Belsky Weinberg & Horowitz, LLC A Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Law Firm

Slip-and-fall: Does the property owner owe you a duty?

Under Maryland law, when you go onto someone's property, you may be owed a duty to reasonably protect your safety. For instance, any hazards that could cause a slip\-and\-fall accident that the owner knows about, or should reasonably know about, must be fixed or removed. If you do suffer an injury due to a property owner's negligence or failure to correct dangerous conditions, one of the first questions that may be asked is whether a duty was owed to you.

People who go onto someone's property generally fall into one of three categories: invitee, licensee and trespasser. Depending on your status, you may be able to pursue restitution for any injuries you suffer on the property. As the name implies, invitees are those who have a business reason for being on the property such as shopping or applying for a job.  Property owners owe the highest standard of care to those who fit into this category.

Licensees enter the property for their own business purposes or for social reasons. People who fit into this category are owed a duty of safety from known dangers, but unlike invitees, property owners are not required to seek out hazards that could cause injury. The least amount of duty owed by property owners goes to trespassers. Those who are on the property without permission may not be intentionally harmed, but property owners do not have to protect them from harm.

More than likely, you fall into one of the first two categories. As either a licensee or invitee, you may be able to file a complaint seeking damages for a slip-and-fall accident. If you have any doubts about whether you may file a lawsuit and need assistance in doing so, it would be beneficial to consult with a Maryland attorney who can provide you the answers you need.

Source: FindLaw, "Property Owners' Legal Duty to Prevent Injury", Accessed on Jan. 13, 2018

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