Do I have a case if I was injured on private property in New Jersey?
People are injured virtually every day and the causes of those injuries can vary. Regardless of the cause, most injuries have one thing in common – expenses. Fortunately, obtaining a financial recovery for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering is not limited to people who have been injured on public property in New Jersey. In fact, many slip and falls and other injuries occur on private properties, some of which result from negligence by the property owner. If you have been injured on private property and the owner is deemed responsible, you could receive compensation for your losses. Our seasoned New Jersey premises liability attorneys represent clients who have suffered injuries at residences, at privately owned businesses and establishments, on private land, in private commercial buildings, and more. If you have grounds for a lawsuit against a private property owner in New Jersey, we can help you seek to hold them accountable and obtain damages for your injuries. Although there are many nuances involved with liability for private property injury suits, our attorneys are thoroughly equipped to handle every aspect of your claim. Call 732-825-6120 for a free consultation today or contact us online to schedule an appointment at our local offices in Monmouth County.
When is a Private Property Private Owner Liable for Injuries in NJ?
When a person is injured on private property, the owner may be responsible if certain criteria are met. Simply put, a property owner has a duty to invited guests (also known as invitees) and people who are on the property with the owner’s consent (or licensees) when it comes to ensuring their safety. If the owner fails to take appropriate measures to prevent or address potential hazards, he or she may be considered negligent, meaning responsible for any injuries that occur. As more fully explained below, private property owners can be responsible if they ignore the risk of harm to their guests.
Proving Negligence to Ensure Safety of Private Property
In order for a person to financially recover for injuries sustained on private property, the injured person must prove that the owner was negligent in some way. Property owners have a duty to act as a reasonable person would and to responsibly care for their premises to maintain its safety. Examples of an owner acting in a negligent manner include: failing to warn a guest of a danger, failing to repair a potential danger, or ignoring a potential danger, all of which may result in injuries.
Failure to repair a known potential hazard: knowledge of risk
Some property owners are aware of a risk on their property and simply fail to fix the item or address the condition that poses a risk. For example, if a homeowner knows that the railing leading up to their home is not secured properly and a bolt has come loose at the base, they may be responsible if someone is injured. Liability attaches to the property owner because they had knowledge of the broken railing and failed to take steps to have it repaired. Even in a situation in which the property owner does not have the funds to fix something that needs repair, the owner still has an inexpensive solution: warn their guests about the hazardous condition.
Duty to warn of a hazardous condition
When a private property owner is aware of a potential danger on their property, they have a duty to warn an invited guest or another person allowed to be on the premises about that danger. In the example above, had the owner warned their guest about the railing, the injury could have been avoided. The owner may not be considered negligent if they had simply informed the guest of the needed repairs for the railing and cautioned them to avoid the area.
Failing to inspect the property: ignorance of a risk
In some cases involving accidents on private properties, the property owner may not have been aware of a particular risk to a guest but should have known that the risk existed. The owner must still act as a reasonable person would in caring for their property, regularly inspecting it, and ensuring its proper maintenance for the purposes of safety. For example, if a private commercial or residential property owner knew that there was a snow or ice storm the day before and failed to salt or de-ice the walkways on their property, they would be liable if someone slips and falls on ice. The owner is not even exempt from liability simply because they did not go outside to know that it was icy. Considering the weather conditions, the owner can assume that snow or ice will build up and should maintain their property in a safe manner.
Assumed Risks on Private Properties
Many properties have structures or objects that create a risk of injury. Proper precautions should be taken to avoid increased risks of injuries due to these assumed risks. Some common examples of things that pose an increased risk of injuries on private properties include:
- Swimming pools
- Animals: dogs and other pets
- Play structures: swing sets, jungle gyms, etc.
Injured on Private Property in NJ, Can I Sue?
If you have been injured on private property in New Jersey, you may be entitled to compensation for the financial, physical, mental and emotional costs of your injuries. In situations involving homes, it is likely that the property owner has homeowner’s insurance to cover the cost of such losses and they may even bear additional liability. With both commercial and residential properties, you may recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, the cost of rehabilitation, any necessary future accommodations such as wheelchairs or ramps in your home or vehicle, and the mental and emotional trauma caused by the accident. The first thing you should do when considering a lawsuit for injuries on a private property in New Jersey is to consult with a knowledgeable attorney. The dedicated New Jersey personal injury lawyers on our team can assist you in dealing with all of the complexities of the legal process. We have vast experience with premises liability and other types of personal injury and we will use this command of the law to seek the best possible results in your case. To speak with a lawyer free of charge about your accident on private property in New Jersey, contact us at 732-825-6120. We are available 24/7 to provide you with answers and a free case evaluation.