Residential injury. Residential injuries are common and include a variety of slip and fall accidents such as those occurring from weather related to snow and ice; cleaning accidents due to wet floors or falling off of ladders; damaged stairways and floors; and outdoor wooden fixtures including patio decks and swings that may have rotting wood due to sun and moisture exposure. Falls may cause injuries such as: arm, leg, wrist and hip fractures; head injuries; back and neck injuries; or dental injuries from hitting a hard surface with an open mouth. Hiring legal counsel who can evaluate the damages caused by disfiguring injuries that have a prolonged healing time and the more common quickly healing injuries is imperative. All injuries can accrue costly expenses through medical bills; rehabilitation and other related treatment modalities; loss of income; and pain and suffering. Settlement amounts depend upon all factors related to the time it takes to get to 100% recovery if that is possible.
Property insurance. If the owner of the house, where the fall and subsequent injury occurred, has a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers your injury, it may be as simple as having them file a claim, whereby all of your medical treatments and costs associated with 100% healing will be paid for under that claim. If they do not have a homeowner’s policy that addresses this, you may seek legal counsel to investigate your options to file a civil suit against them for your damages.
To move forward with a Slip and Fall Claim, you must prove certain elements are present, as part of the claim. They are:
- The injured person fell, slipped or tripped on the property named.
- The owner of the property had a duty to protect the injured visitor from harm.
- The owner was in breach of that duty because he had dangerous conditions present.
- The injured person has verifiable damages (those that can be calculated through objective and subjective means).
Damages. Financial loss and personal suffering are known as compensatory damages. There are special and general damages designed to repair the injured party back to the state they were before the injury occurred. Remedy to the loss occurs through compensation awarded by court judgments and personal injury settlements.
- Special damages include those that are easily documented and calculates such as medical expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket expenses, and personal property damage.
- General damages are subjective and open for interpretation and include pain and suffering; emotional distress; loss of enjoyment; permanent disfigurement; and gross negligence.
Statute of limitations. Maryland law has a three-year statute of limitations on personal injury claims, meaning there is a three-year window of opportunity from the date of the accident for you to file a claim to receive damages from your accident. If the homeowner filed an insurance claim, you still need to be aware of these timeframes in the event you need to recover costs and damages that the insurance settlement will not cover. If you failed to file a claim before the statute of limitations ends, you lose your right to have a court hear your case.
Shared fault. Maryland has shared fault rules and that may play a part in the insurance settlement or the award by a court. Under this rule the injured party may not be able to collect damages if they shared fault that let to the injury. This is called contributory negligence and it means that if you contribute to your own injury, you cannot expect someone else to be responsible for it. If you are even one percent at fault and it cost you large sums of money, you cannot collect any from the person who is at ninety-nine percent fault.
Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code Ann. § 5-108 also speaks to the law regarding “completion of improvement to realty” which may allow the case to include the parties who completed the deck construction. In order to know who exactly is at fault, or has been negligent in your particular case, you should consider consulting knowledgeable legal counsel who have experience in personal injury law in Maryland.
The Law Offices of Rowe, Weinstein & Sohn
1401 Rockville Pike, Suite #110
Rockville, MD 20852
Toll Free: 1-888-340-7583
Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 5-101
Md. COURTS AND JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS Code Ann. § 5-108