Maryland Slip and Fall Attorney
A slip and fall accident is often mocked as a trivial matter that people exploit for large settlements. However, slip and fall accidents often lead to incredibly serious injuries that can have a life-long impact on victims. Victims of slip and fall accidents must act quickly, as there is a time limit on filing a personal injury lawsuit in Maryland. it is imperative to seek medical treatment right away so you can get your injuries assessed and we can determine the extent of your damages.
A slip and fall might be a minor inconvenience for some, but others are especially susceptible to injuries from a fall. the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions may be seriously injured after a fall. Do not let unfair public perceptions about slip and fall cases deter you from seeking justice and compensation.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you deserve to be compensated no matter what the extent of your injuries may be. Our Maryland slip and fall attorneys can help you figure out what damages you can claim and file your lawsuit. Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (225) 258-2732 to arrange a free, confidential legal consultation.
Injuries from Slip and Fall Accidents
If you fall, you can be injured in a number of ways. Bumps and scrapes may be the mildest of these injuries, potentially resulting in bruising or requiring some over-the-counter painkillers. You could also suffer cuts that need stitches to stop the bleeding, and you may potentially require help from a plastic surgeon to prevent scarring.
More serious falls can cause debilitating or even permanent injuries.
When falling, many people try to catch themselves. This may mean extending your arm or leg, potentially breaking an arm, hand, wrist, shoulder, collar bone, leg, or hip.
Whether you catch yourself or not, you could also break a rib, your tail bone, or other bones. If you hit your head during the fall, you could face serious injuries. A concussion is a mild form of traumatic brain injury that could cause unconsciousness, nausea, mood changes, confusion, and other problems.
More severe traumatic brain injuries can result in personality changes, memory problems, cognitive and memory issues, motor control issues, and even death. You could require emergency medical care, especially if the head injury involves bleeding in the brain.
Falling can also cause serious injury to the back and spine.
If you twist or torque uncomfortably when you fall, you could slip a disc or suffer strains and other soft tissue injuries to your back and spine. More severe injuries could result in a broken bone in the neck or spine. In either type of injury, damage to the spinal cord itself could cause permanent, substantial injuries.
If the spinal cord is damaged, it can cause numbness, pins-and-needles sensations, weakness, and reduced motor control in the affected areas that connect to that portion of the spine. Severing the spinal cord altogether could result in paralysis.
No matter what kind of injury you suffered after a fall, call our Maryland slip and fall attorneys for help. We can help you get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries in peace and comfort.
“Slip and Fall” vs. “Premises Liability” in Maryland
If you were injured in a slip and fall, you might be able to sue the owner of the premises for the injuries you suffered. A property owner is responsible for ensuring that guests and passersby on their property are not injured from hidden dangers. This often means putting up warning signs, repairing dangers, and clearing away leaves, debris, and snow. Alternatively, they can put up reasonably effective warning signs letting people know that an area is wet or slippery.
If the property owner fails to take these legally required steps, people on their property might not see hidden dangers and fall because of them. If this happens, the injured victim might hold the property owner responsible through a negligence lawsuit.
Failing to clear, repair, or warn about hidden dangers is considered a breach of the duty that the property owner owed the victim. the property owner might be held legally responsible for any injuries or damages that resulted from the negligence.
Their relationship with the plaintiff determines the liability of the premise owner. Places where people are expected to come and go as they please, such as retail spaces or public parks, often have a greater duty of care for the owners.
However, someone’s private property where no one is expected nor permitted to enter comes with a much less severe duty of care.
The damages you can claim may depend on where you were injured, who owned the property, and why you entered the premises in the first place. Our Maryland slip and fall lawyers will help you claim your damages, no matter how small or great.
Time Limit to Sue for a Slip and Fall in Maryland
In Maryland, the time limit to bring a civil action is referred to as the statute of limitations. Different types of actions may have different statutes of limitations, so it is important to speak to an attorney sooner rather than later about your case.
According to § 5-101 of the Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings, personal injury cases, including slip and fall accidents, must be filed within three years of the accident.
While three years may sound like a lot of time at first, some plaintiffs find it difficult to bring their lawsuits within the statutory period. Filing a lawsuit requires a lot of information, including medical assessments and treatment from medical professionals. the time it takes to gather all the necessary information may be longer than anticipated. However, it may be possible to buy extra time.
Certain conditions allow plaintiffs to toll the statute of limitations and effectively buy themselves more time. For example, plaintiffs who are mentally disabled or incompetent may have additional time to file their lawsuit.
