Elements to prove in a slip and fall case
Determining Liability for a New Jersey Slip & Fall Accident
When a person suffers a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, they may immediately assume that they have a legal claim for compensation against the owner of the property. However, that is often not the case. Slip and fall law can be very complex depending on the circumstances of an accident. For example, it may not be clear who was responsible for the condition that caused the slip and fall accident to occur. For example, the property where the accident occurred may be owned by one party but rented out to another party who was contractually responsible for correcting the condition that caused the accident. It is critical to first establish which party was responsible for maintaining the condition of the premises where the accident occurred.
There are several elements that a slip and fall accident victim must prove to establish that he or she has a viable legal claim for compensation.
Duty to the Victim
The party in control of the property, usually the owner or an occupier of the property, owes a duty to persons who traverse the property. The exact duty owed to a person depends on his or her status on the property. Most people are either invitees (such as patrons of a restaurant or store) or licensees (such as a utility worker or door-to-door salesman). Invitees are owed a higher duty by a property owner or occupier, who must keep their property in a reasonably safe condition; conversely, a property owner or occupier only owes a licensee a duty to warn of a dangerous condition that creates an unreasonable risk of harm if the owner or occupier knows about it and the licensee is not likely to discover it. A third category of persons are trespassers, whom property owners or occupiers owe no duty except to refrain from intentionally or recklessly inflicting harm.
Knowledge of the Dangerous or Hazardous Condition
Many slip and fall cases center on whether the property owner or occupier had knowledge of the dangerous or hazardous condition that caused the accident. In the absence of evidence that a property owner or occupier had actual knowledge of the condition, many slip and fall claimants look to prove that there were inadequate maintenance procedures or that the property owner or occupier failed to follow their maintenance procedures, arguing that if they had they would have discovered the condition that caused the accident. It is also necessary to prove that the responsible party knew or had reasonable suspicion that a person could have been harmed by the condition at issue.
In addition to proving knowledge, it may also be necessary to prove that the property owner or occupier had reasonable opportunity to correct or remedy the condition. For example, if a shop owner discovers a spill and leaves to grab a mop and a patron immediately slips on the spill, the shop may argue that it did not have reasonable opportunity to clean the spill and therefore should not be liable.
Finally, in order to have a viable legal claim it is necessary for a slip and fall victim to prove that he or she has suffered some form of compensable damages. If a person was injured in the fall, medical expenses and even pain and suffering may be sufficient to satisfy this requirement. However, if a slip and fall victim waits too long to seek treatment, the responsible party may try to argue that the victim’s injuries were not the result of the slip and fall.
Contact a Clark Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Slip and Fall Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a slip and fall in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Team Law represent clients injured because of slip and falls in Clifton, Trenton, Camden, Passaic, and throughout New Jersey. Call (866) 917-5611 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 136 Central Ave., Clark, NJ 07066, as well as offices in West New York, Perth Amboy, Edison, Summit, Newark, New Brunswick, Orange, Plainfield, and Jersey City.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.