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What Are the Elements of a Slip and Fall Case in New Jersey?

caution wet floor sign in a grocery store.

Trips, Slips, and Falls May Sound Simple, But Claims Can Be Complex.

Trips and falls happen all of the time. Tripping over loose wires. Slipping on ice. Falling over debris carelessly discarded in a walkway. Each of these examples can potentially cause a serious injury—especially if the person hits their head. Common slip, trip, and fall injuries include broken ankles, spine injuries, and bone fractures. Eye injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are also common. Sometimes, falls are fatal.

Slipping and tripping hazards are truly dangerous. That's why property owners have the legal responsibility to prevent falling accidents. Unfortunately, not all of them do. Some owners are negligent.

If you were injured in a New Jersey trip and fall or slip and fall accident, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries, lost wages, pain, and other damages. We can analyze your situation and tell you about your options.

Shebell & Shebell, LLC is a leading New Jersey personal injury law firm with offices in Shrewsbury and Newark. Our slip and fall accident lawyers can guide you through the complex premises liability claim process. In addition, we can take on the insurance company while you heal and fight for the compensation you deserve. If you were injured in a New Jersey slip and fall, contact us for a free case consultation.

Elements of a New Jersey premises liability claim

Slip and falls fall under the legal category of "premises liability," which is all about the responsibility of a property owner or manager to keep the premises safe. Therefore, in a successful slip and fall claim, you must establish the following:

  • You were owed a duty of care - You will have to establish that the property owner owed you a duty of care, a legally defined safety standard. Basically, property owners are required to provide visitors with a safe environment. Therefore, they must address trip, slip, and fall risks by removing or fixing the hazards and/or warning others of the danger. The level of care a property owner must provide depends on the circumstances.
  • Your invitation status - Generally, there are three types of visitors to a property: invitee, licensee, and trespasser. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to those who are explicitly or implicitly invited to the property, like customers in a store. Licensees, who are on the premises as social guests or for their own purposes, are owed a lower duty of care, with the lowest duty owed to trespassers. However, not all visitors fall neatly into these categories, so the courts have some discretion when determining the duty of care.
  • A safety hazard existed - You must prove there was a hazardous or dangerous condition on the property, such as a slippery surface, debris-cluttered walkway, or poorly maintained stairs. Hazards could be located in walkways, staircases, sidewalks, parking lots, aisles, entryways, and other areas people would be expected to use. Property owners are required to remove or repair safety hazards. If this is not possible, appropriate measures must be taken to prevent accidents, including warning others about the risks.
  • Owner's negligence - You must establish that the hazard existed due to the property owner's negligence. There are a few ways to establish this: the owner created the hazard, the owner knew about the hazard and didn't address it, or the owner should have known about the hazard and didn't address it.
  • The hazard caused your accident - You must prove that you were injured on the property by the hazard cited. This may be done with witness statements, surveillance footage, photos, police reports, medical records, receipts, and other pieces of evidence.
  • The accident caused you to be injured - Proving your injuries is usually accomplished through official medical reports, documentation of treatment, expert medical testimony, and your own powerful story of how the accident has affected your life.
  • The injuries caused personal financial loss - You must prove that your injury was severe enough to cause you a financial loss, such as due to medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services, among other costs.

Let us handle the insurance company for you.

As we noted earlier, a slip and fall or trip and fall accident may seem simple, but proving your claim and negotiating with a veteran insurance adjuster to get the compensation you deserve is often complex.

Shebell & Shebell, LLC  has a reputation for thorough investigations that dig up vital evidence to support strong cases the insurance company can't deny. We negotiate aggressively to get injured accident victims maximum compensation.

Our property accident lawyers get results. We have recovered millions of dollars for injured people across New Jersey. If you were injured on someone else's property in New Jersey, contact us for a free case consultation to learn more about how we can help you.

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