When wintertime comes to Maine, the chances of slipping and falling increase with each snowstorm. Once ice and snow begin to accumulate, so do slippery conditions on sidewalks, doorsteps, and walkways. If you happen to slip and are hurt on someone else’s property it could mean months of recovery. If that accident happens due to property owner negligence, then you may be entitled to financial compensation for your injury. There’s no reason for you to carry the weight of medical bills, lost income, or having the quality of life put on hold. Those injured on someone else’s property should not hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer for a consultation.
In Maine, should you slip and fall on an icy walkway and break your elbow, the question will be who’s at fault. How much responsibility does the property owner bear? How much do you bear? Though it’s reasonable to conclude but for the ice—a hazardous condition—you would have never fallen and broken your elbow, you could still be held partly accountable. From the time the accident happens, whether the responsible party is a business owner, landowner, a renter, another person or you, determining who was at fault is the crux of the law in Maine.
Who’s at Fault in a Slip and Fall Accident?
This makes premises liability laws unique and distinctive in Maine from those in other states and jurisdictions. On residential properties in particular, whether the injury happened on the property of a friend, acquaintance or relative, or due to a landlord’s negligence on a rental property, there are options for getting compensation, but determining negligence and liability must be done first.
There are many types of negligence claims, but all are characterized by the failure to act to the standards that a reasonable person would. With regard to property, negligence usually relates to the condition and upkeep of the property. If you slip and fall and are hurt on someone else’s property, then you have a right to sue the landowner for damages related to the accident.
Conditions that led to the injury such as poor lighting, icy steps or a walkway, limited visibility, or potholes are all factors that can contribute to a slip and fall case.
Maine liability law offers an even-handed approach in premises liability and landowner duty of care. Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their property to protect people who enter it from unreasonable risk of harm. Owners have an obligation by law—a “duty of care”—to inspect their property, house or buildings and keep the property free of any hazards, penning up dangerous dogs, and either repair or sufficiently warn any visitors of hazardous conditions on the property beforehand. In other words, landowners need to be aware of the condition of their property at all times. Even if the landowner does not know of a hazard on the property, if a reasonable inspection of the property would have revealed a dangerous condition, then liability will be assigned to the landowner.
Proving You Were Injured on Someone Else’s Property
That said, if you are hurt on someone else’s property, to prove liability you will have to provide evidence of injury. Medical records and photographs, along with testimony from medical experts can help demonstrate how the landowner was responsible for the hazardous or dangerous condition of the property—knowingly or not—and, with regard to the former, did not address the problem in a timely fashion. To be awarded compensation for your injury, the court must decide that you are less than 50 percent at fault for your injury. The award will be proportionate to the amount of fault assessed to you.
Maine Landowner Liability and Trespassers
Another area that is unique to Maine landowner liability law is that it does not protect trespassers or those who travel across property lines, public and private, while engaged in recreational activities. Maine’s vast wilderness is traversed by hikers, campers, hunters, snowmobilers, ATV riders, trappers, skiers, fishermen, and so on year-round. If a person is injured crossing a landowner’s property in the pursuit of outdoor recreational activities or harvesting game—with or without permission—the landowner is not liable for those injuries.
The Maine slip and fall attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing are Maine’s preeminent personal injury law firm. If you are hurt on someone else’s property, visit Hardy, Wolf & Downing. The firm carries over 35 years of experience in winning substantial settlements and verdicts for victims of property owner negligence. The law firm offers free consultation and assessment of your case, and as you move forward, will provide the legal assistance necessary to ensure you are awarded the compensation you deserve for your injuries.