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Are business owners liable when you get hurt on their property?

Maryland business owners may or may not be responsible for injuries you sustained while on their property. Say you fell on an icy sidewalk just before entering the building, or perhaps you slipped on a puddle of water forming beside a leaky fountain. How do you know if the business owner is responsible for your medical bills?

There is no definitive answer to this question because every case is unique, but FindLaw experts provide perspective on premises liability. They say the courts consider the actions of both the business owner and the customer when deciding slip-and-fall cases. The questions asked are whether the owner did everything possible to prevent an accident and whether you, the customer, were careful to avoid an obviously hazardous condition. 

FindLaw states the proof needed to find the owner at fault is evidence he or she was aware "a dangerous condition" existed. You may ask several questions to determine "evidence" of awareness in these cases. Did the property owner actually create the condition, knowingly or unknowingly? If so, he or she may be found liable. Did the condition exist for an extended period of time, to the point where the owner should have known about it and fixed it? Did he or she know about it and still leave it uncorrected?

Answering "yes" to any of the above may point to liability on the part of the owner; however, FindLaw emphasizes responsibility on your part is also a significant factor in slip-and-fall cases. If a business has posted clearly visible signs of danger - warning of the potential for a wet floor near the leaky fountain, for example - and you choose to ignore the warning, your own insurance will likely need to cover your medical costs. 

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