If you were injured when you slipped and fell on someone else’s property, you may be wondering whether you should contact a lawyer. 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, pain and suffering, and more.
In order to be liable for a slip and fall accident, a property owner must have either caused the dangerous condition; known about it, but took no action to remediate it; or should have known about it, because a “reasonable” person taking care of the property would have discovered it and made it safe. In the latter situation, it is up to a judge or jury to determine whether the property owner should have known about the hazardous condition. To answer this question, they will examine whether the property owner made regular and thorough efforts to keep the property safe.
It is not enough that you slip and fall on someone else’s property to be able to bring a successful premises liability lawsuit against the property owner. If you were careless, or simply just fell, the injury will not be attributable to the property owner and they will not be held liable for your injuries. The slip and fall accident must have been caused by a dangerous condition on the property.
Any hazardous condition that causes an injury can be deemed dangerous. One of the most common hazardous conditions is snow and ice accumulation. After a snowstorm or winter weather event, a property owner or occupier must remediate the snow and ice from any sidewalks that people are likely to use. The law does not require them to make the property completely free of ice and snow, but only to make their property “reasonably” safe. In addition, some states, townships, and municipalities have laws governing snow and ice removal. Other common examples of unsafe conditions include:
As discussed above, a property owner will only be held liable if they knew about the dangerous condition, but did nothing to remediate 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 not be held liable. It can be difficult to prove how long a spill has been sitting in the aisle of a store. An experienced personal injury lawyer can examine the incident report taken by the store for its insurance carrier, surveillance footage, and can interview witnesses, including store employees.
Property owners and public entities are required to warn people of known dangerous conditions, if they do not remediate them immediately. Municipalities must warn the public 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 present and future medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and more. Victims will 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 it is usually relative to the amount of one’s medical bills and the severity of the injury. 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 that you are unable to return 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 at your trial to help inform the jury of the true cost of your injuries.
To learn more about how our experienced slip and fall lawyers in Trenton can help you, contact Davis & Brusca, LLC today. To schedule your initial consultation, call us at 609-786-2540 or contact us online. We advocate for victims of slip and fall accidents throughout New Jersey.