If I Get Hurt On Someone's Property, Is Their Insurance Responsible for Any Injury?
A landowner is responsible for ensuring his or her property is safe. The law does not decree that a property owner is automatically responsible for all happenings on the property. Upon a showing a fault - in this instance allowing an unsafe condition to exits- a property owner may be held accountable. But a property owner is not strictly, or automatically, liable to anyone who sustains an injury. The common language that you see in judicial opinions denying recovery to an injury victim is the that landowner is not "the insurer" of users of the property. Liability is not automatic. It must be proven that there was a deviation from the standard of care for landowners.
The obligation is often phrased as a duty to keep the property free of dangerous or defective conditions of which the landowner knew, or of which they should have known.
Typically, people in, or going to, commercial establishments are considered invitees. So, the law would seem to suggest that the business premises and should be safe and free from ice and snow, and that if the standard is safety from dangerous conditions, like ice, of which the owner ‘should have been aware’ then were would seem to be a duty to inspect to make sure there are no such conditions. Any seasoned personal injury lawyer who handles slip and fall cases will tell you that can be a hard argument to win. The business owner will frequently claim they had no actual notice of the icy condition, and therefore had no opportunity to cure it, an argument that is successful in a surprising number of cases. Maryland premises liability cases are challenging. Because of the hurdles involved, some lawyers choose not to handle these types of cases.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 6/26/20.