Bethesda Slip and Fall Attorney

All Bethesda businesses, homeowners, and apartment dwellers have a duty to maintain their premises in as safe a manner as possible to help minimize visitors’ injuries. Yet, no matter how hard everyone tries to comply with appropriate safety standards, people still slip and fall every day. When this happens, the injured are often entitled to file a lawsuit to recover damages for the harm they’ve suffered. A Bethesda slip and fall lawyer can explain how such a personal injury claim is filed and what one can expect from litigation.

Slip and Fall Liability

Your ability to recover damages after being injured on someone else’s property is often partially determined by whether or not you were an invited guest or licensee, or if you were there without permission as a trespasser.  However, landowners (or those in control of property) still have a duty to provide a reasonable degree of safety when they have good reason to believe that people may trespass on their property.

A landowner often knows that people are likely to trespass on property when crossing it offers a shortcut to a common or popular destination. Under such situations, state statutes often require landowners to post adequate warnings to potential trespassers if certain dangerous conditions are maintained on the property, especially those likely to cause injury or death.  (Maryland laws regarding trespassers are set forth in the Criminal Law Code, Title 6: Crimes Against Property, Subtitle 4: Trespass.)

The law often views both invitees and licensees (desired or invited guests) most favorably when they’re injured in slip-and-fall accidents. A common example involves the shopper who slips and falls on a slippery substance while visiting a local grocery store.

Property Owner’s Negligence in Bethesda

When a property owner (or a subcontracting maintenance group charged with maintaining the property) fails to keep the premises reasonably safe at all times, injured parties can usually sue all parties in direct or indirect control of the property for their injuries. For example, if you live in an apartment complex and there’s a deep hole in a grassy area frequented by tenants and their pets – or those just out for a walk, both the property owner and any company hired to maintain the property for the owner can both be sued for negligence.

As your Bethesda slip and fall lawyer will tell you, this type of negligence is frequently described as carelessly or recklessly disregarding the safety of others by failing to regularly inspect and repair all undisclosed dangers on the property.  Yard workers who regularly cut the lawn and perform maintenance have a duty to report any dangers they come across so their superiors can quickly repair the problem area and prevent accidents.  Special duties may apply regarding children who may suffer injuries.

Defenses Against Premises Liability Negligence

You will need to discuss all of the specific facts of your case with your Bethesda slip and fall lawyer so he or she can determine whether you have contributed in any way to the circumstances that caused your injury. Unfortunately, Maryland is one of the four states (along with the District of Columbia) that still recognize “The Pure Contributory Negligence Rule.”

This rule states that an injured party cannot recover any damages if the person was even “one percent at fault” for the injury sustained.

Other Key Facts Courts Carefully Review in Premises Liability Cases

  • The foreseeability of the injury that was reported by the plaintiff
  • How the property was being used in the specific area where the person was injured
  • The types of warnings, if any, that were appropriately posted to protect those who might enter the area where injuries might occur
  • Whether any measures were taken to prevent those most likely to suffer injuries from accessing the property
  • Whether an “attractive nuisance” like a swimming pool or hot tub was involved
  • Is there any proof that the property owner or land maintenance company knew (or had reason to know) of the dangerous condition on the property — yet had simply not managed to address or repair it?

In addition to many slip and fall injuries occurring in grocery stores, many of our Bethesda personal injury clients suffer harm when walking across poorly maintained parking lots, in bars and restaurants, in movie theaters and other popular public venues,  especially in places like sports stadiums where food and beverages are served.

In some cases, our premises liability clients suffer harm in buildings and places that were very poorly designed. In those instances, we may choose to also file suit against the negligent architects and builders, in addition to the property owners and subcontracting property maintenance company.