Premises Liability

Premises Liability


Injured on someone else’s property?

Falls, dog attacks and other injuries occurring on someone else’s property usually require one to navigate through several difficult legal issues.

What to Expect

If you have been injured on someone else’s property your  actions leading up to the injury will be scrutinized.

Attorney George Patterson handles premises liability claims throughout Maryland. Premises liability claims cover everything from falls on ice to dog attacks to inadequate security. As a general rule premises liability cases are more difficult to establish than most personal injury cases.

Each area of premises liability claims requires an understanding of the applicable statutes, regulations, rules and case law. George Patterson and Maria Patterson have litigated dozens of premises liability cases and are well versed in the applicable Maryland cases, codes, statutes and regulations that govern liability in these cases. For example, single step fall cases require knowledge about Maryland cases covering contributory negligence and model building codes that govern the design and construction of single steps. Dog attack cases require a firm understanding of local, county and state laws governing dogs such as leash laws. Falls in stores require an understanding of industry practices such as the maintenance of sweep logs.

We walk thousands of miles during our lives across floors, steps, ramps and stairs that comply with building codes. Floors, steps, stairs and ramps that violate building codes are not noticeable to the untrained eye and that is why many victims of these violations struggle to understand why they fell.

I am hurt! Who is Responsible?

Every premises claim is based on complicated rules and responsibilities

Who is responsible is often a difficult legal question. Maryland imposes responsibilities on most people to take actions and evaluate circumstances to protect themselves from injury. Every property owner has a different level of responsibility to you depending on whether they invited you on the property for business purposes as opposed to social purposes. A property owner’s responsibility is different if they permitted you on their property for you to accomplish your own purpose, such as moving a table across their property to use at a neighborhood bake sale. You may be surprised to find out that a property owner has some limited responsibilities to people that have trespassed on their property.

The level of responsibility that you have for your own safety on someone else’s property is often altered by your age, your familiarity with property and any special training or skills that you may possess. If this section sounds confusing, it is. The property where you sustained the injury may have been dangerous but navigating Maryland premises liability law without legal help is like walking through an obstacle course blindfolded.

It is a rare experience to find someone who provides a service that is outstanding, prompt, honest, and performed so that whatever your questions, they will be answered fully and clearly. This is something that I prize when I am seeking the help of a carpenter, an electrician, a plumber, a doctor, and, most certainly, an attorney.

I am no longer a young man, so I have had the benefit of several decades of interviewing professionals. My past employment has helped me in judging who will perform—or not—as advertised. As a reporter for several news organizations and as an auditor for a federal agency, I was expected to determine relevant facts and the reliability of the sources of that information. In short, what a careful client seeks.

These are the things that were in my mind, when I interviewed George Patterson to see if I would feel comfortable with him advocating for me in a personal injury lawsuit. From first meeting until the case was decided, I found him to be a careful listener, thoughtful, and someone who always made sure that I understood what he was proposing and why.

At no time, did I feel in the dark about anything that George suggested we do. If an outcome was not certain, he emphasized that. If a proposed cost might run higher in certain situations, he made sure that I had thought about this and was comfortable going ahead anyway.

Also, and this one sentence deserves its own paragraph: When George explained to me the amount of compensation that he was pretty sure I was entitled to, and I agreed, he held that line.

Finally, it is time to offer the information you must be seeking if you read this message. Was I satisfied with what this lawyer did for me? For the injury that I suffered, he won a settlement that was significantly larger than I had hoped for. So, YES.

Bottom line: if you seek an attorney of integrity, competence, and a determination not only to champion your cause but to have you understand what is going on all the way, I recommend George Patterson.

Edward S.

A premises liability client.

What can I do to improve my chances of obtaining a recovery?

People often need help to understand why they were hurt

Let’s face it. If people knew something was dangerous they most likely would not be hurt by that danger. Life is full of hidden dangers. The following are real examples of people that were injured and they needed help to find the reason why.

An Unsafe Supermarket Display Case

A customer walks up to a display case at a deli counter to ask an employee where a certain food was kept. He turned to walk away and fell to the ground. There was nothing holding onto his shoe and there was nothing on the floor.

An investigation determined that a section of trim was cut off of the underside of the cabinet above a kick plate by a repair person. This left a sharp piece of plastic angled away from customers that would hook a customer’s shoe as they turned to walk away.

Failure to properly repair a handicapped parking sign

A customer loading groceries in a handicapped parking space falls to the ground and breaks her ankle. Photographs showed a small hole but the area was repaved before she hired attorney George Patterson.

An investigation showed that the small hole was left by a handicapped parking space sign that was attached to a metal post buried in the hole. A closer examination of the photograph revealed that a portion of the metal post was sticking up an inch from the bottom of the small hole. This created a major tripping hazard that violated numerous codes and was very difficult to see.

A step with nearly a one-inch beveled edge

A customer parked her car in a parking garage. She walked toward a staircase that was surrounded by a raised concrete platform. As she stepped on the platform she fell breaking her forearm in two places.

An engineer hired by attorney George Patterson examined the platform and found two serious safety hazards that would have been unnoticeable to most people. The first is that the concrete step was 9 ½ inches tall. Steps are supposed to be no more than 7 inches tall. Thousands and thousands of times we raise are feet to clear 7 inch steps. The other hazard was that the concrete platform had a beveled edge that was nearly an inch tall. Beveled edges by code should be limited to a quarter of an inch. The beveled edge created an optical illusion such that the last inch of height visually looked the same as the top of the platform as opposed to the perpendicular sides of the platform that were a darker color. The customer did not have the visual cues to raise her foot to the proper height causing her to fall forward and break her am.

A customer badly injured by a playful dog

A customer was purchasing a shed at an outdoor facility. She had recently undergone a neck fusion. The owner of the facility knew her condition and let his dog off the leash. The dog ran around a shed and knocked the customer’s legs out from under her and she fell on top of her head and lost consciousness.

Maryland law holds an owner strictly liable for conduct of their dog that the owner knew was dangerous and that the dog had a propensity to do. This dog had a propensity to run at full speed and do laps around the shed. This propensity of the dog was clearly dangerous to a customer with a neck fusion.

When a person that has successfully walked thousands of miles over their lifetime falls I assume they fell for a reason.

George Patterson, Lawyer

what to do

Our Successes

Patterson Law takes pride with every client that recovers. Recovery is more than the settlements and verdicts obtained for our clients. Each and every one of these clients had been shepherded through a process where powerful insurance companies fought to defeat or minimize their claims. Each result represents a client’s dignity being affirmed.

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Membership to the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to lawyers that were lead counsel in a matter that resulted in a verdict or settlement of two million dollars or more.

The Bowie premises liability lawyers at Patterson Law serve clients in Prince George's, Montgomery, Calvert, Charles, St. Mary's, Howard, Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's and Baltimore Counties. Our clients are from Silver Spring, Upper Marlboro, Bowie, Forestville, Prince Frederick, Leonardtown, Annapolis, Edgewater, Rockville, Mayo, Bethesda, Germantown, Olney, Beltsville, Deale, Bethesda, Severna Park, Largo, Landover, Oxon HIll, La Plata, Waldorf, Crofton, Columbia and Riverdale.

Get Started Today

If you have been injured by a dog, a fall or due to inadequate security please contact the lawyers George Patterson or Maria Patterson for a free consultation.

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