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The Basics of Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

If you fall down and slip in a private business or on a property, what recourse do you have? Slip and fall claims in Maryland are common, and the law is based on a fault system. If you are the victim of a slip and fall accident, here is what you need to know about making slip and fall claims in Maryland.

Understanding Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

In Maryland, business and property owners are not necessarily liable if you slip and fall somewhere on their property. When making a slip and fall claim, you must be able to demonstrate that the property owner knew about or should have known about the hazard and failed to properly notify you. Falling can occur inside or outside of a business for a variety of reasons, including torn carpeting, steps with varying heights, wet floors, a slippery substance on the floor or obstructions like extension cords.

Liability

Liability is the process used to determine who caused an accident. For example, if you slipped and fell on a glass of water that you spilled in your own home, you would be liable. On property that does not belong to you, the property owner is not automatically liable for all slip and fall claims in Maryland. The law says that owners must take “reasonable steps” to make sure their properties are safe. Things that could constitute a strong argument include poor lighting, abrupt changes in the height of steps or floor or flooring with large holes. Conditions that have clearly persisted for long enough to fix them or label them with a warning sign can be strong for slip and fall claims in Maryland.

What Can Complicate a Slip and Fall Claim?

The property owner should have an insurance company, and they will likely be the ones trying to show that the property owner did nothing wrong. What types of arguments could you expect to hear?

  • Contributory Negligence: In Maryland, if you did anything that contributed to your slip and fall, you cannot make a claim against the property owner. Due to the harsh laws in Maryland, if you contributed to even 1% of what occurred, you cannot make a claim.
  • Assumption of Risk: Maryland also holds that you can assume risk, which means that you should have understood the risk you were taking and cannot make a claim as a result. For example, if you walk on a surface with visible ice and snow, in most cases the law will see you as assuming risk.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Slip and Fall Claims in Maryland

If you are searching for the right attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Makes a Legally Binding Contract in Maryland?

Contracts are an essential part of business transactions in Maryland, but they are a particularly complex part of the law. Because contracts can take a variety of forms, like written or oral, and include clauses that have serious ramifications, it is critical that you understand what constitutes a legally binding contract in Maryland.

What Is a Contract?

A contract is a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. Contracts can be oral or written, but certain contracts must be written to be legally binding. All contracts must be entered into voluntarily by people who are deemed competent to do so.

What Makes a Legally Binding Contract in Maryland?

There are five critical parts of a contract to make it a legally binding contract in Maryland:

  1. Offer: The contract must include a proposal to pay something, do something or have some exchange of things of value.
  2. Competent Parties: Minors, those who are deemed to be mentally incapacitated and others who are not competent to enter into a contract cannot do so.
  3. Acceptance: All parties must agree upon the contents of a contract.
  4. Consideration: All parties must get something through the contract, even if the “something” in question is relatively small.
  5. Performance: There is something that must be fulfilled through the contract. In some cases, once that obligation is met, the contract is automatically terminated. In others, it could be ongoing until both parties mutually agree to terminate it.

What Can Complicate Contracts?

There are a variety of factors that can invalidate a contract during the process or after it is signed:

  • Fraud: If one party intentionally misrepresented something or lied when creating the contract, the contract could be invalidated.
  • Breach of Contract: This can happen if one of the parties does not fulfill their obligation for part of the contract. This could be outright refusing to perform, failure to perform or making it impossible for the other party to fulfill their obligation.
  • Cooling Off Period: Every legally binding contract in Maryland does not necessarily come with a three-day cooling off period, although there is one for door-to-door sales and other specific transactions (health clubs, weight loss centers, etc.).

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Contract Law in Maryland

If you are searching for the right attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Understanding Marijuana Law in Maryland

In the United States, it seems like every time there is an election, there is a change to medical and recreational marijuana laws in certain states. Maryland is no different, and marijuana law in Maryland has undergone major changes recently.

Medical Marijuana Law in Maryland

Medical marijuana law in Maryland was first put into place in 2014 in the form of House Bill 881. It required patients to get written certification from a licensed doctor and register with the Maryland state program. Patients with a valid medical marijuana prescription can possess up to 120 grams of marijuana at a time without an exception from a doctor. Medical cannabis can legally be vaporized or used in tinctures, lotions, extracts or ointments.

What conditions are eligible to receive a medical marijuana prescription?

