Rotten Banana Peel Leads to $230k Jury Award in Maryland
Almost five years after slipping on a rotten banana peel in a store parking lot, a Maryland woman was awarded approximately $230,000 in her premises liability case, reported the Daily Record.
This slip and fall incident occurred in December 2013 at a convenience store in Lexington Park, Maryland. The woman was leaving the store when she slipped on a banana peel in the parking lot. Then the woman fell and broke her kneecap.
The woman stated that the banana peel was black and rotten, indicating that it had been in the parking lot for a long time. Furthermore, she alleged serious physical harm that resulted in permanent injury and reduced earning capacity. Combining those two factors, the woman decided to pursue a premises liability claim against the property owner.
In November 2016, the woman filed a lawsuit in St. Mary’s County Circuit Court alleging negligence and premises liability. In May 2017, the property owner filed an answer. Then the two sides went back and forth in court for nearly a full year.
The case did not progress to trial until April 2018. Over the course of two days, the jury heard arguments and evidence from both sides. After attorneys for the woman and property owner presented their closing statements, the jury began the deliberation process.
On one level, the jury considered whether the property owner breached their duty of care. If the property owner knew — or had a reason to know — about the banana peel, then there is a duty to correct the issue or post a warning.
On another level, the jury considered whether the woman was responsible in any way for her slip and fall. This is an important consideration in Maryland, where the doctrine of contributory negligence remains the law of the land.
Contributory negligence prevents an injured plaintiff from recovering damages if they were at fault whatsoever for their injury. This is a strict standard. Even if the defendant is 99 percent at fault, the remaining 1 percent can prevent the injured plaintiff from recovering damages.
After deliberating for two hours, the jury determined that the woman was not contributorily negligent. Additionally, the property owner breached their duty of care. The banana peel was a hazard to visitor safety which remained for enough time to become rotten. The property owner should have removed the hazard or warned visitors of the potential danger.
As a result of the jury verdict, the woman received an award of $229,651.60. That amount included $29,651.60 for medical fees and $200,000 for noneconomic damages. Unless there is an appeal, St. Mary’s County Circuit case number 18-C-16-001609 is officially closed.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you suffered an injury from a slip and fall in Maryland, it can be exceptionally constructive sit down with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have validated experience in the domain of personal injury law, including slip and fall cases. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.