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Premises liability and how it works

| Jan 25, 2021 | Personal Injury |

Getting injured on property in Maryland usually happens as a result of negligence. This could include anything from falling downstairs to slipping on a piece of trash. However, not all slip-and-fall cases occur from negligence nor warrant a lawsuit.

Premises law basics

Premises law makes property owners responsible for keeping their property free from hazards. This law applies to almost any type of structure with a potential for hazards such as swimming pools, construction sites, parks, playgrounds, public businesses and government buildings.

Property owners have to maintain a reasonable safety standard. For example, proper lighting in open parking lots helps protect consumers from falls when it gets dark or visibility runs low.

What a plaintiff needs to prove

Every state sets its own laws regarding premises liability, but some general factors commonly determine if an injured party can bring a case against the owner. The defendant has to own or lease the property, and they must have acted negligently by not removing a known hazard. In addition, it must be proven that this neglect caused injury.

However, there could be some exceptions. The hazard has to be known to the defendant in a reasonable time. For example, a property owner may not know that a strong wind caused a portion of the roof to fall overnight and make someone trip. But if snow accumulated on the roof and melted to cause a slippery hazard and the owner had reasonable time to remove it, they could be liable.

The law also expects a visitor to be reasonably cautious and responsible for their own safety. Some states have what is known a comparative fault. It means the plaintiff has to share a portion of the fault with the defendant, and compensation is based on that percentage.

Getting legal help

Premises liability cases can be complex since plaintiffs need strong proof. If an injured part thinks that neglect caused their injury, a lawyer may be able to help them prove the negligence.