Premises liability injuries can cause tens of thousands of dollars in medical and other related out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, many injured in premises liability accidents lack the financial resources to get the medical care and treatment they need. Who pays for these expenses, especially when their injuries result from someone else’s negligence? One thing is for certain—the injured individual who didn’t do anything to deserve their injuries shouldn’t pay for them.
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a slip and all or another type of premises liability incident, don’t hesitate to contact the skilled Hackensack premises liability attorneys at Reinartz Law Firm as soon as possible. You must know your legal rights and options, and the best way to do that is to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney.
Table of Contents
Proving Negligence Is Essential for Compensation
Not every person who sustains an injury from a premises liability type accident will be eligible for compensation. Only those who can prove that another party was negligent in causing their injuries and that they have compensable damages have a right to financial recovery. You won’t have a viable claim unless your Hackensack premises liability attorney can establish negligence on the part of the property owner, occupant, or agent.
No matter what type of insurance policy might cover your injuries, you need a lawyer who can demonstrate:
- A hazard existed on the property
- The property owner was aware or should have reasonably been aware of the dangerous condition
- You were on the property legally
- The dangerous condition caused your injuries
- The property owner’s negligence resulted in your damages
If you cannot establish all of these elements in your claim, obtaining compensation for your injuries will be impossible. Considering this, hiring an experienced Hackensack premises liability lawyer to represent your claim is in your best interest. Your attorney will know how to use evidence to successfully establish each of these elements.
Invitees, Licensees, and Trespassers
According to New Jersey law, a property owner’s duty of care to those on the property can vary depending on that person’s reason for being on the property. For example, the duty owed to a social guest is greater than for a trespasser but not as much as a business invitee.
Invitees: Parties invited to enter the property by the owner are public or business invitees. They have the most protection under New Jersey law when it comes to premises liability injuries.
Here a property owner owes two duties to an invitee:
- Use reasonable care in maintaining the premises in a safe condition.
- Give the invitee sufficient notice of concealed dangers that are or should be known to the landowner and which are unknown to the invitee and won’t be discovered by them through the exercise of due care.
Licensees: A licensee is someone who is at or on the property for their own convenience. Property owners aren’t required to actively take steps to keep their premises safe for the benefit of the licensee. Therefore, licensees aren’t owed any duties except not to harm them willfully or wantonly or expose them to any danger in the same manner.
Trespassers: People who aren’t supposed to be on the property at the time they suffered an injury are trespassers. They enter the property lacking an invitation, license, or right, entering for their own purposes or even for no apparent purpose. Additionally, if someone with the right to enter a property allows another party onto the property without the owner’s permission, they both become trespassers.
Trespassers have minimal rights when it comes to injuries. However, property owners must still take reasonable care. Still, they can’t be liable for trespasser injuries unless they acted intentionally to cause them.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability injuries arise out of some defective or unsafe condition on the property of another person or party. These cases are typically rooted in negligence, and the injured person has the burden of proving that the owner was negligent in their ownership or maintenance of the property. In other words, the property owner or manager acting for the owner didn’t use reasonable care in keeping the property.
Just because you suffered an injury on another person’s property doesn’t necessarily mean that you can collect compensation. Even if an unsafe condition caused your injuries, you might not be eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. The key to a successful premises liability lawsuit is showing that the property owner knew or should have reasonably known about a potential danger on the property. Still, they failed to take steps to prevent a problem.
The following types of cases usually fall under premises liability law:
- Trip or slip and falls
- Snow and ice accidents
- Insufficient maintenance
- Defective conditions such as broken stairs, crumbling concrete, or rotting handrails
- Escalator and elevator accidents
- Swimming pool or pond accidents
- Dog bites or animal attacks (if they occur on the owner’s property)
- Inadequate building security leading to an injury or assault
- Water leaks or flooding
- Fires and explosions
- Toxic fumes and chemicals
- Amusement park accidents
Dangerous Conditions and Situations Can Cause Premises Liability Injuries
Here are some common premises liability locations and conditions where invitees have been physically injured and successfully held a property owner liable for their injuries:
Sidewalks and Curbs
Property owners may be liable for the victim’s injuries when an invitee trips or slips and falls due to an uneven sidewalk or a broken and cracked sidewalk. However, if the dangerous condition is an “open and obvious danger,” then the property owner will likely not be liable.
