Personal Injury

Slip & Fall? Get the Compensation You Need for Your Premises Liability Case

Wet Floor Sign

Owners of properties are legally responsible for ensuring that their properties are not inherently dangerous to the community and are reasonably safe to the best of their knowledge. With certain limitations, individuals who suffer injuries due to safety hazards on other people’s property are entitled to compensation for their medical bills and other losses. Owners and renters of properties owe duties to maintain their premises in reasonably safe condition for their guests and invitees. When they breach these duties, they can be held financially responsible for any harm that follows.

The premises liability attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo believe that if a patron suffers from injuries due to negligence on behalf of the property owner, then the owner must be held responsible for the injuries, and he or she must provide full compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury because of the dangerous or hazardous state of a property, please contact Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo to receive your free case evaluation. We can help you determine if you are eligible to recover damages for your injuries and work with you to build a solid case against those allegedly responsible.

What is Premises Liability?

Although federal, state, and local laws vary with regard to the responsibilities that property owners have, the basic fundamental concept remains the same. Property owners are obligated to keep their land and properties safe. However, the duty owed by a property owner is also dependent on the status of the individual on the property, whether they be a business invitee, licensee, or trespasser. An experienced personal injury attorney can explain the duty that the property owner owes to you.

Premises liability, by definition, encompasses a wide range of claims such as slips and falls, staircase accidents, electrocution and electricity, insufficient security, and defective sidewalks. The most common type of all premises liability cases, slip and fall accidents, occurs in various conditions. Poor weather conditions that cause rain, ice, and sleet, lack of protected areas around pools, poor lighting, torn carpet, slippery or wet floors, broken stair rails, uneven steps or floors, and cracked sidewalks may all result in a slip and fall accident.

Most Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

The following are some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents that may entitle you to a financial recovery.

Wet and Slippery Floors

In grocery stores, malls, office buildings, and other locations, it is not unusual to see “Wet Floor” signs and areas that have been cordoned off for cleaning. In these cases, the property owner is exercising good judgment by telling visitors to stay away from potentially-dangerous locations. However, owners and managers are not always so careful. Harmful slip and fall accidents often occur as a result of the following.

  • Unmarked and unprotected slippery areas
  • Excessive and uneven amounts of polish
  • Floors with inadequate non-skid treatment
  • Slippery slopes and inclines

Dangerous Outdoor Conditions

Residents of the Northeast region of the United States regularly experience some pretty crazy weather conditions; and when it comes to weather, those in the Garden State know to expect the unexpected; be ready for whatever Mother Nature decides dish out; and then get ready for the exact opposite. It is important to note that the weather’s ability to turn on a dime is not limited to New Jersey’s winter months. In fact, the spring, summer, and fall present some of the most challenging weather conditions to New Jersey residents, visitors, drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians, homeowners, commercial store owners, and customers.

While wet and snow-covered conditions are to be expected, property owners still need to exercise care to make sure that their premises are not adding to the risk of injury. In addition, if a property owner or tenant does decide to remove ice or snow, they must do so with reasonable care.

Unsafe Stairs

Stairs inherently present an added element of danger. As a result, property owners should be particularly vigilant in ensuring that the stairs on their premises are in good repair. Stair-related injuries are often due to the following.

  • Worn steps that are slick or have rounded edges
  • Broken stairs that give way upon contact
  • Missing or broken handrails
  • Lack of signage or barriers to warn of dangerous stairways

Elevator and Escalator Accidents

Elevators and escalators offer conveniences to patrons of industrial, commercial and retail locations. If a building owner provides these conveniences, it must ensure that they are safe for regular use. Our personal injury attorneys regularly see elevator and escalator accident cases involving the following.

  • Unexpected stops and jerky movements that result injuries
  • Clothing and personal belongings that get stuck in elevators’ and escalators’ moving parts
  • People’s arms, hands, legs, and feet getting caught in elevator doors
  • Elevators and escalators that are not functioning properly and not properly guarded from use

Inadequate lighting, cracks and holes in pavement and concrete, carpeting that is in disrepair, and dangerous construction sites are all common causes of slip and fall injuries as well.

How to Establish Liability for a Slip and Fall case

In all slip and fall cases, in order to establish liability, the ultimate question to resolve is whether the property owner had a duty to patrons to provide safe parking lot and walkway conditions, whether he/she/it breached that duty, and whether that breach directly caused a person’s injuries. Here is a closer look at the ways to establish liability.

  • The owner or property manager caused or created the dangerous/hazardous condition on the premises by taking action or failing to take action, which if they had they done (or not done), would have removed the hazard. If a store owner failed to do anything about icy and/or cracked pavement, such as treating and retreating the area, the failure to do so may establish liability.
  • The property owner knew about the dangerous/hazardous condition (or recurring and therefore foreseeable condition) and did not correct or remove it. If a property owner actually finds a dangerous condition on the property, he or she must take the appropriate steps to correct or remove the issue in order to prevent patrons from suffering potential injuries. If the condition is not immediately fixable, property owners must post clear warnings and/or restrict the area from use.
  • The property owner should have known about the dangerous/hazardous condition because it would be obvious to a reasonable person in a similar situation to take measures to fix the condition. Again, foreseeability is a big theme. If a property owner should know that specific springtime conditions will create icy, wet, or otherwise dangerous parking lots, he or she must remove the hazardous conditions in order to prevent potential injuries to patrons. In a New Jersey spring, melting and refreezing snow and ice is certainly foreseeable. So are cracked and damaged cement walkways.

Simply establishing that a commercial property owner is liable for a patron’s injuries does not, in and of itself, guarantee a slam dunk win if resulting litigation ensues. The court (and jury) will examine the facts and determine whether the injured party acted prudently and reasonably given the wintery conditions. Since most people are experienced in walking on snow or ice – especially in New Jersey – why didn’t the injured party take more care in order to avoid falling? This is a question that needs a good answer; an experienced personal injury attorney will help craft such a response.

Other Types of Premises Liability Cases

A person may also be entitled to bring a premises liability claim if he or she suffered an injury due to malfunctioning electrical wiring, poor construction or building materials, snow or water on walkways, or building code violations. If you feel as though you have a valid case, the attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo can help to determine what caused your injuries and assist you in filing a lawsuit to recover the maximum damages to which you may be entitled in New Jersey.

With respect to ensuring that their premises are safe, property owners are required to perform regular inspections of their properties, both indoors and outdoors, to locate any defects or dangers that could result in harm. Should he or she find a hazard, the property owner is obligated to take appropriate action to remove or fix the issue to prevent potential injuries to guests or customers, and to provide clear warnings until the problem can be repaired. If a person suffers an injury and can prove that the owner of the property had knowledge of the factor that caused the injury, yet failed to correct the problem, the individual may have a valid premises liability case against the property owner.

Contact a Premises Liability Attorney as Soon as Possible

While premises liability incidents may not be as dramatic or as noticeable as auto or airplane accidents, injuries sustained on another’s property can still result in life-threatening conditions that have long-term effects on both the injured party and his or her family. You should not have to live with the burdens of a slip and fall injury or other premises liability injury.

If you or someone you love has suffered from broken bones, burns, electrical shocks, or head, spinal cord, neck, or other serious injuries following a slip and fall accident, a premises liability attorney at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo can inform you of your legal rights. Our attorneys will work to hold the responsible parties accountable for your losses and help you seek the

Call us today at (888) 675-7607 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, so you will only pay our legal expenses if we can successfully make a settlement on your behalf. The time is limited to pursue a claim in New Jersey, so it is important that you file your premise liability lawsuit within the statute of limitations.

 

 

 

 

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