In Maryland, a property owner has a duty to keep the premises safe for invitees. The owner may be liable for injuries that occur on their property if they knew or should have known of the danger, and they failed to warn or correct it. In a February 13, 2020 personal injury case, the issue before the court was whether the defendants had actual or constructive notice of an alleged dangerous condition on their parking lot. The plaintiff appealed the matter to the Court of Special Appeals when her Maryland slip and fall case was dismissed on summary judgment.
The plaintiff in the case was walking through the parking lot of her subdivision one evening when she slipped on black ice and fell. As a result of the accident, she suffered a permanent traumatic brain injury. The plaintiff filed a personal injury suit against her homeowner’s association and property manager, claiming that they negligently failed to maintain the parking lot, which resulted in her injury. The lower court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, concluding that they did not have notice of the icy condition that caused the plaintiff’s fall.
In Maryland, a landowner has a duty to use reasonable and ordinary care to keep the premises safe for invitees and protect them from injury caused by an unreasonable risk which the invitee would not discover. The plaintiff in the case owned a home in the subdivision, but the common areas and parking lot of the subdivision were under the control of the defendants. Accordingly, the appeals court held that the plaintiff was an invitee while she was on the parking lot, and the defendants owed her a corresponding duty of care to keep the parking lot safe. In order to establish a premises liability claim, however, the plaintiff must show that the defendants knew, or had reason to know of the hazardous condition on the property.
The appeals court reviewed the evidence of record and the testimony of the plaintiff. The court noted that just two or three hours before the accident that night, the plaintiff had walked from her car to her home after work without issue. Further, the plaintiff testified that she had not noticed any snow or ice in the parking lot at that time. The court concluded that there was no evidence in the record to suggest that the defendants had actual or constructive knowledge of the ice or any other hazard within the two to three hour window before the plaintiff’s fall. Without notice of the danger, the defendants could not be held liable for the plaintiff’s injury. Accordingly, the appeals court affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants.
At Foran & Foran, P.A., we are committed to helping negligence victims seek the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Our Maryland premises liability attorneys can provide trustworthy advice to people who have been hurt as a result of motor vehicle collisions, slip and fall accidents, medical negligence, and many other personal injury accidents. Schedule an appointment to discuss your case with one of our dedicated lawyers by calling Foran & Foran, P.A. at (301) 441-2022 or contacting us online.