  • Anorexia
  • Wasting Syndrome
  • Glaucoma
  • PTSD
  • Seizures
  • Severe or Chronic Pain
  • Severe Nausea
  • Severe Loss of Appetite
  • Severe Muscle Spasms
  • Any severe condition where other medical treatments have not been effective

Recreational Marijuana in Maryland

While marijuana law in Maryland states that marijuana is still illegal, the state has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Senate Bill 364, passed in 2014, made possessing under 10 grams of recreational marijuana for personal use a civil offense that has a maximum fine of $100 and no jail time. If you possess more than that, you could face a misdemeanor or a felony (over 50 lbs.) depending on how much marijuana is on your person.

What About CBD Products?

In the United States, hemp-derived CBD products like creams, lotions and gummies are all legal under federal law. In most cases, CBD products do not contain THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel “high.” As a result, you can feel safe purchasing and consuming the currently popular CBD products for sale in the state. 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Marijuana Law in Maryland

If you are concerned about a past marijuana conviction or uncertain whether or not you will face a penalty for possession of marijuana, you need an experienced lawyer. A serious marijuana conviction can lead to steep fines and even jail time, which is why we fight so hard on behalf of all of our clients.

If you are searching for the right attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Second DUI in Maryland

What Happens If You Get a Second DUI in Maryland?

It is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol in every state, and Maryland is no different. There are serious penalties if you get one DUI charge, but if you get a second DUI in Maryland, the penalties can increase significantly. What happens if you get a second DUI in Maryland, and how can you enlist experienced legal help?

The Look-Back Period

First, you should know that Maryland has a “look-back period” that it uses when determining penalties for a DUI. The look-back period is the time between your first and second DUI in Maryland, and it will be used to increase or decrease the penalty that you receive. If you have another DUI within five years of your first, the penalties will increase. If you took probation before judgment (PBJ), you can only have one every ten years, so you could also be ineligible from that avenue of dealing with your DUI.

What Happens After Your Second DUI in Maryland?

When you get a second DUI in Maryland, the state can use subsequent offender penalties to increase the consequences you will face. The maximum penalty you can receive for a second DUI is a $2,000 fine, up to two years in jail and a one-year suspension of your license. With the help of a lawyer, you can present the best case possible and reduce the likelihood that you will have the maximum penalties.

If you have a conviction for DUI, there will be points on your driver’s license and the conviction on your record. If your license is suspended, you will not be able to receive a work permit in Maryland for five years, as the state does not give permits to those with prior alcohol convictions or license suspensions within the past five years.

Why You Need a DUI Attorney in Maryland

After your second DUI in Maryland, you are at a dramatically increased risk of experiencing serious penalties. Prosecutors will have increased interest in your case, which is sometimes not the case with first-time offenders. We encourage you to reach out to an experienced DUI attorney, like the team at Mobley and Brown, LLP, to prepare the strongest case possible.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Be Your DUI Attorney in Maryland

If you are searching for the right DUI attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

DUI Attorney in Maryland

What to Look for in a DUI Attorney in Maryland

A drunk driving arrest and DUI charge on your record can create serious problems, from losing your driver’s license to losing your job if you work in certain industries. As a result, choosing the right DUI attorney in Maryland is critical. You need the right person to represent you aggressively and guide you forward through the legal process.

The Questions to Ask a DUI Attorney in Maryland

Before you choose a DUI attorney, you should ask them the questions below to ensure that they have the expertise and experience necessary to represent you well in court:

  1. How long have you been practicing law?
  2. Have you ever been a criminal prosecutor?
  3. What is your reputation in the courtroom and in terms of professional ethics?
  4. How many drunk driving cases have you worked on in the past?
  5. How many DUI cases have you taken to trial, as opposed to plea bargain cases?
  6. What results have you obtained for cases like mine in the past?
  7. How complex is my case? Should it be straightforward, or will it potentially involve more work?
  8. How are you different from other lawyers?

It is much better to be careful when selecting your DUI attorney in Maryland instead of choosing the first name that pops up, as you want the best possible outcome for your unique situation.

Why You Need a DUI Attorney in Maryland

You should obtain a DUI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest. DUIs have serious negative consequences that can require professional, skilled assistance to navigate. While all criminal charges are severe, those related to driving under the influence can be more serious than others due to the potential consequences (losing your license, job loss, fines, jail time and more). You should never allow the fate of your immediate and extended future to rest in the wrong hands, which is why you need a skilled DUI attorney in Maryland who can build a strong case and defend you in court.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Be Your DUI Attorney in Maryland

If you are searching for the right DUI attorney in Maryland and unsure where to turn, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Social Media Policy for Employees

Is Your Social Media Policy for Employees Legal?

As a business, the actions that your employees take on and off the clock can reflect on you. Many businesses have experienced serious reputational and financial consequences from things that one or two employees did in their free time or posted on social media. As a result, businesses of every size have adopted a social media policy for employees. Do you know if your social media policy for employees is legal?

