New Jersey Slip, Trip, Misstep, and Fall Lawyers Protect Your Rights

According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Data collected by the Center in 2013 alone, showed that roughly 2.5 million older Americans are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries.  That same study showed that more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of falls, while over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of fall injuries, most often due to head injuries or broken hips.

In New Jersey, a commercial landowner or business owner owes a duty to care for people invited onto their property.  The owner must inspect the property to look for potentially dangerous trip, slip and fall injuries, and then use care to correct any potential hazards. When companies, businesses, or landowners do not do their job to prevent trip, slip, misstep, and fall hazards, and you are injured, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.

There are many different potential causes that can make someone to slip, trip, misstep, and fall.  If you suffered a slip and fall injury, we will examine the facts of your case to determine whether there is a legitimate claim against the property owner, maintenance company, snow removal company, or property management company to attempt to compensate you for your injuries.  In many instances, we will retain the services of an licensed professional engineer to determine whether the company complied with applicable safety standards, such as ANSI, ASTM, or the ADA regulations.

Shebell & Shebell Will Fight to Hold Negligent Parties Responsible for Your Injuries

A slip hazard occurs when a person’s foot or feet slide out across a walking surface, causing a person to fall or twist their body.  Slipping hazards may be caused by many conditions, including ice, a liquid substance on the floor, a loose rug, grease spots, a waxy floor, or any flooring surface that does not provide adequate grip or surface friction.  Unless a person expects that a floor surface poses a potential hazard, people will rarely, if ever, look down continuously when walking, causing a slip and fall.

A trip hazard typically exists when there is a raised, vertical face that projects upwards from an otherwise-expected flat surface, such as on a concrete walkway, sidewalk, carpet, or any other surface that prevents a person’s foot from moving forward.  Even slight changes in the height of a walking surface has the ability to cause a person to fall.  Nationally-recognized standards, such as ANSI, ASTM, and the ADA require that any change in elevation greater than  1/4 inch must be corrected by the responsible party.

A misstep hazard is any other hazardous condition that causes any unexpected change in elevation, causing a person to fall.  Examples of missteps include, a change in elevation from one step on a stairway to the next, an unexpected hole, a poorly lighted area that does not show a depression in a walkway, or an unguarded or unprotected man-made hole.

Slip, trip, and misstep hazards can occur virtually anywhere people walk, pass, or travel. Places such as malls, supermarkets, or department stores may have slippery floors.  Restaurants, ranging from fast food restaurants to fine-dining establishments, may not maintain their property by failing to provide adequate lighting, allowing a slip or trip hazard to go undetected.  Apartment complexes, condominium association complexes, or underground garages may not be lighted properly, may not repair holes or trip hazards, or fail to warn people of potential hazards.

A property owner, management company, or landlord is required to inspect and maintain their property and keep it free from dangers or hazards. Failure to do so can result in liability if an injury results. A defective condition that causes someone to slip, trip, misstep and fall can lead to liability on the part of the property owner.  Despite well-established codes or standards that spell out the rules that are meant to keep us safe, some property or business owners often cut corners to try to save themselves money.  This mentality puts all of us at risk for injury.  This is another important area of injury law that we firmly believe keeps our community safer, by holding those people or companies accountable for harm they cause.

The defense attorneys, hired by the insurance company, will usually blame the person who falls for not paying attention to where the person is walking.  Although we believe that personal accountability is essential in all cases, the defense argument is nonsense, in our experience.  From our human experience, backed by science, very few, if any people look down when walking or running, unless a person is expecting a potential fall hazard.  For example, if I’m going for a run in the woods, or on an icy roadway, especially in poor lighting, I am looking for anything that can cause me harm. If, on the other hand, I’m walking in an area that most people are not expecting to trip, slip, or misstep, such as on a walkway, sidewalk, in a restaurant, or shopping store, the human brain relaxes, and your “guard is down”.  You are not looking for or expecting a problem or potential fall hazard.  Also, the ability of a person to perceive a trip hazard and react to prevent a fall is often a split second, at most.  Often times, the defendant’s inaction in failing to care for its property takes several years and is easily preventable.

