you a high level of care.
- The Property Owner Breached Their Duty of Care: Your next goal should be to establish that the property owner did not afford you the proper level of care while you were on their property. In other words, you must prove they were negligent. Negligence is a relative term here. It will be evaluated based on your status classification when you were visiting the defendant’s home or commercial establishment.
- Your Injury Was Caused by Your Premises Liability Accident: As the plaintiff, you must also prove that you received your injuries from the accident. For example, if you have a concussion, you must prove that the hazard on the property caused the accident that led you to develop that injury. Without that connection, your lawsuit may not succeed.
Do I Need a Premises Liability Lawyer?
Are you wondering if you truly need a lawyer from a Baltimore premises liability law firm to move forward with your premises liability case? Your hesitation is understandable. However, you will not regret hiring a liability attorney. You will see why after going through the reasons included below.
Help Establish the Connection between Your Injury and the Accident
Remember that your lawsuit’s success hinges on establishing the connection between your injury and the accident. Knowing your lawyer will work closely with your doctor to determine how the accident relates to your injury. Upon discovering the link, your liability claim lawyer will study it further so they can present a stronger case to the court.
Ensure That You Are Suing the Right Person
Determining the owner of the property where your accident occurred is hugely important. After all, you do not want to sue someone who is not responsible for your accident. In some cases, identifying a property owner could be easier said than done. Have your attorney handle that task so you can be certain that you are suing the right party.
Negotiate with the Property Owner
The owner of the Baltimore County business establishment where your accident occurred may not want the public hearing about your case. They may decide to settle to make this whole thing go away. Ask your premises liability attorney to handle those negotiations. They will get you the fair deal you deserve.
Premises Liability Law Firm
Sometimes it can feel difficult to sue property owners who may be friends or relatives after being injured on their property. Yet, when the hospital bills are past due, are they there offering to help?
Let Baltimore Premises Liability Lawyer John J. Leppler recover your damages for you. Our premises liability law firm provide personal attention to your matter that can’t be found at the mega-firms, and we offer 24/7 accessibility, no-obligation consultations, no fees charged unless you win, and same-day responses to messages.