Can a Trespasser Sue Getting Injured on Someone’s Property?


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Imagine you are in Safeway to pick up some orange juice and waffles. Before you can get either delicious item into your basket, you slip and fall on a wet piece of floor. As a result of the slip and fall, you suffer a serious injury. Whether you can build a strong legal case against Safeway will depend on multiple factors. One of these factors will be which of the following categories you fall into: the “licensee” category, “invitee” category, or “trespasser” category.

After all, while it is generally true that, in Maryland, property owners have to keep their property relatively safe so that visitors don’t suffer avoidable injuries, the particular duty of the property owner depends on which category the injured person falls into.

In this blog post, I won’t get into what makes someone a licensee, invitee, or trespasser. Instead, I’ll focus on whether folks who fall in the trespasser category might have a case.

Can a Trespasser Sue?

Can a trespasser who trips and falls over an item errantly laying on a business’ floor hire an attorney like me to sue the business considering he was trespassing at the time of the fall?

Probably not, because a property owner does not have a duty to protect a trespasser from hazards. This contrasts with the duties owed to licensees and invitees, and bare licensees.

It is worth noting, however, that a property owner must not intentionally injure a trespasser; for example, the owner cannot use a trap to intentionally injure a trespasser.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a serious injury due to a dangerous condition on some business’s or some person’s property, you may have questions about your legal options. If you have not yet started a lawsuit and are contemplating bringing one, I encourage you to contact me today. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

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The Deadline for Filing a Slip-and-Fall Claim Against a City or Town in Maryland

If you have been seriously injured in a slip and fall in Maryland, you may feel wronged. You may especially feel wronged if you slipped and fell on public property, which your taxes went toward. You may start to wonder what legal options you have.

Many Marylanders may be surprised to learn that their legal options and the process they must follow to get justice depends, to some extent, on whether they were injured on government-owned property or not.

You may be wondering what happens if, for example, you slip and fall on a poorly maintained city-owned sidewalk in downtown Baltimore. Would you have a legal case against the city?

The good news is that, in Maryland, a city, county, or state government may, depending on the circumstances, be sued and held responsible.

However, to continue the downtown Baltimore sidewalk example, if you suffer an injury on a public sidewalk, you would have to make your legal claim pursuant to the Maryland Tort Claims Act (MTCA), and the MTCA  requires you to file your claim much sooner than someone injured on private property would have to file a comparable claim.

A claim under the MTCA must be filed within one year of the date of your injury. One year is a very short period of time. Meanwhile, someone injured on private property would have up to three years from the date of their injury to file their case.

Does the MTCA unfairly hamstring victims? Probably so.

Should victims act quickly to find an attorney if they’ve suffered serious injuries? Definitely.  

Should You Go to a Doctor After Slipping and Falling on Ice?

Most of us have slipped and fallen on ice before. I certainly have–multiple times. Before becoming a lawyer, I did not seek medical attention after slipping and falling on ice. But should you seek medical treatment after slipping and falling on ice?

For many people, slipping and falling on ice results in serious injuries that are immediately obvious. These injuries will typically lead the injured man or woman to call 9-1-1 or drive themselves immediately to a hospital emergency room.

Meanwhile, other people suffer injuries whose seriousness is not immediately obvious. They have to wrestle with the common tendency to take a wait-and-see approach. In the wait-and-see approach, we say to ourselves: “let me see if this pain heals on its own.”

We might prefer the wait-and-see approach because going to the doctor feels like an inconvenience, or because we don’t have health insurance, or because we’ve had a bad experience with doctors in the past, or for some other reasons.  

But is it wise to take the wait-and-see approach?

Sometimes someone who has slipped and fallen on ice has suffered serious injuries that just are not immediately apparent. While they may experience severe pain and they may initially wait to see if the pain goes away on its own, it may not be wise for them to take the wait-and-see approach for a long time.

Some doctors advise that it’s good to get medical attention if you’re experiencing severe pain more than 24 hours after the slip and fall. Among other things, a doctor you see can order and review an x-ray (or other imaging studies) to diagnose how serious your injury is.

From the perspective of a legal claim you might have against a business, residential property owner, or government who failed to maintain safe walking areas, it is wise to see a doctor soon after your slip and fall.

After all, getting immediate medical treatment after your fall helps you establish the relationship between the fall and your injuries. Getting immediate medical treatment (and getting follow-up care) also empowers you to show the full nature of your injuries, so that you can receive fair compensation.

Who Has to Keep Sidewalks Clear of Ice and Snow in Baltimore?

Most of us have slipped on snow or ice before. If we were lucky, we moved on with little more than soreness. But many people who slip and fall in these conditions suffer serious injuries, from broken bones to brain damage. If you have been seriously injured by slipping and falling on an icy or snowy sidewalk, you may feel wronged and wonder what legal options you have. If you were injured in Baltimore, you may be entitled to payment for your injuries.

Here, in this blog post, we’ll look at who’s responsible for keeping the sidewalks clear in Baltimore City and Baltimore County.