If a slip, trip, misstep and fall injury occurs in your workplace, a workers’ compensation claim may also be filed. A worker may also be able to file a claim for damages against other parties whose carelessness or neglect may have caused the injury.

Common examples of premises liability that we see are listed below.  If you have been injured as a result of a dangerous or defective condition of property, please contact us for a free consultation.

  • Cracked sidewalks
  • Uneven pavement
  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Broken or missing stairs
  • Missing handrails
  • Dangerous stairwells
  • Failure to clear snow or ice
  • Potholes
  • Inadequate or dim lighting
  • Construction site accidents
  • Falling objects
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Failure to warn of hazardous or dangerous conditions
  • Failure to correct a hazardous or dangerous condition
  • Tenant slip, trip and fall injuries caused by landlord neglect

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Thomas Shebell was an A M A Z I N G attorney for our personal injury case. He made himself available to all our questions and concerns during the whole process. We were very nervous about it all and he set our fears to rest. You instantly believe in him after your first meeting. He was serious yet empathetic, had superb legal knowledge, and great judgement. His staff is also top notch. Words cannot describe how wonderful a lawyer we believe Thomas Shebell to be and would highly recommend him.
Posted by Michele on December 8

My hero, my attorney who is always there for me!

Tom Shebell has represented me and my family members in several cases. Tom is the most prepared lawyer I have ever seen, and demands respect in and outside of the court room. His staff is amazing and never makes you feel as if you are bothering them. I always feel that I am his most important client, and he always takes my call. If he is busy, I am reassured that he will get right back to me and he does. His knowledge of the law and research on your case is impecable, and will never give up until he gets the results that he feels are the best for you. Although he is the most professional attorney I have ever worked with, he refers you call him Tom (not Mr. Shebell), and I am most comfortable calling him Tommy. His cell phone is on his answering service, to comfort you and assuring you that you can reach him if necessary, no matter what. I will never retain another lawyer, unless it is a case that he cannot handle. That has never happened to me. Unfortunately, Tommy is handling a very emotional case for my family, and whenever we discuss it our meet together he is very comforting to us. For a family man, and extremely busy attorney to handle matters like this, it truly takes a special type of person, and extraordiinary human being. If anyone take my advise, Tom Shebell, III is the only attorney that should be called first, and believe me you will not make another call. As I said in my title, he is my true "hero"!
Posted by Sandi on September 17

I am Grateful I was able to have Thomas Shebell for my Lawyer

Thomas Shebell and his staff were very good to work with. They were always professional, but also very down to earth and real. I always felt that my best interest was their main concern. I was always able to call with questions and concerns and was never made to wait or to feel like I was inconveniencing anyone. I always felt that they knew instantly who I was and what was going on with my case. In the end, Thomas was able to get the best possible settlement for me. I am very grateful to have been treated like my case truly mattered to them.
Posted by Toni on March 28

Ferocious Fighter

Tom Shebell and his firm came highly recommended by several reputable people in the community. I come from a family deeply rooted in law enforcement, so I greatly appreciate that Tom grew up with the law as well, hailing from a family of highly respected attorneys. He easily grasped the complexity of my case and eased my concerns, while ferociously fighting for me. One of the moments that stands out to me the most was when I voiced a concern over possible retaliation and he said, "they're going to have come through me first." I wholeheartedly believed him then and now. There is no one else I'd want in my corner than Tom Shebell.
Posted by on February 23

A League Of His Own

Mere words cannot express my gratitude to Thomas F Shebell III. He took on a case, that other attorneys would shy away from and fought vehemently for my husband, myself and our daughter. His tenacity is only surpassed by his kindness and compassion for his clients well-being. I would recommend Mr. Shebell III to anyone who may need an attorney to guide them through a difficult time and see them through to a successful end. Many thanks again to him and his staff!!