Slip and falls on ice or snow can cause a wide range of severe injuries
Every winter brings snow and freezing weather to New Jersey, leading to slippery sidewalks, parking lots, and other outdoor areas. People are injured every year in slip and fall accidents each winter – and many of these accidents are preventable. They often occur because commercial property owners fail to keep areas clear of ice and snow.
Under New Jersey law, commercial property owners and business owners have a legal responsibility to remove ice and snow from their premises and public walkways adjacent to their premises to protect people from harm. This includes stores, restaurants, cafes, professional offices, and apartment complexes.
Common winter slip and fall injuries include broken bones, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, fractured vertebrae or herniated discs, hip injuries, torn knee ligaments, and dislocated shoulders.
Recovering compensation after a slip and fall can be challenging
As a result of their injuries, victims may need lab tests, imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans, surgery, hospitalization, medication, physical therapy, home health care, and months of follow-up visits with doctors. They may be forced to miss time from work, and expenses can add up quickly.
A person injured in a slip and fall accident on commercial property has the right to seek legal compensation for the damages they suffered. But the process can be complicated.
Property and business owners may deny responsibility. For example, they may try to argue that it was obvious that a sidewalk was slippery or that they posted a sign warning people to watch for ice. Or owners will try to blame victims by claiming they weren't paying attention or were wearing inappropriate footwear for snowy conditions. (Under New Jersey's comparative negligence system, this could reduce victims' compensation.)
Insurance companies often try to minimize compensation by disputing the seriousness of injuries or trying to prove that they were pre-existing.
There can also be multiple parties involved, such as property owners, businesses that rent from them, and companies that have the snow-removal contract. In addition, each party can have its own lawyer and insurance carrier, further complicating claims.
What to do if you slip and fall on ice or snow on commercial property
- Get medical attention as soon as possible. It's important for a doctor to examine you so your injuries can be diagnosed and treated. Your injuries will also be documented.
- Report your injuries to the property or business owner. Just stick to the facts and explain what happened.
- Document the accident. If possible, take photos of the area where you fell from different angles and any visible injuries you have. Also, get the names and contact information of any witnesses.
- Talk to an attorney. An experienced New Jersey premises liability injury lawyer can review the details of your accident and go over your legal options.
The attorneys at Shebell & Shebell, LLC are ready to help. We fight for the injured in Shrewsbury, Newark, and communities throughout New Jersey. If you were hurt in an outdoor slip and fall accident, contact us to schedule a free consultation.