New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyers
NJ LAWSUITS FOR SLIPS, TRIPS, AND FALLS
Slip and fall accidents are more threatening than many people realize – and they happen more than 900 times per hour, every day of the year, in the U.S. If you’re one of the more than eight million people who ended up in the emergency room this year because of slip and fall injuries, you know how painful a slip and fall can be – in so many ways.
Besides the physical pain of the injury, you’re likely to feel frustrated at the loss of normal functioning that affects your daily activities. Financially, factors like extensive medical bills and significant loss of wages continue to hurt your family long after the accident occurred.
SLIP AND FALL: WHAT TO DO
If you’ve just been hurt in a slip and fall accident and need to know what steps to take next, here’s the short version:
- Document the accident by reporting it to the property owner or manager to document that it happened. This may mean filling out a slip and fall incident report form.
- See a doctor or other medical professional promptly. Slip and fall treatment varies because victims can suffer so many different types of injuries, but the sooner you seek help, the better.
- Speak to an attorney for slip and fall accidents as soon as possible about your legal rights. Waiting even a matter of days could undermine your claim if the delay allows property owners to misplace or intentionally cover up evidence such as video surveillance footage.
WHAT ARE SLIP AND FALL CASES?
Commonly called slip and fall claims, these lawsuits encompass any sort of premises liability case that includes a slip, trip, or fall that leads to injury. Premises liability means that the condition of the premises is what causes injuries, making the owner, manager, or other responsible party legally at fault for the accident.
Slip refers to the foot sliding uncontrollably due to a lack of friction on the floor surface. Trip means stumbling or staggering over an obstruction or other obstacle. Both slips and trips can lead to a fall, the impact of which is what’s usually responsible for the most serious injuries.
There’s a distinction between slip and fall accidents and slip and fall lawsuits. While every slip and fall legal case involves an accident, not every slip and fall incident is the grounds for a legal case. To make a successful claim in this area of law, you need evidence of your injury and the property owner’s negligence.
HOW DO SLIP AND FALL CASES WORK?
One of the primary jobs of slip and fall lawyers is to establish the facts of your case that show that you deserve compensation. Generally, these points include:
- Showing that another party is responsible for the accident due to negligence.
- Demonstrating the extent and impact of your injuries to establish how much compensation you are entitled to.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Slip and Fall Injuries in NJ?
You may wonder who you can sue for a slip and fall injury. Generally, anyone who is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the premises where you fell may potentially be liable for your slip and fall injuries. Examples can include:
- Private property owners
- Commercial property owners
- Property managers
- Maintenance companies
- Tenants of rented properties
- State and local governments and municipalities
Slip and fall injuries that happen on private properties owned by others, commercial business premises, or public land may provide the grounds for a claim. The nature of the defendant may affect several aspects of your claim, including how much of a slip and fall payout you may receive and how long you have to pursue a claim.
Slip and Fall Negligence & Duty of Care
What all of these potential defendants have in common is that they have what’s called a “duty of care” to maintain the property in some capacity. This duty extends to the responsibility to keep the property reasonably safe for all visitors and business patrons.
When potential hazards develop on a property, the parties who have a duty of care must address them quickly and appropriately to remedy the situation and prevent injuries. By failing to do so, they are acting negligently, and they become liable, or legally responsible, for the consequences.
Proving your new Jersey slip and fall claim requires proving that the responsible parties met one of the following descriptions:
- Acted careless or negligently in securing the property
- Failed to be reasonably responsible in how they maintained the property and monitored the property
- Could or should have known of the existing hazards which caused a slip and fall, but failed to remedy, warn, or protect against them in a timely fashion
It’s not enough simply to say that the property owner should have done better. The lawyers for slip and fall accidents who represent you must have evidence to illustrate the property owner’s negligence and the failure to live up to this duty of care.
Who Pays for a Slip and Fall?
Our attorneys are no strangers to high-value slip and fall claims, having secured numerous settlements that approach – or top – $1 million. When you hear about these large settlements and jury awards, you might wonder who pays for them.
