Slipped and Fell on a Wet Surface in New Jersey?
When you visit someone else’s property, you expect the premises to be safe. Moreover, you expect that the property owner will have taken the steps necessary to ensure that the premises do not have any hazardous conditions that might cause a slip and fall accident. One of the main causes of slip and fall accidents in New Jersey is a wet surface or wet ground. These types of falls often happen in supermarkets, malls, restaurants, and retail stores where the floors are frequently cleaned by employees. Although some victims of slip and falls on wet floors manage to avoid serious injury, others are not so lucky. A slip and fall on a wet or slippery surface can result in significant injuries that leave the victim with costly medical bills, lost wages due to time off from work, and pain and suffering during the physical recovery period.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident on a wet surface in New Jersey, the experienced NJ personal injury lawyers at our firm can help you get the compensation you need, want, and deserve. Contact us now at (732) 303-7857 to schedule a free initial consultation about your case.
What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents on a Wet Floors?
Wet surfaces can occur for any number of reasons. Many times, a slippery floor can come as a surprise to an unsuspecting person and cause a harmful fall. Some of the most common causes of slip & falls on a wet surface include the following:
- Spilled liquids: When employees at retail stores and grocery stores place certain products on shelves, it’s possible for liquid to spill from the product and accumulate on the floor. Additionally, customers may inadvertently knock over products while shopping and subsequently fail to alert employees for the necessary clean-up. Ultimately, it is the store manager or owner who needs to ensure that employees check aisles regularly and clean up any spills promptly.
- Broken pipes: A wet surface in a store or commercial building may be caused by a broken pipe or a leak in the ceiling. Property owners need to take steps to ensure that pipes, plumbing, and other unseen aspects of a building are sufficiently maintained.
- Air conditioners: A wet surface may be caused by a less obvious hazard such as condensation dripping from an air conditioning unit. This can happen in any kind of building, including residential apartment complexes and office buildings.
- Slick surfaces: Some flooring surfaces tend to be slicker than others. For instance, marble tiles in the hallway of an office building or in the kitchen of a residential home can pose significantly greater risk of a slip and fall accident than wood paneling or carpet. When water is added to the already-slippery floor, the risks are magnified.
- Lack of signage: When a floor is wet and cannot be immediately cleaned up, or when a dirty floor has been cleaned with a mop that leaves behind water or cleaning solution, the property owner should place warning cones or signs around the area so that others are aware of the potentially dangerous condition. These signs should be clearly visible to anyone who might approach the slippery floor, which also means that the lighting around the area should be adequate.
- Poor drainage: Property owners are typically responsible for the areas just outside their properties, particularly at the entrances and exits. These areas may be prime sites for excess water after a storm if there are insufficient drains and gutters.
- Melted snow or ice: When snow accumulates on walkways and in parking lots during the winter, it can pose a serious risk to anyone who walks on the property by making the ground slippery and by concealing potholes or uneven pavement. When that same snow melts, it can leave water in its place and create another risk of falling.
- Swimming pools: Where there is a swimming pool, there also tends to be water. At a public pool, guests often splash that water on the ground surrounding the pool. This excess water can increase the likelihood of a slip and fall near the swimming pool. One way to limit the risk is to install certain types of concrete around the pool area.
- Bathtubs and showers: There is usually a bathtub or shower in the bathrooms at residential homes, apartment complexes, hotels, and motels. When the bathtub or shower does not have a non-slip surface installed, slip and fall accidents are more likely. Additionally, if the tile floor in a bathroom gets wet and is left to dry on its own, an unsuspecting visitor may suffer a serious slip and fall injury.
- Spilled chemicals: An industrial slip and fall accident is often caused by spilled chemicals. The same legal requirements for New Jersey property owners apply to owners of industrial property. As with all other commercial establishments, the owner of the industrial land or the entity in charge of safety at the industrial facility must ensure that any surface which becomes wet is properly dried.
Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by a Slippery Floor in NJ?
Regardless of the actual cause of the slippery surface, the landowner has a duty to dry the surface and fix the dangerous condition. In New Jersey, this is known as premises liability: homeowners and property owners have a duty to ensure that visitors are safe by maintaining the property. For example, a commercial land or property owner has a duty to ensure that the floors or surfaces on their property are not wet and slippery. If a landowner knows that the floor or surface on his or her property has become wet and therefore slippery, the landowner has an obligation to make sure that the floor is quickly made dry and that the dangerous condition is eliminated. Additionally, the landowner has an obligation to inspect the premises to ensure that any other kind of slippery or dangerous condition does not exist. This duty is typically owed to social guests at homes, customers at retail stores, employees at offices, tenants in rental properties, and even passersby on sidewalks near the property.
If you were injured in a slip and fall on a wet surface, it is important for you to speak with a competent attorney who understands the nuances of premises liability law in New Jersey. The law is not always clear on who is legally responsible for a slip or trip and fall. Further, establishing liability and proving the claim can be complicated by a number of factors. For instance, a property owner’s duty to warn of dangerous conditions could apply even if the property owner was unaware of the dangerous condition, so long as it can be established that the property owner should have known of the danger. Additionally, while defendants and their insurance providers in these cases may argue that there is no duty to warn about “obvious dangers” on the premises, the question of whether a wet surface near something like a swimming pool constitutes an obvious danger is likely to be contested at trial.
Contact a Middlesex County NJ Wet Floor Fall Attorney – Free Case Evaluation
If you a loved one fell on a wet floor on someone else’s property, you should seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney who can explain your rights. The skilled New Jersey personal injury lawyers at our firm are represent victims who have been hurt as a result of a slip and falls throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, Mercer County, and Ocean County. For a free consultation, call our local office at (732) 303-7857 or contact us online. One of our lawyers will be happy to discuss your case with you and the possibility of filing a claim for compensation.