When you slip and fall, your first inclination may be to get up and dust yourself off. It’s not unusual to feel embarrassed after a tumble, whether it’s on the ground or on steps. Additionally, many who suffer fall down accidents blame themselves. The truth is that you could suffer significant injuries that will literally take a lifetime to heal. If it happens to you, you may be facing a substantial financial debt.
What caused your fall? More than likely, it all happened so quickly and may not be immediately evident. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t instantly feel the aftereffects of losing your balance. Sometimes, injuries take a couple of days to surface. However, determining the reason for your slip and fall accident just makes sense.
Upon examination, you may notice that a dangerous condition caused you to slip and fall. Dismissing the notion that mere clumsiness caused your injuries, you can’t help but wonder if you have the right to pursue a claim for monetary damages.
In New Jersey, commercial property owners are bound by the strictest requirements regarding premises they own, maintain or control. While private and residential property owners also have some legal responsibilities, they are less stringent.
Slip, trip and fall accident claims fall under the broader classification of premises liability law. If your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the property owners. For over 30 years, Jersey City Slip and Fall Attorney Anthony Carbone has helped hundreds of clients across New Jersey with their slip, trip and fall cases.
If you suffered injuries as a result of a fall down accident, you may have a Case for Carbone. While you take the time to mend, you need someone in your corner fighting for your rightful compensation.
Pursuing a Claim for a Slip, Trip and Fall Sidewalk Accident
The distinction between commercial property owners and residential owners proves critical in slip, trip and fall sidewalk accident claims. New Jersey has unique rules when it comes to assessing liability against private homeowners for sidewalk falls.
In order to determine whether a property is commercial or residential, the New Jersey courts examine the nature of the ownership of the property. This includes establishing whether the property is owned for investment or business purposes.
You might think of an apartment building as residential property because people live there. Although they most often meet the definition of commercial premises, the same is not true for condominium complexes. The courts have held that condominium complexes are residential.
Why is this important? For the most part, residential property owners are not liable for injuries on sidewalks abutting their property. Non-commercial landowners do not owe pedestrians a duty to maintain the sidewalk. That said, they can be found negligent for construction or repairs made by them.
In Richard Luchejko v. City of Hoboken, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that residential homeowners are not liable for injuries “unless they create or exacerbate a dangerous sidewalk condition.” Commercial owners should know that “clearing their abutting sidewalks is a cost of doing business and that failure to do so can lead to liability.”
Failure to remove snow and ice represents a potentially hazardous condition when it comes to sidewalk accidents. Your slip and fall accident could also be related to a poorly constructed or improperly maintained walkway. Additionally, failure to clear the premises of debris could result in you tripping and experiencing ill effects. Tree roots may also cause the sidewalk to crack and cause a dangerous condition.
If you suffered injuries when you slipped and fell on a sidewalk, you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. It is critical to take photographs of the accident scene and conditions that caused your fall. Make sure to take pictures of information that accurately depicts the location.
According to New Jersey law, the owner of the commercial property is responsible for keeping the premises safe and free of any hazards that could cause an accident. When the owner fails to uphold that responsibility, legal action may be the only way to resolve the matter.
If a visitor receives an injury because of the premises’ unsafe conditions, the owner could be liable if he or she knew or should reasonably have known about the hazard prior to the accident.
For example, if work is happening at a store you’re visiting. While construction goes on around you, you trip and fall over a loose wire on the ground, the owner could be held responsible because he/she failed to keep the area safe for visitors.
Common Slip and Fall Accidents
As you already know, injuries from fall down accidents can occur indoors or outdoors in any kind of weather. Common examples include:
- Accumulations of snow or ice
- Sidewalk cracks
- Debris left in a walkway
- Snags, rugs or bumps in carpet
- Loose or improperly installed tiles
- Waxed or wet-mopped floors
- Construction defects
- Code violations, including poorly maintained stairs, railings or handrails
- Items falling from shelves
- Loose cords, wires and cables
You could be severely hurt after tripping, slipping or losing your balance due to a property owner’s careless maintenance of the premises. Here are a few common places that an accident can occur:
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What You Need to Prove Responsibility
Slip and fall accident cases can be extremely complex — you need to prove that not only the property owner is at fault but that the conditions of the property are the reason behind your injury. And without specific evidence, there is no reason to believe you have a valid lawsuit.
Four elements need to be established to prove responsibility in a slip and fall case:
Duty on the part of the defendant: According to New Jersey law, a commercial property owner has a legal duty to make sure the property is safe for anyone who visits the premises. Without proving defendant’s owed duty, the plaintiff cannot win the case.
Notice: The defendant knew or should have known of the condition that could cause harm to someone. If the defendant is shown to have strayed from proper procedure and maintenance practices, it may be possible to prove improper premises management resulting in a dangerous condition.
Dangerous condition(s): The condition(s) that causes plaintiff harm was dangerous and not an insignificant flaw. The plaintiff must show that the property owner knew or should have known about the conditions for a reasonable amount of time. For example, the icy condition of a parking lot has been present for longer than a few hours.
Damages: The injuries suffered by the plaintiff as a result of the dangerous condition(s).
Proving fault can be an uphill battle — this is the reason why it’s essential to hire a slip and fall attorney immediately following your accident. Attorney Carbone investigates slip, trip and fall cases to establish liability. Sometimes, this means retaining expert opinion to offer testimony about the dangerous conditions that caused your accident.
To find out how much your slip and fall case is worth, click here.
How Our Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
Our Jersey City accident lawyer has decades of experience working with the insurance groups to make sure our slip and fall accident clients receive the compensation that they deserve. A Case for Carbone means turning over the claims process and working to make sure all your needs have been met. While most cases are settled prior to trial, Attorney Carbone has three decades of experience in the courtroom and will fight on your behalf.
Whether your case goes to court or not, it is critical to retain the best accident experts who will investigate the scene, speak with witnesses, and examine the property damage to support your claim. As an award-winning attorney, Carbone uses his many years of experience in premises liability law and negotiation to work for the best possible outcome on your behalf.
Depending on the nature of your injuries, Attorney Carbone can help you pursue compensation for damages such as:
- Medical bills and rehabilitation costs
- Lost income from missed work
- Loss of earning capacity, if your injuries are so severe they compromise your ability to do your job
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
Unfortunately, some slip and fall down accidents result in fatalities. Attorney Carbone will determine the feasibility of a wrongful death claim for the decedent’s next of kin.
If you or a loved one has suffered a fall down accident, you will benefit from experienced legal advice. Please contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone online or calling 201-963-6000 today to schedule your free consultation.