Overview of Premises Liability Claims in Maryland
Premises liability is a type of personal injury claim that occurs between a property owner and an injured victim. In larger terms, Maryland law requires property owners to keep their properties in a generally safe condition. If the property is dangerous and a visitor gets hurt, then the owner may face a premises liability claim.
Elements of a Premises Liability Claim
In order to pursue a premises liability claim, the visitor must show that the property owner was negligent. Specifically, the visitor must demonstrate the following elements:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to the visitor;
- The property owner breached their duty of care to the visitor;
- The breach of that duty led to an accident and the visitor’s injury; and
- The accident was the proximate cause of the visitor’s injury.
The fourth element above is crucial in any premises liability claim. The injuries must be a direct result of the accident. If there were other factors that contributed to the accident, the property owner may be able to escape liability.
Proving a Premises Liability Claim
In addition to the negligence elements outlined previously, the visitor must be able to show that the property owner had notice. Stated otherwise, the owner must be aware of a dangerous condition on their property. Otherwise, premises liability may not apply to the accident in question.
In specific terms, the visitor must prove that:
- The property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition;
- The visitor was not likely to notice or discover the dangerous condition; and
- The property owner failed to issue a warning or correct the dangerous condition.
The third prong above is absolutely critical. When there is a dangerous condition on a property, the owner must do one of two things. The property owner must warn visitors about the dangerous condition. Or the property owner must remedy the dangerous condition. Failing to warn or remedy is generally considered a breach of the duty of care.
Defenses to a Premises Liability Claim
There are several defenses to a premises liability claim under Maryland law. If the property owner can prove contributory negligence or assumption of the risk, then the victim is not able to prevail in a premises liability claim.
- Contributory Negligence — This legal doctrine applies when the victim failed to protect themselves or helped cause the accident. If the victim breached their duty to preserve their own safety, then they may be contributorily negligent.
- Assumption of the Risk — This legal doctrine applies when the victim knew about a dangerous condition and voluntarily proceeded anyway. If the victim acted in a careless or reckless way, then they may have assumed the risk of their actions.
Contact Us Today for Help
If you have legal questions about premises liability, it can be incredibly worthwhile to speak with a trustworthy personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have a wealth of combined legal experience in personal injury law, including premises liability. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.