Friday, May 6, 2011
HOW MUCH CAN I COLLECT IN A PERSONAL INJURY CASE? I slipped on the ice. Can I sue? Does it matter if it was "black ice"?
As discussed in other chapters, Maryland employs the archaic doctrine of "contributory negligence" which bars any financial recovery to an injury victim if they bear even the slightest responsibility for contributing to their injury. Baltimorepersonal injury lawyers often see a similar, related defense, employed by insurance companies-that of "assumption of the risk". "In Maryland, it is well settled that in order to establish the defense of assumption of risk, the defendant must show that the plaintiff: (1) had knowledge of the risk of the danger; (2) appreciated that risk: and (3) voluntarily confronted the risk of danger." Allen v. Marriott, 961 A.2d 1141, 183 Md. App. 460 (Md. App., 2008). When dealing with falls in an parking lot walkway, or sidewalk, in many instances "[t]he risk is that of slipping on ice. The required knowledge is not knowledge that ice is actually present. It is the appreciation of the reasonable likelihood that, under the weather conditions and other circumstances, ice might well be present. The assumed risk is not that of stepping on ice per se. The assumed risk is that of stepping onto an unknown surface with an awareness that it might well be icy. With white ice, you see it is there. With black ice, you infer the likelihood that it may be there." Id. So, the question is not whether ice was present, but, rather, in light of the weather conditions, history, and other circumstances, ice might be present. "Either establishes the element of awareness." Id. A Baltimorepersonal injury lawyer knows if the plaintiff is aware of the danger, there is no recovery.