Aside from auto accidents, slip-and-falls and trip-and-falls are the most frequently litigated personal injury cases in New Jersey. These types of accidents can happen anywhere. They can vary from a slip on an icy sidewalk in January to a trip on a dry cracked or broken sidewalk in July. They can occur in a Walmart or in a mom and pop convenience store. A person might trip in a pothole in a parking lot or slip on loose carpeting on a stairway.
Injuries From Slip and Falls and Trip and Falls
Slip-and-falls usually result from ice, water, oil or food products on a surface that people walk on. They also often occur from broken or cracked surface that has not been maintained or fixed. Victims of slip and falls usually fall backward and injure their head, spine, pelvis, hands, wrists and shoulders. With trip-and-falls, people ordinarily fall forward and typically suffer head, facial dental, neck chest, hand and shoulder injuries.
Who is Liable For a Slip and Fall Accident?
Both slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases are brought under the law of premises liability and negligence. Sometimes a plaintiff might be able to show that an owner or occupier of property knew about a dangerous condition and failed to take reasonable measures to remedy it. In fact, a Cherry Hill Township ordinance states that residents are responsible for fixing and/or replacing damaged sidewalks and curbs. At other times, the plaintiff might show that the owner or occupier should have known about the dangerous condition. That’s when a reasonable person who maintains the property would have discovered the condition and repaired it. Then there are times that the owner or occupier created the dangerous condition. Examples of creating a dangerous condition could include leaving tools or an extension cord across a sidewalk of walking path.
Problems with Slip and Fall Injury Claims
The insurer of the person or business entity that owned or occupied the property where you fell will do whatever it legally can do to reduce its possible financial exposure in any claim against it. That’s how insurance companies make money. They cash premium checks, and then they pay as little as possible or even nothing on claims. Expect to be treated with utter disdain if you try to represent yourself in a claim involving a fall. Remember, the insurance company has lawyers working for them!
In trying to be reasonable, you’re likely to make certain mistakes along the way that will harm your case. The biggest mistake is cooperating with the insurance company. New Jersey law doesn’t require you to cooperate with an opposing insurance company when you have a personal injury claim pending against its insured person or business. By cooperating with that insurer, you’re probably giving it more facts that it can use to defend its case.
The simplest defense possible in slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases is that the claimant simply wasn’t watching or looking where he or she was going. Sometimes this is referred to as the plaintiff was not using “reasonable care” themselves in preventing the accident or injury. The next defense is that the plaintiff should not have been at the location where he or she got hurt anyway, even arguing that the plaintiff was a “trespasser.” What comes to issue is that just about all slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall cases involve some degree of negligence on behalf of the plaintiff. Under New Jersey comparative negligence law, if the plaintiff is found to be 51% or more at fault, the plaintiff loses.
Cherry Hill Snow and Ice Slip and Fall Accidents
Snow, sleet and ice come with winter in New Jersey. Those weather conditions make it difficult to get around outside, especially if you’re walking. Temperatures can fluctuate from below freezing to above freezing. That means snow and ice where people walk keeps thawing and then freezing again. Without proper maintenance, pedestrian areas like sidewalks and parking lots get dangerous. That’s when slip-and-falls occur, and people get injured. If a slip-and-fall victim is injured as a result of the negligence of an owner or occupier of real estate, that victim might be eligible for compensation.
If you were injured after slipping and falling on snow or ice in Trenton, Cherry Hill or anywhere in New Jersey, contact one of our nearby slip and fall lawyers today for a free, confidential consultation.
In New Jersey, it matters where a slip-and-fall on snow and ice occurs. One of the issues is whether the property was residential or commercial. The general rule is that the owner of a single family private residence has no duty at all to remove natural accumulations of snow and ice from their property. However, under New Jersey law, a homeowner may be fined for failing to remove snow and ice in accordance with local municipal law. Every township or municipality has different laws regarding snow and ice removal for sidewalks. A Cherry Hill Township ordinance requires residents to remove snow within 48 hours of daylight following a snowfall. If a resident or homeowner removes snow, they must do it in a reasonably safe manner. They can’t make matters worse.
Owners and occupiers of commercial property must protect the public from foreseeable injuries. That includes removing the hazards to pedestrians that are created by snow and ice. Failure to remove snow and ice coupled with a slip-and-fall could result in liability for a commercial owner or occupier of real estate. Who had control of the property where the slip-and-fall occurred might be pivotal in the liability context, but even a snow removal business or a renter might be held liable for slip-and-fall injuries. In fact, many times a lawsuit can be brought against both the snow removal contractor and the property owner for not properly removing the snow and/or not properly salting the ice on a sidewalk of parking lot.
Can I Handle My Own Injury Claim?
If you were injured in a slip-and-fall accident on snow or ice, taking on a multi-billion dollar insurance company by yourself will probably turn into a series of big mistakes. The resulting harm is likely to prejudice your case, and that harm might be irreparable. The law doesn’t require you to cooperate with the insurer on the other side of your case. You’re under no legal duty to provide it with a medical authorization or any kind of statement. They only intend on using those against you in the future.
Contact a Slip & Fall Attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ
Once somebody makes an adverse claim against an insurance company, they’re not in good hands or with a good neighbor anymore. Sure, the insurer’s representative might be courteous and friendly, but remember that it’s his or her objective to pay as little as possible or even nothing on your claim. Without us, expect a minimal offer of settlement. If we’re retained to represent you in your slip and fall lawsuit in Cherry Hill, our objective is to maximize any settlement or verdict that we obtain on your behalf.
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall in Trenton, Cherry Hill, Camden, Gloucester Township, Vineland, Washington Township, Evesham, Egg Harbor Township, Mount Laurel, or anywhere in New Jersey or Pennslyvania, don’t sign a medical authorization or give a statement of any kind to the opposing insurer. Contact a slip & fall attorney in Cherry Hill, NJ at The Pearce Law Firm Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers P.C. online or call (856) 205-4936 for a free consultation and case assessment. We want to be on your side. Don’t worry about needing to pay money to retain us either. We only get paid legal fees if we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. Think twice before trying to represent yourself. The opposing insurer has seen thousands of people who tried to do exactly that.
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