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Proving liability in a Maryland slip and fall accident

The holiday season is a time of year when residents in Maryland and elsewhere travel. Whether they are shopping, going out or visiting a friend, an individual will often encounter icy sidewalks during the winter months. While these areas are frequently salted to avoid falls from the icy surface, if a property owner fails to take the necessary steps to ensure safety, a serious slip and fall accident could occur. This could lead to serious injuries and premises liability issues.

How can a slip and fall victim prove liability in the incident? First, a dangerous condition must be present and be an unreasonable risk to an individual. Furthermore, it must also be a condition that the injured could not avoid. In order to establish that a property owner had knowledge of this dangerous condition, three factors must have occurred and must be proven.

First, the owner must have created the dangerous condition. In the case of an icy sidewalk, the property owner must be responsible for salting the sidewalks and did not salt them in the case of the slip and fall accident.

Second, the owner must have known that the condition existed and failed to correct it. Depending on the situation, different factors could prove this. Other patrons that noticed the ice could have put the owner on notice, the owner could have seen neighbors salting the sidewalks or there could have been weather advisories about ice warnings at the time of the incident.

Lastly, the condition should have existed for a length time that the owner should have discovered the danger and corrected it before any incidents occurred. Different facts could be used to prove this in the case of an icy sidewalk, but most likely the time of day would help fulfill this requirement.

A slip and fall accident could result in serious injuries and could impact the health and life of a fall victim. In these matters, it is important to establish liability so a victim understands their options such as filing a claim to recover compensation for their injuries and damages.

Source: WESH, "Proving fault in slip and fall cases," Dec. 15, 2014

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