Slipping and falling on a sidewalk can be embarrassing, but it can also cause serious injuries. During the winter months, sidewalks become disaster zones for many people who, even with winter boots, slip and fall on sidewalks all over the city. Victims could suffer back injuries, broken bones, and other potentially serious injuries. Your first instinct might be to try to sue the City of Baltimore for your injuries if they failed to keep the sidewalks safe. In many cases, this isn’t the right party to sue. the Maryland icy sidewalks injury from fall lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras explain.
Whom Do You Sue for Injuries on an Icy Sidewalk in Baltimore, MD?
When you slip and fall because of dangerous surfaces, uneven surfaces, or other dangers on the ground or floor, the property owner is often responsible. Property owners all over Baltimore owe guests to their property a duty to repair hidden dangers and clean up surfaces to prevent injuries. They owe this duty to both invited guests and passers-by – sometimes they even owe this duty to trespassers. On a sidewalk, you might think the City of Baltimore is responsible for clearing snow, but the owner or operator of the building next to the sidewalk is actually the person responsible for keeping the surface safe in many cases.
When you are injured outside a house or a business because you slipped and fell on a snowy or icy sidewalk, it is usually the homeowner or business owner who is responsible, not the City of Baltimore. the City puts regulations in place that require residents to clean up snow within three hours of the time the snowfall stops (unless it stops in the late afternoon – in which case they have until the next morning by 11 a.m.). With these regulations in place, it becomes pretty clear that the property owners are the responsible ones – and if they left the sidewalk snowy or icy, it’s their fault, not the City’s.
Can You Sue the City of Baltimore for Icy Sidewalks?
Some sidewalks are in odd places where there is no building precisely next to the sidewalk. In these locations, it often is the City that ends up taking responsibility for shoveling and plowing. However, this does not necessarily mean that you can sue the government of the City of Baltimore for your injuries – and if you can, you may be limited in how much you can recover.
Typically, governments cannot be sued for things that they do wrong unless they have explicitly allowed the lawsuits by writing laws or ordinances to allow the suit. In many cases, the City can be sued for things it does wrong, but only if you would have been able to sue any other person or company for the same type of negligence. This means that if a snowplow driver employed by the City hits you with their truck, you might be able to sue the City in the same way that you’d be able to sue any other negligent driver for a car accident.
In some cases, this kind of case might work for a sidewalk slip and fall (e.g., for a fall outside a courthouse or government building), but it is rare. Instead, it is more common that you sue the homeowner or business owner. Our Maryland slip and fall injury attorneys can research the case and look at property lines to determine the right party for you to sue after a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk in Baltimore.
Even if the government would be the right party to sue, the case might run into some problems because governments in Maryland (state and local) place caps on how much you can claim in damages in lawsuits against the government. There may also be other procedural limitations and requirements our attorneys can help you meet to file your case.
Damages for Slip and Falls on an Icy Sidewalk in Baltimore
If you were injured in a slip and fall on an icy sidewalk and need compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that you faced, you may be able to claim these damages in a lawsuit. When suing for damages, you can claim compensation for any economic or noneconomic harms you faced because of the at-fault party’s negligence. This means that you can claim these damages directly against the property owner that failed to clean up their sidewalk.
In most cases, these property owners or operators will have some kind of insurance that can protect them from having to pay damages out of pocket. This insurance usually comes in the form of homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or liability insurance for a business. When you file your claim, you will file it against the property owner or operator directly, but their insurance company is usually the party who provides them with a lawyer, handles negotiations, and is ultimately in charge of the case.
It is important to work with an experienced Baltimore slip and fall injury lawyer who can help you get the damages you need for your slip and fall injury case. When you sue a property owner for icy sidewalk slip and falls, the insurance companies will do everything they can to cut down payments and put an end to cases early. Our attorneys are prepared to fight for your right to compensation and help calculate fair damages for you to claim in your case.
Call Our Baltimore Slip and Fall Lawyers for Icy and Snowy Sidewalk Cases
If you slipped and fell on a sidewalk in Baltimore, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today for help with your case. Our Baltimore personal injury attorneys help fight for compensation for injury victims and their families after injuries like this, and we offer free consultations to help with new cases. Call us today at (410) 694-7291.