Warehouse stores generally offer shoppers a variety of goods at low prices, and many Maryland residents shop in such stores on a regular basis. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for certain areas of stores to fall into disarray, creating hazards that can lead to falls. While stores can be held accountable for harm suffered by their customers in certain situations, they generally will not be deemed liable unless they knew or should have known of a dangerous condition before the harmful incident. This was illustrated in a recent Maryland ruling in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s negligence claim against a warehouse store because the plaintiff failed to prove notice. If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, you may be owed damages, and you should speak to a Maryland premises liability lawyer about your potential claims.
The Plaintiff’s Fall
It is alleged that the plaintiff was shopping at a warehouse store owned by the defendant with her husband when she slipped and fell while walking between two circular racks of clothing. The store manager arrived at the scene shortly after the incident and saw an empty hanger lying on the floor and several hangers on the floor under the rack. The plaintiff did not see the hanger before her fall.
It is reported that the plaintiff filed a lawsuit against the defendant, alleging that its negligence led to her harm. After discovery was complete, the defendant moved for summary judgment. The court found that the plaintiff failed to establish notice as required under Maryland law and ruled in favor of the defendant.
Establishing Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident
In Maryland, a store owner owes an obligation to its customers to exercise ordinary care to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This includes, among other things, the duty to warn invitees of hidden dangers. It also includes the responsibility to inspect and take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable harm.
The court noted, though, that store owners are not insurers of the safety of their customers, and they will not be presumed to be negligent merely because an accident occurs on their premises. As such, if a customer suffers an injury, they bear the burden of showing that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the harmful condition that caused their fall. Here, the record was devoid of evidence that the defendant knew the hanger that caused the plaintiff’s fall was on the floor or had been there for any length of time. Thus, the court granted the defendant’s motion.
Confer with a Trusted Maryland Premises Liability Attorney
Slip and fall accidents can cause significant and lasting harm, and many people hurt in such incidents can recover damages. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, it is in your best interest to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. The trusted Maryland attorneys of Foran & Foran, P.A. can advise you of your rights and help you seek the total amount of damages recoverable under the law. Our office is located in Greenbelt, and we regularly represent people in cases arising out of slip and fall accidents in cities in Prince George’s County and Montgomery County. You can reach us by using our form online or calling us at (301) 441-2022 to set up a confidential and free meeting.