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 could take a lifetime to heal. If it happens to you, you may be facing substantial financial debt.
What caused your fall? More than likely, it all happened so quickly and the cause may not be immediately evident. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t instantly feel the aftereffects of losing your balance, as sometimes, injuries take a couple of days to surface. However, determining the reason for your slip and fall accident is necessary.
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 should consider if you have the right to pursue a claim for monetary damages.
Personal Injury Claim
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.”
Sidewalk Slip and Fall
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.
The Owner is Responsible
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 construction work is being done at a store you’re visiting, and 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
Injuries from fall down accidents can occur both indoors and outdoors, or 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:
- Parking lots
- Escalators and elevators
- Restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, and other shops
- Job sites
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 and what compensation you may be owed, click here.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Jersey City: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Statute of Limitations in a Slip and Fall Accident Claim in New Jersey?
You only have a limited amount of time to initiate a personal injury claim in New Jersey. Under state law, slip and fall accident cases are generally subject to a two-year statute of limitations (New Jersey Revised statutes § 2A:14-2). If you are hurt in a slipping or tripping accident on someone else’s premises, you must file a personal injury lawsuit within two years—otherwise, you will miss out on your opportunity to do so. Although two years may seem like plenty of time, you should not wait to get started. Importance evidence can be lost. Consult with a Jersey City slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible after a serious accident.
How Long Do You Have to See a Doctor After a Slip and Fall Accident?
You need to see a doctor after a serious slip and fall accident. Not only is this important for your own health and well-being, but it is also crucial for the viability of your legal claim. Without valid medical records, you will not be in a position to recover full and fair compensation for a slip and fall accident. How long you need to see a doctor depends entirely on the severity of your injuries and the speed of your physical recovery. You should keep seeing a doctor until you reach maximum medical improvement. Doing so is best for your physical recovery and your legal claim.
What Happens If You are Partially At-Fault for Your Own Slip and Fall Accident?
You can still recover financial compensation for a slip and fall in New Jersey even if you are partially at fault for your own accident. Under New Jersey law (New Jersey Revised statutes § 2A:15-5.1), contributory negligence is not a bar to recovery in a premises liability case. New Jersey uses a modified comparative fault standard.
You can still recover compensation for a slip and fall if you were partially at fault so long as you were not at fault for the majority (51 percent) of the accident. Every point of fault matters. If you are deemed partially at fault for a slip and fall in Jersey City, your compensation will be reduced by your level of blame. A person found 20 percent at fault will bear liability for 20 percent of the damages.
Should You Give a Recorded Statement to an Insurer After a Slip and Fall?
No—at least not without first consulting with an experienced Jersey City slip and fall accident attorney. Most slip and fall claims are defended by commercial property insurance companies. These companies put a lot of resources into training their adjusters to protect their bottom line. Insurers look out for their best interests, not the best interests of you and your family.
After a serious slip and fall, you may get a phone call from a friendly-sounding insurance representative who says that they simply want to ask you a few questions about your accident and your injuries. They are looking for information that they can use to reduce your compensation or deny your claim. Speak to a Jersey City slip and fall lawyer before an insurer.
Can You Bring a Slip and Fall Claim if You Were Trespassing?
Slip and fall accident claims fall under New Jersey’s premises liability law. Technically, it is possible to bring a successful premises liability claim, including a slip and fall accident claim, even if you were trespassing at the time of the incident. However, it is far more difficult to do so. Businesses and property owners in New Jersey owe very limited duties to trespassers. That you were trespassing will make it challenging to recover full financial compensation. Still, depending on the circumstances, it may be possible. If you have questions about slip and falls and trespassing, contact our experienced Jersey City premises liability attorney for immediate assistance.
Can I Afford to Hire a Top-Rated Jersey City Slip and Fall Accident Attorney?
Yes. Regardless of your financial circumstances, you can always afford to retain a top-rated New Jersey slip and fall accident lawyer. At The Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we handle Jersey City slip and fall accident cases on a contingency fee basis. With this type of arrangement, legal fees are based on a percentage of your ultimate financial recovery. You do not have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket costs. Our Jersey City slip and fall lawyer only gets paid when you get paid.
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 201-733-2230 today to schedule your free consultation.