Maryland Property Owners’ Premises Liability

A property owner in Maryland could be held legally liable for injuries sustained on their property depending on certain factors. A Maryland premises liability lawyer can analyze the facts and determine whether you have a case.

Property owners have certain obligations when inviting someone onto their property. The property owner’s duty depends upon the intended use of the property and who is being invited to the property. For example, a store or a hotel has an obligation to inspect the premises regularly and to correct dangerous conditions or warn guests about them. A homeowner has a duty to protect guests from dangerous conditions he or she is aware of or should know about.

Activities on Property and Injuries

Property owners have a duty to ensure that their property conditions are safe, but it is not possible to eliminate every potential risk. This is especially true if a customer or a guest is doing something dangerous.

A determination of whether the property owner is responsible for injuries during potentially dangerous activities must be made on a case-by-case basis.

  • The property owner is usually not held responsible if the activity is so dangerous that the victim has assumed the risk of his/her injuries.
  • A property owner will specifically try to disclaim liability for injuries. For example, a pool may post a sign that says, “Swim at Your Own Risk,” or a person participating in a horseback ride or rock-climbing event could be asked to sign a waiver of liability. The property owner could be held responsible, despite the waiver of the risk.
  • The victim’s negligence could play a role in causing the injury. Because Maryland is a contributory negligence state, this can make it difficult or impossible for a victim to recover compensation for injuries.

Assumption of the Risk

Someone who engages in a dangerous activity or who signs a waiver of liability gives up the right to sue for injuries that are a likely result of the activity. However, even an express waiver of responsibility does not absolve a Maryland property owner of all liability.

Waivers of liability that are overly broad or that attempt to deny any and all responsibility for harm usually will not be enforced by a court. This means that a victim can sue even after signing a paper saying he/she wouldn’t. When an assumption-of-the-risk defense is used by a property owner or the operator of a dangerous activity, it is essential to speak with a Maryland premises liability lawyer about whether you have the right to make an injury claim.

Contributory Negligence Rules and Injuries on Property

In most states, comparative fault rules allow an injured victim to recover partial compensation even if the victim’s own negligence played a small role in causing the injury. Maryland is one of the few states in the U.S. that follows a contributory negligence rule and prevents a plaintiff from recovering damages if he/she was even one percent responsible for his/her own injury.

This means that if you engaged in an activity on someone’s property and were negligent in any way that led to your injury, you could be barred from recovery.

Getting Help After an Injury

If you get hurt while on someone else’s property, it is essential you have an understanding of your rights. An experienced Maryland premises liability lawyer should be consulted to help you pursue a claim for compensation for losses including medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, emotional distress, or the wrongful death of a loved one. Call today to speak with our legal team and learn how we can help with your case.