Property owners and property managers have a responsibility to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition so that visitors on the premises do not suffer preventable injuries. If you or someone close to you has been injured on someone else’s property, it is important to reach out to a Maryland premises liability lawyer without delay. At Burgos & Burgos, we can vigorously advocate on your behalf at every step of the way. We have helped people hurt on the property of others in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, as well as in the District of Columbia, and we can assist you in preserving your rights as well. Everyone on our staff can communicate fluently in Spanish according to the preferences of our clients. We also help victims of car crashes and other serious accidents take legal action.Pursuing a Premises Liability Claim
Premises liability law governs situations when a property owner and property manager can be held responsible for an accident caused by a dangerous condition on the property. Slip and fall accidents are the most common example. Other situations include:
- Elevator accidents
- Escalator accidents
- Uneven pavement accidents
- Stairway accidents
- Restaurant accidents
- Hotel accidents
- Retail store accidents
- Amusement park accidents
Premises liability is based on general principles of negligence, meaning that a premises liability attorney in Maryland must be able to show that the property owner responsible for maintaining the property failed to take reasonable steps to address the danger. The rules governing premises liability differ from state to state. In Maryland, the duty that a property owner owes to a visitor depends on that visitor’s status. Under the law, a visitor can be an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
An invitee is someone who is invited to enter onto the property, typically to purchase goods or services. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care. In fact, property owners are required to use reasonable and ordinary care to keep the property safe for invitees and to protect invitees from injury caused by an unreasonable risk that the invitee, by exercising ordinary care for the invitee’s own safety will not discover.. By contrast, a licensee by invitation refers to someone who enters the property for social purposes, such as a dinner guest at a suburban home. A property owner must warn licensees by invitation of any dangerous conditions of which the owner knows that the guest cannot reasonably discover, but the owner does not necessarily have the obligation to regularly inspect the property to find out about hazardous conditions that might not be apparent. A bare licensee is one who enters upon property, not as a social guest, but for his or her own convenience or purpose and with the landowner's consent. No duty is owed to a bare licensee except that he or she may not be wantonly or willfully injured or entrapped, nor may the occupier of land create new and undisclosed sources of danger without warning the licensee. Under some circumstances, the landowner may be liable to a bare licensee for a dangerous condition known to the landowner.
Finally, a trespasser is someone who intentionally enters the land without privilege or without the property owner’s consent. Since a trespasser does not have permission to be on the property, the owner’s obligation to the trespasser is the lowest obligation of all of the categories. The property owner does not owe a duty to a trespasser, except to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring or entrapping the trespasser.
There are exceptions to these general principles of negligence such as when statutes in Maryland create duties that property owners must meet in order to protect a class of people. It is possible that trespassers may recover against a property owner for breaches of a statutory duty. For example, if a swimming pool manager fails to comply with a Maryland statute that is designed to protect the public by limiting the size of openings in pool barriers, and a child drowns after sneaking through the barrier, it is possible that this violation of the statute may amount to prima facie evidence of negligence.
Furthermore, slip and falls or other accidents on property can lead to serious injuries that can be extremely costly to treat. In severe cases, the injuries resulting from the accident could require lifelong care. A Maryland premises liability attorney can help a plaintiff seek a variety of economic and non-economic damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, property damage, and lost income and earning capacity.
Under Maryland law, as in every other state, your premises liability claim must be filed within the appropriate time frame, known as the statute of limitations. Victims in Maryland have three years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit in civil court. Failing to file within this time frame could mean losing your right to compensation altogether.Protect Your Rights by Retaining a Premises Liability Lawyer in Maryland
If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, we can help. At Burgos & Burgos, our attorneys understand the nuances of this area of personal injury law and can apply our knowledge to your case. You can trust that we are committed to holding negligent property owners accountable for the harm that they cause. We are here to answer your questions and help you understand and advance your rights. We proudly serve victims throughout Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, including in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton-Glenmont, and Hyattsville. To discuss your accident with a personal injury or wrongful death lawyer, you can call us at (301) 681-1111 or contact us online.