Sidewalk Slip and Fall Lawyers Serving Ocean County and throughout New Jersey
Sidewalks are virtually everywhere in New Jersey: in residential neighborhoods, near parking lots, outside retail shopping centers, in city parks, and almost anywhere else where people can be found in the state. These walkways are meant to provide a safe space for pedestrians, bicyclists, and others to move freely and without endangering anyone else. Unfortunately, the prevalence of sidewalks throughout the state means that sidewalk accidents are quite common, particularly slip and falls on sidewalks. These accidents typically happen because a sidewalk was improperly maintained by those responsible. Sidewalks must be kept in reasonably good condition so that people can safely walk on them, in accordance with state and local laws. This is true whether the sidewalk is located in a local park, next to a city street, in a suburban neighborhood, or outside a mall or other retail shopping complex. Despite the intent of the laws, sidewalk falls and other accidents happen on a regular basis, often resulting in severe injuries.
If you have been injured in a slip and fall on a sidewalk, or any other type of accident on an unsafe sidewalk in NJ, you should contact an experienced New Jersey Sidewalk Fall Lawyer to better understand your legal options. Our highly skilled attorneys assist clients who suffer injuries on sidewalks in Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Atlantic County, and throughout New Jersey and we are here to help. Contact us today at 732-825-6120 to discuss your case in a free consultation. We can examine the unique circumstances surrounding your fall, determine who is responsible, and aggressively advocate for the compensation you deserve.
Who is Liable for a Slip and Fall on a New Jersey Sidewalk?
New Jersey has a robust set of rules and case law that apply to sidewalk injuries and provide guidance on who may be held responsible for those injuries. To establish liability after being injured on a sidewalk, you must first determine who owns or is responsible for maintaining the safety of the sidewalk. If the sidewalk is privately owned by a business, that party is responsible for keeping the sidewalk reasonably clear of dangerous defects or conditions that might cause injury. If the sidewalk is public, meaning it adjoins a public road, is on publicly-owned property, or is controlled by a public entity, who owns the property adjacent to the sidewalk will determine who is liable for your injuries.
When a Commercial Property Owner is Responsible for Maintaining a Sidewalk
Under New Jersey law, a commercial property owner has a duty to maintain the sidewalks which are adjacent to its commercial establishment. This means that the commercial business is responsible for keeping the sidewalk reasonably free of dangerous defects that might hurt passersby or customers of the business. The business benefits from foot traffic to and from the commercial property, and the business is thus expected to ensure that the public sidewalk adjoining the business is reasonably safe. This means that a commercial property owner must inspect the sidewalks bordering their establishment and repair any dangerous conditions. If the commercial property owner fails to inspect and repair any defects in a sidewalk that is next to their building, and someone is injured, the commercial establishment may be held liable.
What if I’m Injured on a Public Sidewalk?
In most slip and fall accident cases, the victim must prove that negligence by the property owner caused the accident. Since sidewalks are often considered public property, liability for a sidewalk slip and fall may attach to the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. This is known as a slip and fall on public property. Typically, the government entity that is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the sidewalk will be the state entity that is responsible for the road that the sidewalk is adjacent to. In other words, if the sidewalk is attached to a local city street, the city will likely have the responsibility to maintain the sidewalk. If the sidewalk is attached to a county road, the county in which the sidewalk exists will likely be the party responsible for maintaining and repairing the sidewalk. Finally, if the sidewalk is attached to a state road, the state of New Jersey will likely be the entity who has the responsibility of maintaining and repairing the sidewalk.
Keep in mind that it could be possible – or even necessary – to file lawsuits against multiple parties for your sidewalk accident injuries. For instance, the sidewalk may be adjacent to a city street but travel over a state highway. A knowledgeable attorney can examine the details of your case and determine the identities of the defendants who were at fault for your injuries.
What if my Fall Occurred outside of Residence or other Private Property?
If private, noncommercial property borders the public sidewalk, it may be more difficult to prove that the private party who lives on or owns the noncommercial adjoining land was responsible for your slip and fall. To hold this private, noncommercial party responsible for your injury on a public sidewalk, you must prove that the private owner caused the condition that made the sidewalk unsafe and that led to your injury on the sidewalk. In other words, they must have damaged the sidewalk or otherwise caused the hazard. For example, case law has noted that if a tree planted on private property causes the sidewalk to become uneven due to the growth of the tree’s roots, the landowner who planted the tree, raised the sidewalk, and thereby caused someone to trip and hurt themselves may potentially be found liable for the accident.
Can I obtain Compensation for Sidewalk Accident Injuries?
If you can establish that the party responsible for maintaining a sidewalk failed to keep that sidewalk clear of dangerous conditions, and you suffered injury caused by those dangerous conditions, you may be able to recover what are called “money damages” in court. Specifically, you may be awarded money to reimburse you for medical expenses that you paid in treating a broken leg, wrist, or other injury caused by a fall on an unsafe sidewalk. You may further be awarded money for time you had to take off from work. These types of awards are known as economic damages. Additionally, you may recover non-economic damages for your pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to explain your chances of recovering damages in more detail based on the facts of your particular case.
Contact a Toms River NJ Sidewalk Injury Lawyer for Answers
If you have been injured as a result of a dangerous sidewalk, you should contact our New Jersey Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers as soon as possible, regardless of the specific factual circumstances leading to your sidewalk accident. Our attorneys represent individuals who have been injured as a result of a unsafe sidewalks throughout New Jersey, including in New Brunswick, Edison, Atlantic City, Toms River, Freehold, Jackson, Lakewood, and Point Pleasant. Call our office at 732-825-6120 or reach out online to speak with an experienced attorney about your injuries on a sidewalk. We provide consultations free of charge.