Duties Of Property Owners In Maryland—Accumulation Of Snow And Ice

Maryland snow and ice

Winter is upon us, and in Maryland, that means snow and ice. Just walking down the street or going shopping can be treacherous. Under Maryland law, the owner or personal in control of residential or commercial property has a duty to reasonably maintain the premises that minimizes the risk of injury to anyone lawfully on the property. How does that apply to accumulation of snow and ice in the Maryland winters?

In Maryland, the duty imposed on property owners can be offset by what is known as “contributory negligence.” Under the concept of contributory negligence, if a person knew or should have known of a potential danger, but still took the risk, they may be considered at fault and denied a right to compensation.

With respect to ice and snow accumulation, the right to recover compensation may depend on the type of ice/snow and how quickly it built up. There are at least two cases that hold that a person cannot be contributorily negligent when the ice is “black ice,” essentially invisible to the naked eye. An owner or landlord may also escape liability if a jury determines that his or her actions in attempting to remove snow or ice were “reasonable.”

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