Everyone has seen a yellow wet floor sign warning you that the area you’re walking into may be slippery. When you slip and fall or are injured in Maine on another party’s property, however, you may have a premises liability claim if the individual failed to provide take the necessary steps to ensure the area was reasonably safe.
As an example, in a recent state Supreme Court decision, the court addressed what duty, if any, is owed by a hospital to an individual who is on its premises solely to visit one of its patients. The plaintiff was visiting his hospitalized wife when he slipped and fell on ice in the hospital’s parking lot. The plaintiff sued the hospital, alleging inadequate snow and ice removal in the parking lot caused him to fall and that the hospital breached the duty of care it owed to him. The hospital was granted summary judgment, and the plaintiff appealed.
On appeal, the court sided with the plaintiff and reversed the lower court’s summary judgment decision. The court concluded that the plaintiff was an invitee, so the hospital owed him a duty to keep the premises and grounds in reasonably safe condition. Invitees, who are owed the highest duty of care in premises liability claims, can be established in two ways: either by showing that they were on the premises “for a purpose connected with the business conducted on the land,” or that “it can be reasonably be said that the visit may confer a business, commercial, monetary, or other tangible benefit to the landowner.” Because the plaintiff was on hospital grounds to visit his wife, which was closely connected to the hospital’s business, he satisfied the first element and established himself as an invitee.
In Maine, premises liability laws are slightly different than other states and differ from the case discussed above. For one, most other states determine a landowner’s duties based on the reason for the guest’s visit. However, in Maine, all property owners owe a general duty of reasonable care to guests who are invited onto their land, regardless of the reason for their visit. Other states often impose the highest standard of care on business guests or shoppers, but Maine’s standard departs from that general theme.
In addition, Maine law protects social and business guests at the same level and requires landowners to fix known and obvious hazards or post clear warning signs to notify guests. Landowners are also required to warn guests about any dangers that they may not immediately be aware of but should know about. Trespassers, however, still are generally unable to recover for injuries if they are on someone’s land without the owner’s permission
Do You Need a Maine Personal Injury Attorney?
If you or someone you know has been injured on someone’s property, contact the Maine premises liability attorneys at Peter Thompson & Associates for assistance. Although premises liability laws in Maine can be complex because they use a different statutory scheme than other states, our team of lawyers have years of experience representing all types of clients under Maine law and will work to help you effectively pursue the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation today, contact us at 1-800-804-2004.