Premises Liability - Questions and Answers
We are personal injury lawyers in New Jersey who represent clients in slip and fall cases in all courts throughout the State. A slip and fall case falls under the legal heading of premises liability. Here are some of the more common questions we have received over the years from our New Jersey slip and fall clients:
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to the liability of a property owner for accidents that happen on the property because it was negligently maintained, or because a dangerous condition that existed on the property was not promptly and properly remedied.
What are Some of the Issues That Go Into Determining if There is a Claim And, if so, What it May Be Worth?
The most basic issues that must be proven are that the defendant owned, occupied or leased the premises and was negligent in its use, and the plaintiff was injured as a result of what the defendant did or did not do. Other issues that come into play include the injured party’s status on the property. Were they a business invitee (someone who was there for a business purpose that would benefit both themselves and the property owner), or were they there without any authorization (a trespasser)? Further, did the property owner know about the hazard, or should they have known about it? Additionally, if they did know about it, did they take prompt steps to either fix it or warn people about it? While there are other issues that must be determined, these are the most basic ones that come up in virtually every case. A New Jersey injury lawyer will analyze the facts of your case and sort out all of the important facts and issues.
If I Slip, Fall and Hurt Myself in a Store, How Can the Store Owner be Held Responsible?
Property owners who are negligent in maintaining the safety of their premises (be it a store, office building, motel, hotel, apartment building or private residence) may be liable for injuries sustained by a visitor to the property. This is because property owners are obligated to make sure the property is safe for visitors by promptly and properly addressing hazardous conditions at the property, or by warning visitors to the property of the existence of the hazard. Slip and fall injuries (which give rise to the most common form of premises liability cases) can result from a store owner’s failure to clean up liquid that has spilled on a floor, or failure to properly secure goods on a shelf with the result that they fall to the ground. Other seemingly simply acts and omissions such as failing to repair the pavement in a parking area, failing to fix a loose stairway handrail or repair a malfunctioning escalator, or even something as simple as failing to replace a burned out light bulb in a common area, can all result in injury and premises liability claims. The injured party’s status on the property (the reason for their being at the property) can also affect the claim.
Do I Have a Claim if I Slip, Fall and Hurt Myself in a Store Because of Some Liquid That Spilled on the Floor, or on Ice and Snow in the Parking lot?
The store owner can be held liable if s/he knew or should have known that the puddle was there. If you are patronizing the store, you are a business invitee. That means you have been invited to the property for the benefit of the owner as well as yourself. You therefore have the right to expect that the store is safe. If the owner knows about the spill, s/he has a duty to promptly clean it on the floor, or promptly warn customers about it. The owner may also have an obligation to periodically inspect areas where spills may occur. Failing to comply with these obligations may be the basis for a claim. Generally speaking, the same ideas may apply to situations involving ice and snow in the parking lot in front of a store. A New Jersey slip and fall attorney can tell you if you have a claim for any injury you may have sustained under these circumstances.
I was Assaulted in the Parking lot of an Apartment Complex. Can I sue the Owner/Operator for my Injuries?
Questions like this commonly arise in negligent security cases. If the owner was aware of that such assaults had occurred before and did nothing to address safety issues in the parking lot, the answer may be yes. However, if the injured party knew that such assaults previously occurred in the lot and simply ignored the hazard, that knowledge may hurt the value of any claim they may have. A New Jersey personal injury lawyer can tell you whether or not you have a viable claim that is worth pursuing.
Who can be Sued?
The short answer is anyone whose actions “caused” the injuries. There must be a causal connection between the property owner’s actions or omissions, and the plaintiff’s injuries.
We are New Jersey slip and fall injury lawyers who represent injured people in all New Jersey courts. If you have been injured by a property owner’s negligence, call us at 732-979-2259 or contact us online to discuss your claim and see if you are entitled to financial compensation.