Maryland Was a Pioneer in Social Media Policy Law

Maryland became the first state to prevent employers from asking employees or applicants for login information to their personal electronic accounts including personal email and social media accounts in 2012. Under this law, you cannot request or require an employee to disclose their username or password, discharge or penalize an employee or threaten to do so for not allowing access or refuse to hire someone as a result of their unwillingness to give login information.

However, this law also allows critical ways for employers to still investigate potential wrongdoing and says that employers can investigate employees based on information regarding:

  • An employee using a website or social media account for business purposes, if the investigation is ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements or securities and financial law
  • An employee downloading proprietary information from your business to a website or online account

You’ll also notice that this law does not protect against what employees choose to say or do on social media.

Your Social Media Policy for Employees

The first amendment does not necessarily apply when it comes to termination or disciplinary action as a result of social media activity. It does protect the right of your employees to speak freely, but it guards against government action, not private employer action. If your employees are employed on an at will basis, that means that you have the right to fire them for any reason as long as you do not violate laws regarding discrimination of protected classes. Providing that your social media policy for employees does not discriminate against a protected class or request login information for private social media accounts, you should be perfectly fine. As always, Mobley and Brown, LLP can review your policy to ensure straightforward legal language. 

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Review Your Social Media Policy for Employees

If you are unsure whether or not your social media policy for employees is legal, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Review Your Estate Plan

When Should You Review Your Estate Plan?

Your estate plans, including your will and all powers of attorney documents, are living documents. This means that, as long as you are alive, they should be regularly updated to reflect where you are in your life. Depending on your needs and changes to your life, you can update your estate plan annually or every 3-5 years. What circumstances make an update prudent?

Major Life Events

Significant life events are the perfect time to review your estate plan and add or remove beneficiaries. What could be considered major life events?

  • The birth of a child or grandchild
  • A child or grandchild turning 18
  • A death or change in financial or life circumstances for a named guardian of your children
  • Changes in dependents, like a new child or an adult you care for
  • A change in your financial goals or the financial priorities of your spouse or children
  • Marriage or divorce
  • Health challenges, illness or disability of a spouse or child
  • Change in life or long-term care insurance
  • Purchasing a large asset, like a home
  • Rise or decline in the value of assets, like stocks or investments
  • Career changes, like starting or selling a business, starting a new job or receiving a significant promotion

By making a habit of regularly revisiting your plans, you can ensure that you never forget to review your estate plan and end up with plans that don’t reflect your wishes.

What If You Don’t Have a Major Life Event?

If you haven’t had any significant changes to your life, your assets or your beneficiaries, you should review your estate plan every 3-5 years. In this review, you can sit down with your lawyer at Mobley and Brown, LLP to review all of your goals and objectives and ensure that your plans reflect them. We can assist you in reviewing the titles on your assets, the beneficiaries for your assets and your power of attorney plans. This also allows us to make changes to your executor, guardians, order of trustees, beneficiaries and more. By staying on top of your estate plans, you can rest assured your intentions will be carried out when you are unable to do so.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP to Review Your Estate Plan

If you are preparing to sign a contract or looking to file suit when you are bound by an arbitration clause, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

Arbitration Clause

How Does an Arbitration Clause in Maryland Work?

Whether or not you realize it, there is a high probability you are currently required to abide by an arbitration clause as an employee, a customer or a business. These clauses are a critical element of many contracts that can benefit companies, employers and businesses by lowering the potential court costs of settling a dispute. How does an arbitration clause work in Maryland?

What Is an Arbitration Clause?

These clauses are an agreement between parties to resolve disputes outside of a courtroom. Most clauses will call for a panel of arbitrators to help decide what is fair and appropriate. However, not every arbitration clause that you sign is legally enforceable. Maryland has a law, the Maryland Uniform Arbitration Act (MUAA) that governs the use of arbitration clauses in the state.

When Is an Arbitration Clause Enforceable?

The MUAA says that written arbitration agreements cannot be revoked if they are valid and enforceable. On what grounds can you challenge an arbitration agreement?

  • Waiver: One party acted in a way that shows they didn’t want to utilize arbitration, like one party filing suit in court instead of starting the arbitration process
  • Fraud: One party misrepresented or omitted a material fact in order to convince the other party to sign the arbitration agreement
  • Duress: One party was coerced or threatened to sign the contract
  • Unconscionability: One party did not have equal or substantial bargaining power before signing the provision

If you believe that the clause you signed may not be legally enforceable and wish to seek a legal remedy in court, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP to learn if you have a case.

