Slip and fall and trip and fall accidents are more common than you might think. People frequently fall as a result of slipping on foreign substances or highly waxed floors in stores, supermarkets, office buildings, and other public spaces, slipping on ice and snow on sidewalks and driveways, in parking lots and going up or down exterior steps, tripping on uneven sidewalks, deteriorated driveways, steps, walkways and parking lots, poorly maintained or situated doormats and area rugs and a host of other dangerous conditions.
The liability of a property owner or occupier for injuries occurring on the property depends in large part on the status of the injured person, such as invitee, licensee or trespasser. For each of these categories, there is a specific duty owed by the property owner or occupier.
An invitee is someone invited or permitted to be on the property for a purpose of the property owner or occupier. The invitation can be either express or implied. A property owner or occupier owes a duty to an invitee to exercise reasonable care to make the premises safe. This would include taking reasonable steps to either correct hazardous conditions the owner or occupier knows about or, by the exercise of reasonable care, would discover, or to give warning to the invitee of such conditions. The basic duty of a proprietor of premises to which the public is invited for business purposes of the proprietor is to exercise reasonable care for the safety of the customers.
A licensee is someone who is permitted by the owner to be on the property and is present for his/her own purposes. The duty of a property owner to a licensee is to avoid willful acts that result in injuries and to either warn of any dangerous conditions on the property that the owner has knowledge of, and the licensee is unaware of and is not likely to observe, or make such condition reasonably safe. The property owner’s duty to a social guest would be the same as a licensee.
A trespasser is someone who enters the premises of another without a right to do so. An owner or occupier of property owes a duty to a trespasser to refrain from willful acts that might injure the trespasser.
The proprietor of a store has a duty to take reasonable steps to keep the premises reasonably safe for its customers. This would include things such as keeping the aisles free from obstructions and keeping the floors free from foreign substances as well as making sure floor mats and rugs are properly placed and in good condition. In supermarkets, the most common causes of slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are spilled liquids and loose food items on the floor. The proprietor has a duty to make reasonable inspections to discover hazardous conditions. Many slip and fall and trip and fall accidents occur outside the premises. These can be the result of icy or snow-covered sidewalks and parking lots, deteriorated walkways or stairs, uneven sidewalks, etc. and can be due to poor maintenance or construction defects.
You should consult with an attorney as soon as possible following a slip and fall or trip and fall accident. Your attorney will put the store on notice of the claim and request that any surveillance video or other evidence be preserved. It is also important to try to document the dangerous condition in case the store takes subsequent remedial measures to repair it. In many slip and fall and trip and fall cases, particularly those in which the accident occurred in a parking lot or on a sidewalk or stairway, an expert witness might be required to prove liability. Consulting an attorney early will ensure that an expert can be consulted before there are any changes to the property. At Pezzano Mickey & Bornstein, we are experienced in handling all types of slip and fall and trip and fall cases.
For more information on Slip & Fall Or Trip & Fall Injuries In New Jersey, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (908) 923-0020 today.
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