We have all fallen over. Sometimes we sustain injuries after a slip. Although falls are usually our fault, on occasions someone else creates a dangerous situation that causes an injury, providing the basis for a possible lawsuit The question of how long do slip and fall cases take in Maryland is frequently asked by people who consult an attorney.
As with most legal processes, there is no hard and fast answer. Although every case has a timeline, some slip and fall actions in Maryland settle more quickly than others. The length of the case depends on its complexity, the willingness of the parties to be reasonable, the time it takes to collect evidence, and whether the case goes all the way to trial. Baltimore slip and fall attorney Randolph Rice discusses how long slip and fall cases take in Maryland.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Injuries in Maryland
A slip and fall case can be brought when an act or an omission by another party creates a dangerous situation that causes the injury. Typically, people who bring these cases should have suffered a substantial injury. Sprains and bruises can cause considerable discomfort but it’s seldom worthwhile bringing a lawsuit for minor conditions. More serious issues like broken bones are common in slips and falls, particularly among elderly people. Here are some common scenarios:
- A janitor or another employee who is cleaning the floor leaves water or another slip hazard in a grocery store, restaurant, hotel, or another business and a customer slips on it.
- A customer at a store knocks over a slippery food or liquid and staff fail to clean up the danger, leading to a fall;
- A customer falls on a trip hazard in a business such as an uneven mat or a step.
- A broken railing or crumbling stairs cause an accident;
- A pedestrian trips over debris left on the sidewalk;
- A walker trips on ice or snow outside a business;
- Cracked or dangerous paving stones cause an injury to a passer-by.
- A malfunctioning escalator causes a fall injury.
Why You Should Consult a Slip and Fall Attorney for Your Injury
Most buildings where accidents occur are covered by liability insurance policies. Although it’s not difficult to make a claim, getting a fair payout from building liability policies is a different matter. These cases are typically more complicated than car crashes. You should hire a Baltimore personal injury lawyer to get the most you can out of these policies.
Slip and fall accident victims should not expect a quick payout. You should be suspicious about an early offer from an insurance company. Insurers often drag their heels over claims. Their adjusters have a wide repertoire of tricks to encourage you to drop the claim or settle for less than you deserve for your injuries.
How Long Do Slip and Fall Cases Take in Maryland? – The Legal Process
The timeline for slip and fall cases in Maryland is as follows.
Reporting the Accident
If you get hurt in a slip and fall accident, always report it immediately to a responsible person at the premises. Ask to see the most senior staff member at a commercial business like a store or a hotel and file an official report. If you mention your accident to a junior worker and fail to get a copy of a complaint, don’t be surprised if the business later denies knowledge of the incident. If you suffered a fall injury on public property and your injuries were not serious enough to call first responders, make a formal report to the city, county or town.
People who suffer a serious injury in a slip, trip or fall, usually call first responders who compile a report. You should also make a formal report and try to get eyewitness contact details at the scene and take pictures.
Getting Medical Treatment
Obtain prompt medical treatment for your injuries. Ideally, finish treating before making a claim so as you know the full extent of your injuries and the cost of medical procedures. This is not always possible if you suffered a substantial injury and symptoms linger. If your medical costs are ongoing, you may need to factor future medical bills into your claim. The average cost of treatment for a fall involving hospitalization is $35,000. This is a complex area of the law. We can only give formal legal advice in a one-to-one meeting with an experienced Maryland slip and fall attorney.
You should not accept a settlement before the extent of your injuries are known. This means you may have to wait weeks or even months to make a claim but it’s prudent to ensure you do not lose out on money you are entitled to.
Maryland has a three-year statute of limitations to sue in a slip and fall action. Although you should have a full picture of your injuries before filing a claim, it’s important to be aware of this and not miss the cut-off time for litigation.
Pursuing Legal Action
People injured in slip and falls must bring an official legal action against the property owner within three years of the injury in Maryland. Although many cases settle out of court, it’s vital to set the legal wheels in motion.
An attorney takes over all of the negotiations with the property owner’s insurance policy. We will investigate lability and consider which parties were to blame for your injury. We will demand important evidence like video camera footage from a store. An attorney will also put a value on your slip and fall injury claim. We will work out medical costs and future medical costs as well as lost wages.
We will also put a value on your non-economic damages, also known as pain and suffering in Maryland. These include physical pain and psychological issues caused by the accident as well as the way it has changed your life. You may no longer be able to go to a club you used to attend or see your friends. You can claim compensation for all of these losses.
Establishing Liability in Slip and Fall Lawsuits in Maryland
The question of how long do slip and fall cases take in Maryland often hinges on these negotiations between your attorney and the insurance company for the at-fault business. Lawyers use a process called discovery to obtain evidence from insurance companies. It’s often a lengthy process but we often uncover evidence that will help your case. If, for example, we discover the hardware store where you slipped on a plank has a history of safety violations, this evidence will boost your case.
The willingness of the other party to negotiate and reach a reasonable settlement will impact the time the slip and fall case takes. Some litigation settles during mediation hearings. Other cases settle on the eve of a trial. If a case goes all the way to a jury trial, it could easily take two years from the time of your injury to get justice. However, the majority of slip and fall cases settle before they reach a courtroom.
Talk to Baltimore Slip and Fall Lawyer Randolph Rice Today
Slip and fall cases are difficult to bring in Maryland. The state has a strict contributory negligence law. You won’t succeed in a lawsuit if you were any degree responsible for an injury. If it’s a freezing day and you think there is likely to be ice outside a store, the owners may escape liability for a fall.
In slip and fall cases, the victim must show the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of danger. This means you must prove store employees knew about spilled syrup, for example, on the floor or reasonably should have known about it. If the syrup was on the floor for two hours and nobody cleaned it up, this would be constructive knowledge. However, it’s a difficult thing for the victim to prove.
The challenges inherent in bringing a Maryland slip and fall case means you should always talk to an attorney early on in the process. Our Maryland slip and fall lawyer will give you a realistic assessment of your chances of successfully suing a business. Talk to the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 431-0911 for a free consultation.