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 a slip and fall 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.
Contact a Cherry Hill New Jersey slip and fall lawyer
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 case, 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, don’t sign a medical authorization or give a statement of any kind to the opposing insurer. Contact us by phone or email for a free consultation and case assessment at our Cherry Hill office. 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.