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Who is responsible when someone slips and falls?

| Jan 13, 2021 | Personal Injury

Winter is just around the corner, which means that we are all going to face some slippery sidewalks or unmaintained walkways. This can lead to severe slip-and-fall injuries to the head, back and other parts of the body. It can happen even when the victim is wearing appropriate footwear.

Safe environment obligation

The person in control of the property must clear obstacles or mark them as hazardous for those visiting the property or walking by on a sidewalk. The visitor may hold the responsible party liable if they slip and fall because of a poorly maintained walkway.

Determining fault

In New Jersey, the person in control of the property must be at least 51% at fault for the injury. There are several factors weighed to determine fault:

  • Was the visitor invited or legally visiting the property, such as to make a delivery?
  • How long was the obstacle (such as snow or ice) unaddressed by the person in control of the property?
  • Was the site of the injury likely to cause a slip-and-fall if not maintained?
  • Was the visitor at least partially at fault?
  • What sort of footwear was the person on the property wearing?

Is the property owner responsible?

Homeowners are responsible for maintaining walkways, sidewalks and driveways on their property. The issue becomes more complicated if the incident happened on property owned by one entity and occupied by another. In a case like this, it becomes a matter of who is in control of the property and responsible for its care and upkeep—this is likely included in the lease agreement. Either way, a commercial property owner or tenant has a greater responsibility to provide safe passage to customers or guests using parking lots and walkways before entering the building. Municipalities in New Jersey that own and maintain the sidewalk in front of residence or business are not liable, nor is the adjacent owner or occupant.

These cases can be complicated

Commercial property occupants or owners are likely to dispute how at fault they were, so it is crucial that injured victims speak with an attorney who handles slip and fall injuries here in New Jersey. They understand the applicable laws and can help victims get the compensation they deserve.