Typically, compensation for slip and fall lawsuits comes from insurance policies, not individuals or small businesses. What is slip and fall insurance? It’s one name for a type of personal or commercial property insurance that covers many different types of accidents or other liability situations. Like other types of insurance, property insurance has a policy limit, along with other potential limits or exclusions as specified by the contract.
The policy limit of a property owner’s insurance coverage is one factor in determining how much money may be available to you in a slip and fall lawsuit settlement. Other factors include how serious your injuries are, the extent of your damages, and whether the property owner is entirely at fault for the accident.
Are Slip and Fall Cases Hard to Win?
A slip and fall premises liability claim may be more challenging than you think. Too often, fall victims make the mistake of thinking that they can handle the case themselves, only to cost their family thousands of dollars.
Slip and fall lawsuits are difficult to win. They require a great deal of evidence to prove negligence and liability as well as to prove that the injury warrants the compensation you are seeking.
Certainly, some claims are easier than others. When a property owner has been grossly negligent and the injury dramatic, defendants may be less inclined to drag out the claim. However, it’s not unusual for the companies who insure defendants to try to blame the victim, downplay the significance of the injuries or otherwise try to hold onto the money the injured person deserves.
Over our 80 years of practicing slip and fall law, the team at Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari has won some challenging cases. We’ve overcome obstacles and met common slip and fall defenses with a tireless commitment to getting our clients the results they deserve. Yes, slip and fall cases are hard to win, but we’ll make it seem easy by handling everything for you.
COMMON CAUSES OF SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENTS
Although negligence may be the root cause of slip and fall injuries, the more direct cause can vary from one accident to the next. Some of the most common slip, trip, or fall hazards we have encountered in our decades of legal practice include the following:
- Uneven or broken pavement or sidewalks
- Wet or icy exterior walkways
- Wet or slippery interior floors
- Poor lighting
- Damaged flooring (such as rips in a carpet)
- Obstructions or debris on floors or sidewalks
- Unclear, poorly placed, or absent hazard warnings
- Lack of handrails on staircases
- Uneven or poorly maintained stairs
Often, the property owner has taken no steps to warn of the potential danger. In other – somewhat trickier – situations, the actions taken were insufficient to address the danger or even made the situation worse.
For example, a “wet floor” sign permanently left out in a neutral location of a retail store fails to warn customers of the danger of a spill down a specific aisle. Attempted removal of ice and snow buildup that only serves to make the walking surface more slippery and treacherous may actually make the defendant even more liable than if the snow had been left alone.
Where Most Slip and Falls Occur
Due to factors like exposure to the elements and sheer foot traffic, certain types of locations most commonly become the settings of slip and fall accidents. Injured individuals often reach out to us for help after slip and fall accidents at:
- The interior of supermarkets and other retail stores
- The interior of restaurants, from fast-food to fine-dining
- Exterior parking lots and walkways
- Apartment complexes
- The interiors and exteriors of the individual’s workplace
- Cruise ships and hotels
- City properties
While it’s always important to use caution in your daily life, the kind of safety hazards that lead to slip and falls often go unnoticed, even when you are looking where you are going and doing everything right. As a visitor to the property, you couldn’t have known about a safety issue that isn’t clearly marked. You expect these areas to be safe, as you have every right to do, and the harm that results from these safety hazards can be critical.
COMMON SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT INJURIES
The force that a sudden slip or trip combined with the hard impact of a fall to the ground can harm your body in any number of ways. Our slip and fall New Jersey attorneys most often see injuries such as the following occur as a result of accidents like yours:
- Sprains and strains of knees, wrists, and other body parts
- Broken bones, particularly in the arm, leg, ankle, foot, and hip
- Torn ligaments and tendons, especially in the wrist, arm, shoulder, and knee
- Spinal injuries that include herniated or bulging discs
- Head injuries, including potentially severe traumatic brain injuries
- Nerve damage
You might think that a serious injury must involve broken bones, but that isn’t always the case. Tears, disc damage, and nerve damage can all lead to noticeable deficiencies in function as well as a great deal of pain. Sometimes soft tissue injuries can even require surgical intervention to treat.
