If you are injured on someone else’s property, premises liability law would dictate your ability to seek damages from the property owner. Here, the personal injury attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill explain Maryland’s premises liability law.
Premises Liability Law is Based on Negligence
As with any category of personal injury law, premises liability law is founded on the concept of negligence. In a premises liability case, negligence would be defined as a property owner’s failure to use reasonable care in connection with their property. If a property owner has a duty to an individual who is on their property to provide a reasonably safe premise, and if the property owner fails to do so, they may be considered negligent and at fault if an injury occurs. It is important to note, however, that other factors are considered in any premises liability case.
People Who Enter a Property are Divided into Categories, and These Categories Impact Premise Liability
A property owner has a responsibility to maintain a reasonably safe and maintained property, however, this responsibility differs for different types of people. In Maryland, individuals who enter another person’s property are divided into three categories: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees are those who were expressly provided permission to enter a person’s property—invitees usually include friends, family and neighbors. A property owner is expected to maintain a reasonably safe property for invitees.
Licensees are those who would be reasonably expected to enter a property, such as maintenance workers or salesmen. A property owner is expected to warn a licensee of a potential safety hazard if the property owner knows about the issue, and the licensee would be unlikely to discover it on their own. A trespasser is any individual who is not authorized to be on the property, although children who have trespassed on a property are sometimes treated differently, depending on other factors of the case. Typically, a landowner owes no duty to a trespasser to ensure they avoid harm. These categories can become complicated, however, and it is important to discuss the facts of your unique case with a qualified premises liability attorney.
Premise Liability Cases Can Involve Many Types of Accidents
Premise liability cases can involve many different types of accidents, but some of the most common include slip-and-fall, inadequate building security or swimming pool accidents.
Slip-and-fall is the most common type of premise liability claim, and can be caused by icy walkways, slippery floors, defective stairs, unsecured rugs and carpets or hidden extension cords. Slip-and-fall cases are often the most straightforward premise liability cases, as the reason for an individual’s accident is usually quite apparent.
Inadequate Building Security
These types of premise liability cases are more common in office spaces and apartment buildings. Property owners have a duty to their tenants to maintain a reasonably safe premise, although tenants also have a responsibility to follow building guidelines, such as locking doors and windows. If, however, an individual is able to enter a building and harms a tenant, and the property owner could have reasonably prevented this crime from occurring, the property owner may be held liable.
Swimming Pool Accidents
These accidents often involve small children who drown or are otherwise injured in an unsecured, unsupervised pool. Generally speaking, Maryland residents are required to construct a fence around an in-ground pool that is deeper than 24 inches at any point. If a property owner fails to maintain a reasonably safe and secured pool, they may be culpable for any injuries that arise because of it.
Speak to a Premise Liability Attorney to Learn More About Your Rights
If you have been injured on another’s property, they may be responsible for the injuries you sustained, however, each premise liability case is different, and it is important to discuss the facts of your case with an experienced attorney. The premise liability and personal injury attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill are dedicated to helping victims fight for their rights in court. If you or a loved one has suffered injury on another person’s property, and you believe the property owner has shown negligence, contact the attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill immediately for a free consultation.