Staying or Compelling Arbitration in Maryland

When a contract contains an arbitration agreement, some parties might not be able to agree on whether or not arbitration applies to a unique situation. Whenever a disagreement occurs, you can submit an application to stay or compel arbitration once the other party files suit. After this, the court will decide if the arbitration clause is relevant. Maryland courts will examine the validity of the clause, see how it applies, and come to a conclusion about whether it is enforceable. Mobley and Brown, LLP can help you during a contract dispute claim or before you sign a contract with an arbitration agreement included.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Your Business Law Needs

If you are preparing to sign a contract or looking to file suit when you are bound by an arbitration clause, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

6 Common Auto Accident Injuries in Personal Injury Cases

In the aftermath of a car accident, it can be difficult to know if you’re injured. Some injuries are immediately apparent, but many are lost in the shock and adrenaline following a collision. Thankfully, personal injury lawyers like Mobley and Brown, LLP, can help car accident victims receive compensation for their auto accident injuries. What are some of the most common auto accident injuries

6 Common Auto Accident Injuries After a Collision

  1. Whiplash: The most common auto accident injuries include whiplash, which is the colloquial name used to refer to tendon, muscle and ligament injuries that happen after a car accident. In a violent collision, your body will often move so quickly that you cannot brace yourself or adjust your position. That trauma can lead to muscle strain that leaves you sore and uncomfortable even if no bones are broken. Whiplash can take weeks to heal properly.
  2. Head Injuries: Concussions and traumatic brain injuries are other common auto accident injuries that lead to consequences today and in the future. Brain injuries can lead to lasting issues with brain function, headaches, insomnia and other side effects. Because head injuries are so serious, you should seek immediate medical treatment and work with a skilled lawyer who can help you to receive compensation for your injury and the years of medical treatment you may need to receive.
  3. Broken Ribs: Ribs are surprisingly fragile, and fractures and breaks are common in car accidents where you are pushed forwards or backward during the impact. Broken ribs can limit your activity and take a while to heal.
  4. Cuts and Scrapes: While these auto accident injuries might seem minor, they can be quite severe and increase the risk of infection or complications after an accident. Scrapes and cuts can happen during the accident as a result of your vehicle or the other vehicle striking you or projectiles in the car flying around.
  5. Internal Bleeding: One of the most serious auto accident injuries is internal bleeding. If it is not treated quickly, it can lead to serious, life-threatening issues. If there is a chance you are experiencing internal bleeding, you must seek medical care as quickly as you can.
  6. PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder is also common after auto accidents, as all injuries are not physical. PTSD can make your daily routine significantly more complicated and cause you serious distress that requires mental health treatment.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP

If you are seeking post-accident medical care and concerned about receiving the compensation that you deserve, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.

What Is an Unconstitutional Search or Seizure in Maryland?

As a citizen of the United States and a Maryland resident, you are afforded protections against law enforcement officers conducting unconstitutional searches or seizures. Maryland law details circumstances that are considered an unconstitutional search or seizure, including some that might surprise you. What is an unconstitutional search or seizure in Maryland?

What Is the Difference Between Lawful and Unlawful?

The main decider when determining what is an unconstitutional search or seizure or a consensual encounter and therefore constitutional is control. Are you in control of when you leave? Are you allowed to decide when the interaction ends? In that circumstance, you are taking part in a consensual encounter. However, if you do not feel free to leave and the police are determining whether or not you can leave the situation, you are part of a seizure.

Police can initiate a search or seizure for a broad range of reasons if they have reasonable suspicion about the person being about to commit a crime or having committed a crime. If they do not have probable cause, they cannot detain an individual and check on warrants, ask for additional information or force you to remain with them. If you are unsure of whether or not the search or seizure you experienced was lawful, it’s always best to consult with an experienced attorney and law firm like Mobley and Brown, LLP.

What Are Examples of Search and Seizure?

Searches and seizures can take many different forms and happen over the course of many different types of cases. For example, searches could include:

  • Looking through a phone or computer
  • Searching a vehicle
  • Looking through a home
  • Searching your pockets or person
  • Examining the contents of a container, suitcase or briefcase

Some examples of seizures include:

  • Arrests
  • Confiscating property
  • DNA warrants
  • Traffic stops

Remember that police do not need a warrant in every case for a search or seizure to occur, but cases where there was no warrant are typically easier to have evidence excluded from the record. There are specific circumstances in which a search without a warrant is legal, like when an individual was arrested and the search occurred after the arrest.

Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Search and Seizure Case

If you are seeking assistance in Maryland in the aftermath of your arrest, search or seizure and unsure of how to proceed, contact Mobley and Brown, LLP today. Our experienced legal team will work with you to meet your needs. Call us now at (410) 385-0398.