For example, a plaintiff who suffered a head injury after a slip and fall accident might end up in a coma. An unconscious patient obviously cannot file a lawsuit, so the statute of limitations would be tolled until they awoke and could file.
Contact our Maryland slip and fall lawyers about your case. We can help you assess your case and file your lawsuit on time.
Injuries on Private Property vs. Commercial Property
The duty of care owed by a private property owner to the plaintiff will depend on the relationship between the two parties. A property owner who invited the plaintiff as a guest onto their property often has a high duty of care.
The owner may be responsible for any hazards they know about and ones they might not know about but reasonably should have known about. This may mean the property owner should have checked for dangerous conditions before inviting the plaintiff onto the property.
However, where a property owner did not invite the plaintiff onto the property, the duty of care is lesser. In some cases, the plaintiff may not be able to recover and could even face penalties for unlawful trespass.
Slip and falls that lead to personal injury lawsuits typically occur in places that someone else is responsible for maintaining. For example, people are often tasked with the maintenance of sidewalks directly in front of their homes.
Shoveling snow and ice from the sidewalk in front of your home is a common duty for homeowners or tenants. When people neglect this responsibility, a passerby may slip and fall.
A slip and fall accident could also occur in a retail space like a grocery store. A customer or patron might slip and fall on a wet floor after an employee cleaned it with a mop. Failure to put out wet floor signs or make patrons aware of the danger could mean the store owner is responsible. No matter where or how you slipped and fell, speak to our Maryland slip and fall lawyers about getting help.
Injuries on Public Property
An injury on public property is unique because the defendant is a state or local government. Public property must always be safely maintained because the government can reasonably expect people to be using the property at any time.
The nature of public property means that the government cannot use the plaintiff’s unlawful trespass as a defense. You cannot unlawfully trespass on property that is open to the public, such as a park or sidewalks.
Governments must prepare the property to be used or occupied at any time and under all types of weather conditions.
If you slipped and fell on public property, call our Maryland slip and fall lawyers for assistance.
What if You Share Fault for Your Slip and Fall in Maryland?
There are instances where you can share fault for a slip and fall. For instance, you may be partially to blame if you ignored a warning sign for the hazard that caused your accident. Further, you may be somewhat responsible if you were wearing inappropriate footwear. Unfortunately, in Maryland, you cannot pursue compensation if you are found to have played any role in causing your accident.
Defendants in slip and fall cases often attempt to shift blame onto plaintiffs. Still, you should not let this deter you from filing claim. There are several forms of evidence that can be used to prove that the defendant is to blame.
Proving Fault for a Slip and Fall Accident in Maryland
In order to recover compensation in a slip and fall lawsuit, you must be able to prove that your accident happened because of the defendant’s negligence. The following are all examples of evidence that may be used to establish fault in your case:
Surveillance footage from private security cameras is one of the more valuable types of evidence used to prove fault for slip and fall accidents. In many cases, such footage can help explain the events that unfolded before, during, and after an accident. Accordingly, reviewing surveillance footage can help lawyers and insurance companies gain a clearer picture of how or why an accident occurred.
For example, footage from a security camera at an office building may show that a delivery driver slipped and fell on loose wiring laying across the floor. Further, footage from a doorbell camera may prove that a victim slipped and fell because ice accumulation at an entranceway. In either case, the injured party may have a valid claim against the at-fault property owner.
Like surveillance footage, witness statements can help identify how or why slip and fall accident happened. An eyewitness can offer both written and oral testimony that helps determine the cause of such an accident. For instance, a worker on a construction site may state that they saw a coworker slip and fall because of a staircase’s broken handrail. Therefore, you should always attempt to retrieve contact information from potential witnesses to your slip and fall if you can.
Physical Evidence from the Scene
Physical evidence from the scene of your slip and fall can also be used to prove fault. For instance, if you slipped because of a mat that lost its grip, then the mat may be brought into court to prove that it was not functioning properly.
Further, physical evidence from the scene may be used to disprove a defendant’s alternative theory of fault. As an example, the defendant in your case may assert that your slip and fall occurred because the shoes you were wearing lost their grip. In that case, you could bring the shoes you were wearing into court to prove that their tread was still intact.
Photos from the Scene
You should attempt to take photos at the scene of your slip and fall accident if possible. Photos from the scene are another form of evidence that may be used to prove fault. For example, a photo from the scene depicting a wet spot on the floor may help establish why your slip and fall happened.
Finally, you should write down your personal recollection of your slip and fall accident while your memory is fresh. The details you record may be very valuable when building your case against an at-fault party.