Don’t fall for the myth that you only have the grounds for a slip and fall lawsuit if the X-ray shows a broken bone. Speak to a law firm that knows how to handle NJ slip and fall claims to really understand your legal options.
WRONGFUL DEATH SLIP AND FALL CLAIMS
In the most extreme cases, the harm that results from a slip and fall accident can be life-threatening. As families grieve for a loved one stolen from them by an accident, they often find many reasons why pursuing a claim makes sense:
- Holding the person who allowed this tragedy to happen accountable for the loss
- Getting answers about what happened to their loved one – and why
- Offsetting the financial impact of the loss
The type of slip and fall claim filed by the surviving family of a fatally injured person is what’s called a wrongful death claim. In these types of claims, our attorneys may be able to seek compensation for monetary costs such as lost wages, medical bills accrued before your family member’s passing, and funeral expenses.
Deadly slip and fall accidents often involve a fall that occurs from a high height, but this isn’t always the case. A fall that leads to severe head trauma, for example, can cause fatal damage to the brain. Even falls that seem to cause milder injuries can turn catastrophic. In one particularly tragic case our slip and fall attorneys handled, the victim underwent surgery to fix the broken bones she had sustained, only to develop post-operative complications, including an infection, that led to her untimely and preventable demise.
If a slip and fall played a part in your loved one’s death, even if medical complications also contributed, your family deserves the opportunity to seek justice for your loss.
GETTING COMPENSATION FOR SLIP AND FALL CLAIM
Ultimately, it’s through financial compensation – money – that the legal system addresses wrongs such as the negligence that causes slip and fall accidents. Compensation isn’t a cure-all for the serious effects of a slip and fall, but often, it can help families through problems such as missing income while being out of work or affording the medical care required for recovery.
Once you put your slip and fall claim in the hands of an experienced law firm, your attorneys should look at all of the ways this injury has affected your life – financially and otherwise – to calculate your damages. Your attorney should strive to get you a settlement that compensates you for every loss you have sustained because of the fall and reflects the full amount of harm you have suffered
Slip and Fall Damages
The precise types and amounts of damages involved in your claim are unique to you. Here are some of the slip and fall damages we routinely pursue when representing victims of premises liability cases:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Permanent injury affecting your daily activities and pastimes
- Scarring and disfigurement
Not all of these types of damages may apply to your situation, and that’s okay. We will get to know you and all of the ways this injury has impacted your family so that we can create a customized calculation of your damages.
Do You Know the Slip and Fall Time Limit?
There’s one more thing you must know about slip and fall claims in New Jersey – and it’s important.
The time you have to pursue a claim is limited – in some instances, to a matter of mere months.
The slip and fall statute of limitations restricts your legal right to pursue a claim. Generally, the statute of limitations for slip and fall and other personal injury situations is two years from the date of the accident. This deadline is strict, and missing it can mean missing out on all future opportunities to seek compensation for the harm that arose from this particular accident.
Some defendants qualify for special exceptions under the law that can further reduce the time you have to proceed with a claim. For many government entities, for example, you may have only a few months to officially notify the defendant that you’re pursuing a claim.
This is one reason why you always want to get a lawyer involved in your case sooner rather than later. The defendant may not volunteer this information. Without understanding all of the complex regulations involved in slip and fall law, there’s a good chance you won’t be aware of this obstacle until it’s too late. Of course, there are also other reasons to get in touch with a lawyer early on, including preserving evidence and reducing the stress of dealing with the claim on your family.
CONTACT AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEY
To find out more about your legal rights and options, you’ll want to speak to a personal injury attorney. Choosing a lawyer with a history of success in this arena of personal injury law is particularly important for getting the settlement you deserve.
The law firm of Blume Forte Fried Zerres & Molinari has been representing New Jersey accident victims for more than 80 years. We have helped thousands of clients across the state secure settlements that fully compensate their injuries. We offer no-cost evaluations of potential slip and fall claims, so finding out your legal options is never out of reach. Call (973) 635-5400 and let us assess your case today.