Personal Injury

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

Wet Floor Sign

Owners of properties may be legally responsible for injuries sustained by someone on their property.  The level of responsibility depends on not only the type of property where the accident occurs, but also on whether the person who is injured is on the property as a business invitee (someone who is there to do business), a licensee (such as a social guest who has permission to be on the property, but is not there for a business purpose), or a trespasser (someone who has no permission or lawful right to be on the premises.)

If you are a business invitee, for example, if you are going to a store to make a purchase, the owner of that property has the duty to make the property safe for the invitees coming upon that property. That means they have a duty to inspect the property to make sure it is safe.

If you are a licensee or social guest, the owner of the property can be responsible for your injury if they know that there is a dangerous or defective condition and fail to repair it or warn you about it. However, they have a lower duty than if you are a business invitee.

If you are a trespasser, there is no duty to make the property safe or to warn you of dangerous conditions, but the owner cannot create a dangerous condition to “trap” a trespasser.

The premises liability attorneys at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo believe that if someone suffers from injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, whether it is a business or private home, the owner should be held responsible for the injuries if they have failed to do what was required by law to make the property safe under the circumstances for individuals who are coming upon their property.

If you are injured due to the negligence of the property owner, then you would be entitled to compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.

If, a friend, or family member have 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, as indicated above, 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 accidents, 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, he or she 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 in 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 a slip and fall case involving a business invitee, in order to establish liability, the ultimate question to resolve is whether the property owner breached its duty to provide its patrons with a safe place in which to do business. For example, in a supermarket case, the following could result in liability on the commercial property owner:

  • The owner or property manager caused or created the dangerous/hazardous condition on the premises. For example, if in a supermarket, a display is stacked excessively high and in a location where carts would likely strike it, and something falls from the display causing injury to a shopper, that would be a situation where the property owner created the dangerous condition.
  • The property owner knew about the dangerous/hazardous condition and did not correct or remove it.  For example, if a store owner knows that there is a spill in the aisle and it is reported, and they do not take immediate steps to protect the business invitee from the spill and someone falls, there can be liability. 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. For example, if a supermarket has a plant section and the plants are routinely watered with nothing to catch the water to prevent it from running on the floor, and the water runs onto the floor causing a patron to slip and fall and sustain injury, the owner of the store could be liable because they should have known that after watering a plant, water would drop onto the floor.

Many times, experts, such as engineers, are retained in order to establish that a dangerous condition on a property exists. The lawyers at Petro Cohen Petro Matarazzo are experienced in all types of slip and fall cases and can assist you in recovering the compensation you deserve.

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, operators of business 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.

If you, a friend, or family member have suffered from an injury including 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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