If you were injured when you slipped and fell on someone else’s property in New Jersey, you may be wondering whether you should contact a lawyer. Davis and Brusca is proud to be the slip and fall lawyer lawyers Trenton, NJ residents trust. You can count on our skilled legal team to evaluate the facts of your specific case and provide you the advice you need.
In New Jersey, public entities, owners of property, and managers of businesses all have a level of responsibility to keep the public safe from hazards on their premises. If you were injured while patronizing a business or visiting someone’s property, you may have a legitimate claim to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. If you have questions about any of the following, you should call to seek the counsel of a top slip and fall lawyer from Davis & Brusca, LLC.
The “rules” for liability in a slip and fall accident vary based on the relationship between the parties and what the property owner/operator knew, and what they did or did not do. In order to be liable, a property owner must generally have either caused the dangerous condition, known about it (or should have known about it) and failed to take reasonable action to correct it, or failed to issue a proper warning that the danger existed. Liability generally turns on the type of property involved (commercial vs. residential), the relationship “status” of the injured person (business patron vs. social guest vs. trespasser), and whether the property owner acted “reasonably” under the circumstances. In order to answer these questions, one must examine what steps the property owner took to keep the property safe, inspect the property, as well as all of the factors which caused the injured person to be on the property and in the area where the accident occurred. The conduct of the injured person is also a significant factor which must be examined fully in order to determine the merits of the case.
It is not enough that you slip and fall on someone else’s property. In order to bring a successful premises liability lawsuit against a property owner you must be able to show that they did something, or failed to do something, which was a cause of the accident. If the truth is that you were careless, or just simply “fell” – meaning nothing about the property’s condition caused you to fall, the property owner will not be liable for your injuries. The slip and fall accident must have been caused by a dangerous condition on the property which the owner was responsible for causing you to encounter.
A wide array of hazards can causes an injury and potentially be deemed “dangerous” or “unreasonable”. This is a fact-sensitive analysis which requires careful analysis of the law. However, one of the most common hazardous conditions is snow and ice accumulation. But even this is not a simple issue, as most states have a variety of laws and issues which control the question of liability, and a variety of immunities may apply to protect government entities and transportation providers (such as NJ Transit or SEPTA). Commercial property owners have the most exposure. After a snowstorm or winter weather event, a commercial property owner or occupier must take reasonable action to remove the snow and ice from any sidewalks and walkways that people are likely to use. The law does not generally require them to make the property completely free of ice and snow and warn of the potential for slippery conditions. The simple fact that a patron slips does not necessarily mean they will have a valid claim. This is because event commercial property owners are not required to “guarantee” safe passage. Rather, they are only required to make their property “reasonably” safe. Evaluation of the merits of any case is a fact-sensitive determination. Residential property owners are generally under a lesser duty. In addition, some states, townships, and municipalities have laws governing snow and ice removal which may or may not prove relevant to the case. Other common examples of unsafe conditions that may cause a person to slip or trip, fall and sustain injury include:
As discussed above, a property owner will only be liable if they knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take proper action to address it or warn of it. The courts will afford property owners a reasonable amount of time to discover the dangerous condition. For example, if a person spills a bottle of oil in a grocery store, and someone immediately slips after the spill, the store will probably not be held liable because it likely had no chance to discover and correct the hazard. It can be difficult to prove how long a spill has been sitting in the aisle of a store, although there may be indications (such as track marks through a spill) which suggest its age. An experienced personal injury lawyer, like the slip and fall lawyers New Jersey trusts, can examine the incident report taken by the store surveillance footage, and can interview witnesses, including store employees to gauge the merits of the claim.
Property owners and public entities are generally also required to warn people of known dangerous conditions, if they do not or cannot correct them immediately. For example, the public must be warned of areas under construction, and stores must place “caution” cones on freshly mopped or waxed floors.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover for any present and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity. Other damages may be available depending on the circumstances. Victims may be eligible to recover compensation to cover all medical bills relating to the fall. You may also be able to recover damages for “pain and suffering.” There are no clear rules as to how much one may be awarded, but the severity of the injury and the amount of one’s economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, etc.) are factors a jury or insurance company may consider. If you missed work as a result of your injuries, you may be able to recover the value of the wages you otherwise would have earned. If your injuries were severe enough to prevent you from returning to your former line of employment, you may be able to recover damages for your lost earning capacity. A vocational rehabilitation specialist can be retained for use at your trial to help evaluate this part of your damages. For more information on your potential case, contact Davis & Brusca, LLC, and speak to one of the top Slip and Fall Lawyers New Jersey residents rely on right away.
Property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for other people. If they violate that duty and someone suffers an injury, that property owner may be liable. If you were hurt on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation. Don’t let the following misconceptions about slip and fall accidents prevent you from filing a case.