As Winter Approaches, Watch Your Step

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Cold winter weather brings with it snow, ice, and sleet, all of which make walking conditions hazardous under the best of circumstances. When a property owner fails to maintain safe conditions in areas for which the owner is responsible, the result can devastate people who use the property. Slips and falls on snowy or icy walking surfaces can result in severe injuries. If those walking surfaces were not properly cleared, the property owner could face liability for injuries that ensue.

Injuries suffered in falls that arise from a property owner’s negligence in maintaining safe conditions are no small matter. Government statistics show that accidental injuries were the fourth leading cause of death in the United States in 2014. These accidental deaths include snow- or ice-related accidents where the property owner failed to take proper care to ensure safe conditions.

An even greater number of less-serious injuries occur as a result of falls and other accidents. Government statistics indicate that property-liability accidents are among the leading causes of injuries annually, including injuries suffered as a result of:

  • Slips and falls
  • Dangerous property conditions
  • Negligent or inadequate security
  • Inadequate or improper maintenance
  • Retail stores or restaurants with hazardous conditions

When Is It Possible to Recover Damages for a Fall on Another’s Property?

When you have permission to be on someone else’s property—including a business open to the public or a private property onto which you were invited—you can hold the owner of that property liable for injuries you suffer due to negligent maintenance. Premises liability can apply in instances where:

  • The owner or occupant invited you onto the property or hired you to be there. This includes when you patronize a business open to the public, even though you were not personally invited onto the property.
  • The owner of the property knew or should have known about an unsafe condition on the property and failed to correct that condition, or corrected the condition in such a way that did not mitigate the danger.
  • The failure to correct the condition caused your injury.

In Maryland, as in most states, property owners are responsible for dangerous conditions of which they were aware. They are also responsible for dangerous conditions about which they should have been aware using reasonable diligence, but failed to correct or provide ample warning.

Perhaps one of the most common examples of premises liability is when a patron slips, falls, and is injured in an icy parking lot or sidewalk under the control of the store owner. Private homeowners also may face liability for accidents on their properties where they fail to maintain them in safe ways—including failure to clear icy sidewalks. As always, liability depends on the circumstances, so consult an expert to determine if you have legal options to pursue compensation.

If You Suffered an Injury in a Fall in the Baltimore Area, Contact the Personal Injury Lawyers of the Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice Jr., LLC

If you were injured in a fall on someone else’s property in the Baltimore area caused by the property owner’s failure to keep the property in a safe condition, consult a personal injury attorney to explore your options and potential compensation for your injuries. The Law Offices of G. Randolph Rice Jr., LLC, can help. Reach us at (410) 694-7291 or through our online contact form.


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