Damages for Slip and Falls in Maryland
When you sue for damages in a slip and fall lawsuit in Maryland, you can claim any damages related to the injury. This means that you can claim damages for medical bills to treat the injuries you suffered and any wages you would miss at work.
In addition, you can also claim damages for intangible harms, such as the mental suffering and emotional distress of the injuries, as well as the physical pain and discomfort you faced. Talk to our Maryland slip and fall attorneys about what your case is worth before accepting any money for your injuries.
The extent of your damages and how much money your case could be worth will depend on the severity of your injuries. A serious fall that requires surgery to treat will be worth more than a fall that resulted in a sprained ankle. Additionally, a person who works on their feet, such as a factory employee, might miss work due to their injuries.
However, an office worker who spends most of their time in a chair behind a desk may have an easier time returning to work and might not claim damages for lost wages.
No matter how mild or grave your injuries are, you deserve representation from skilled, experienced attorneys. Our Maryland slip and fall lawyers will stand by your side and hold the defendant responsible for your injuries.
How Much is a Maryland Slip and Fall Case Worth?
Not every slip and fall case will end with a full-blown trial. Many cases end in settlement agreements. A settlement agreement is when the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff at least some of their damages, and in exchange, the plaintiff agrees to drop the case.
Once a settlement is reached, the plaintiff is barred from ever bringing the lawsuit again. To negotiate effectively, we must understand how much your case is worth.
Many different factors and circumstances will determine your case’s worth. Of course, the cost of your medical bills and any necessary treatments will play a significant role.
However, there are more subjective issues that can determine your case’s worth. For example, pain and suffering are experienced differently by different people. If your accident was particularly painful or traumatic, your damages for pain and suffering might be worth more.
Before entering settlement negotiations, it is important to understand how much your case is worth. Defendants often try to settle for less than what a plaintiff wants. Our goal when negotiating a settlement is to get as many damages covered as possible.
Our Maryland slip and fall lawyers are prepared to advocate for the best settlement possible for your case. However, in the event that settlement negotiations fall apart, we will stand by your side at trial.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents in Maryland
There are several different types of hazards that can cause slip and fall accidents. The following are all examples of hazards that regularly cause such accidents in Maryland:
When spilled liquids are not attended to, devastating slip and fall accidents can occur. For example, a shopper may sustain a harmful accident because they slipped on a wet spot in the aisle of a grocery store. If the employees at the store ignored the spill and did not put up appropriate signage warning customers of the hazard, then the store owner may be liable for the victim’s injuries.
Ice accumulation is another common source of slip and fall accidents. When property owners do not clear ice from walkways, visitors can sustain serious injuries. For example, if a hotel owner does not clear ice from their building’s entranceway, a guest may suffer a painful slip and fall. In that case, the hotel owner may be sued for damages stemming from their guest’s accident.
Slip and fall accidents can also occur because of dim lighting. As an example, a tenant may sustain a catastrophic slip and fall because their apartment’s owner did not fix a broken light fixture in their building’s stairwell. After such an accident, the apartment owner could be held accountable for the tenant’s injuries.
Potholes or Cracks in Sidewalks
Furthermore, a high number of slip and fall accidents occur as the result of potholes or cracks in sidewalks. In the aftermath of such an accident, our slip and fall attorneys will review your case determine if you can bring a lawsuit against an at-fault party.
Exposed wiring is another common cause of slip and fall accidents. Workers often slip on loose wiring when walking through office buildings, construction sites, and other places where electrical cords may be strewn across the floor. Thankfully, victims of accidents caused by loose wiring may be able to pursue financial compensation for the harm they endured.
Property owners can also cause slip and fall accidents by failing to repair broken handrails along walkways and staircases. Additionally, senior citizens may slip and fall in the shower because they tried to grab onto a broken handrail. If your harmful slip and fall occurred as the result of a broken handrail, then you may be able to pursue multiple forms of monetary damages.
Loose Mats and Floorboards
Finally, loose mats and floorboards are also a common source of slip and fall accidents in Maryland. For instance, a patron at a restaurant may be injured because they slipped on a loose mat while walking to the restroom. Further, someone may sustain a harmful slip and fall because of a loose floorboard on a dock. In either case, the victim may be able to file a lawsuit seeking payment for their injuries.
Call Our Maryland Slip and Fall Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one tripped or slipped and fell in Maryland, Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland slip and fall injury lawyers might be able to help you file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your injuries. Call our law offices today at (225) 258-2732 to schedule a free legal consultation and learn more about your potential case.