Sometimes, when accidents take place on another person’s land, certain liabilities arise for the landowner. These liabilities and responsibilities are known as a landowner’s “duty of care” in the realm of premises liability law. When individuals enter another person’s property under the assumption that it is safe, however, and are injured, it is crucial that they understand laws governing this area to best advocate for themselves in case of legal action.
In a recent appellate decision, the court had to consider a landowner’s potential liability in a motorcycle accident lawsuit. In the case in question, a car collided with a motorcycle, resulting in catastrophic injuries. After the accident, a deputy observed tall grass near the intersection where the accident took place that would have limited or prohibited a view of the motorcyclist while traveling. The grass was growing in a ditch on the defendant company’s property.
The motorcyclist’s wife sued the defendant company, citing negligence for “allowing grass to grow so high on their property that it blocked the view of the roadway.” The defendant moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted. The court of appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision, with the majority holding that because the grass was wholly contained on the defendant’s property, there was no duty to the traveling public.
At the supreme court, the court had to consider whether, under the circumstances, the defendant owed a duty to nearby motorists. The defendant argued that it owed no duty to passing motorists because the tall grass was confined to its property. The court agreed, holding that precedent allowed them to adopt a bright-line rule: “when visual obstructions are wholly confined to the land, a landowner owes no duty to the motoring public.”
In Maryland, premises liability law and the level of care a landowner owes you depends on the reason you were on their property in the first place. Maryland recognizes four types of visitors: invitees, social guests, bare licensees, and trespassers.
What Are Invitees Under Maryland Premises Liability Law?
Invitees are individuals who are invited to another person’s property for business purposes and are owed the highest duty of care by the landowner. For invitees, property owners are expected to use reasonable and ordinary care to maintain safe conditions on the land. Landowners will be expected to repair or address dangers that caused the hazards to take place. Examples of landowners who see invitees regularly include restaurants, grocery stores, or other businesses.
In addition, landowners must take the necessary precautions to ensure that the foliage on their property does not obscure the view of passing motorists.
Do You Need a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or someone you know was recently injured or killed in a Maryland motorcycle accident, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen today. Our lawyers have represented all kinds of clients in similar personal injury claims and will work to get you the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation today, contact us at 800-654-1949. Calling is free, and we will not ill you for our legal services unless we can recover compensation on your behalf.