Accidents can occur any time, anywhere, and for a multitude of reasons. But if you have suffered an injury as a result of falling on someone else's property, you may be considering obtaining advice from an attorney experienced in premises liability claims.
Duty of the property owner
In general, a property owner has a duty to maintain one's property in such a manner that it is reasonably free of dangerous conditions. For example, if the walkway leading into a store becomes very slippery when wet, the owner is obligated to either provide warning of the danger or to lay down a surface that provides more stability.
Circumstances that imply the owner was negligent include whether or not the owner should have reasonably known of the condition, the owner did know but made no attempt to fix it, or the owner caused the dangerous condition.
New Jersey follows the rule of comparative negligence when determining fault in personal injury cases. This means that if you contributed to your fall, the court will lessen the amounts awarded to you based on your percentage of culpability.
If you were engaging in activity that contributed to the accident, such as texting on your phone and not paying attention to where you were walking, the court will consider it partially your fault that you fell.
Other circumstances that may contribute to you being comparatively negligent include not having a legitimate reason for being on the property, the owner not being able to anticipate that someone would be on the property, and whether or not another person exercising a reasonable degree of caution would have been able to avoid the situation.
Statute of limitations
In terms of a personal injury as a result of a fall, you have two years to file a claim against the property owner from the date of the accident.
If you suffered property damage, such as a broken watch or laptop, as a result of the fall, you have up to six years from the time of the fall to file a claim.
These limitations apply to property that is either privately or commercially owned. If the property is owned or managed by a government entity, an entirely different set of rules apply to the case.
If you have been the victim of a slip-and-fall accident, it is important to understand your rights. For advice on filing a claim, contact and attorney with experience in premises liability cases.