Baltimore City’s Rules on Snow and Ice Removal

Baltimore City rules require businesses and other property owners to remove snow and ice from their sidewalks. The purpose of the requirement is to make sidewalks safe.

According to the Baltimore City Code, businesses and other property owners whose property abuts a sidewalk must abide by the following rules on snow and ice removal:

305.8.1 Time for compliance. The snow and ice must be removed and cleared away:

1. within 6 hours after the snow has stopped falling; or

2. if the snow stopped falling between 3 p.m. and 6 a.m., before 11 a.m.

Further, the Baltimore City Code requires that the snow and ice be removed and cleared in a manner that leaves a clear path that is at least 2 feet wide.

Baltimore County’s Rules on Snow Removal

The Baltimore County Code is more lenient. It requires that businesses and other property owners remove and clear snow from the sidewalks within 24 hours of snowfall.

What Are Your Options If You Slip and Fall on a Snowy or Icy Sidewalk?

A business or other property owner that does not clear the ice and snow from their sidewalks could be held liable for any damages you incur as a result of a serious slip and fall accident on their property. If you suffered a serious injury from slipping and falling on a snowy or icy sidewalk in Baltimore, you may have a case against the business or property owner.

Maryland’s Horrendous Law Capping Damages

In a recent blog post, I wrote about the ridiculous law in Virginia that limits the amount of money medical malpractice victims may receive for their injuries. (This law caps “damages.”) But I’ll tell you a secret about the damages caps in Virginia: in some ways, they are much fairer than they are in Maryland.

To be clear, they are not fairer in medical malpractice cases. However, in other kinds of personal injury cases–car crash cases, premises liability cases, truck collision cases, elder abuse cases, and so on–the damages caps in Virginia are significantly fairer. In fact, in some ways, the damages caps in Maryland are some of the least fair in the nation.   

Could this really be true?

Could it, considering the Maryland legislature is overwhelmingly Democratic? (There are two Democrats for every one Republican in both the Senate and the House of Delegates.)

It is true.

Individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries might find it unfortunate that they were injured if they were injured because of someone else’s negligence; they may find it especially unfortunate if they were injured in Maryland.

I’ll tell you why.

Maryland caps the amount injured plaintiffs can recover for non-economic damages. Non-economic damages cover losses like the loss of the enjoyment of life, physical pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Maryland law caps recovery for non-economic damages to only $845,000. (The cap increases by $15,000 every year.)

Imagine: you’re driving a hatchback, you’re stopped in traffic, and suddenly you get hit from behind–obliterated–by a big SUV. You get medical treatment, of course. But after all the treatment you receive, a doctor tells you that you’ll have severe pain for the rest of your life and she recommends you use a wheelchair.

Activities you used to love, like running every morning and playing a round of golf with your friends on weekends, are now off limits to you. You feel like you’re a burden on your family. You’ll likely live another 40 years.

Now, consider someone gives you a check for $845,000 in exchange for the severe pain, the mental anguish, and the loss of your enjoyment of life. That check would, spread over 40 years, equal about $20,000 a year.

Who in their right mind would consider that amount to be fair?

Make no mistake about it: none of Maryland’s neighboring states limit non-economic damages in all personal injury cases–not DC, not Delaware, not Virginia, not New Jersey, not New York, not Pennsylvania. In fact, only 10 other states in the nation have such a cap on non-economic damages: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Tennessee.

Maryland is an outlier.

The Democratic legislature ought to end the caps on non-economic damages, bringing Maryland in line with the vast majority of states and all of its neighbors.

12 Surprising Statistics About Slip, Trip, Fall Accidents

No matter your age, a slip, trip, or fall accident can lead to much more than a momentary feeling of embarrassment or a bloody knee. For many people who have suffered a slip, trip, or fall accident, the consequences are significant, life-changing injuries. For some others, the accident is fatal–a truth that may be surprising.

In fact, many statistics related to slip, trip, or fall accidents may be surprising. Let’s look at twelve of these statistics.

Statistics on Medical Bills and Missed Work

  • Each year, in the U.S., over 8 million emergency room visits are due to slips, trips, and falls.
  • In 2015, the total medical costs for falls totaled more than $50 billion.
  • Falls are the primary cause of lost time at work.
  • 22 percent of falls result in more than 31 days of missed work.

Statistics on Non-Fatal Falls

  • Falls account for nearly one-third of all non-fatal injuries in the U.S.
  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
  • Over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.

Statistics on Fatal Falls

  • 697 workers died in fall-related accidents in 2016.
  • Falls are the number one cause of death for adults 65 and older.
  • Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall.
  • A fall is the sixth most likely cause of death.

If you have suffered a slip, trip, or fall accident, you may have questions or concerns about your situation. If your accident was caused by a dangerous condition on someone’s property and you have not yet started a lawsuit, call me. I can answer your legal questions and would love to talk with you. You can reach me at 410-513-9978 or by email at stefan.akorli@fintusinjuryfirm.com.

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