A business owner might be held liable for a hazardous condition on the property that they may not own or control, such as a parking lot. For example, suppose customers or clients are invited or instructed to use a convenient parking lot. In that case, the business owner can be liable for injuries they sustain on that lot. This can apply even if the parking lot isn’t technically on the business’s property.
Window hazards sometimes result in severe injuries, as broken glass can cause bleeding, deep lacerations, and cuts. Some may require stitches or even surgical repairs. In window accidents, the accident victim must establish that the owner knew about the defect in the window or that they received some kind of notice that there was a concern with the window before the accident and didn’t make the necessary repairs or take other preventative actions.
When doors fail to work correctly, they may become hazardous and, therefore, the basis of a premises liability claim. Although, some door failures can be so unusual that the condition isn’t foreseeable. If a business owner couldn’t reasonably foresee a malfunction occurring, then they can’t be held liable.
Passageways and Aisles
While it might seem minor, items placed in hallways and passageways can often be in the way, causing severe physical injuries. Store owners must keep their aisles free of hazards.
Countless premises liability victims have successfully recovered damages after a business failed to keep their aisles free from all sorts of dangers, including:
- Objects in a walkway, such as metal from a clothes rack
- Poorly stacked products hanging and dropping from overhead
- Foreign substances on the floor, such as grapes, spilled milk, or broken glass
Hazardous Floor Conditions
The most common premises liability cases arise from slip and falls because of floor surface problems in commercial establishments. Floors can be slippery or defectively installed, and it’s common for some floors to warp. Frequently, injuries occur as a result of failures in the duty of care—for example, the floor hasn’t been adequately maintained or cleaned promptly, or the property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition.
Stairways and Steps
Construction laws and codes mandate the construction of stairs, stairwells, and staircases. They must have handrails, and stairwells should have adequate lighting. Failure to meet these standards means the property owner or builder likely acted negligently when it built the step or stair. If you suffered an injury under these circumstances, the other party’s violation of a statute designed to protect the general public serves as evidence of negligence.
Furthermore, debris on a stair or stairwell can cause falls and injuries. When this occurs, it doesn’t matter if the business owner complies with the applicable building codes and regulations. For example, suppose they didn’t keep the stairway clear of all hazards, including trash, loose carpet tiles, dirt, and sand. In that case, the business can be held liable for the injured party’s damages. However, if a tenant or a shopper doesn’t inform a landlord or store owner of a dangerous area or debris on a stairway, they may or may not be liable.
Incorrectly Installed Equipment
Not all premises liability claims require previous knowledge or notice of a hazardous condition. For example, suppose a ceiling fan or a dishwasher was installed incorrectly. In that case, the injured person doesn’t have to establish that the property owner or installed knew of the actual hazardous condition.
Common Premises Liability Injuries
Premises liability accidents can lead to many serious injuries. Some of these injuries can keep someone from going to work and enjoying their life for quite some time. Injuries will vary in severity and type, depending on the type of incident that occurred.
They might include:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis (quadriplegia/tetraplegia and paraplegia)
- Neck and back injuries
- Knee and shoulder injuries
- Soft tissue injuries like bruises, sprains, and strains
- Internal injuries and bleeding
- Fractures and broken bones
- Disfiguring facial injuries and scars
Hackensack Premises Liability FAQs
What Kinds of Losses Can I Recover in a Premises Liability Claim?
You legally recover for your losses through monetary damages, which include economic or special and non-economic or general damages. Economic losses include lost income and wages, medical expenses, and property damage—for instance, if you broke your wedding ring in a fall. On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.
What is the Deadline for a New Jersey Premises Liability Injury Claim in New Jersey?
New Jersey’s statute of limitations for personal injuries, including premises liability claims, is two years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit in pursuit of financial recovery from the liable party. Once that two-year clock window has shut, the court can decline to hear your case, and you will have missed your chance to recover damages.
This is a strict, two-year statute of limitations, so you must contact a qualified New Jersey premises liability attorney as soon as possible so they can start collecting evidence and crafting an effective strategy for your case.
What Should I Expect from the Insurance Company?
Always remember that insurance companies are in business to make money. The only way to truly maximize their profits is by minimizing compensation for their claims. Expect that the insurer will have one of their adjusters get in touch with you to offer you what may seem like a significant amount of money to settle your claim.
Even though this may seem like good news, whatever you do, don’t accept the offer, and don’t sign anything they ask you to sign until you have retained a seasoned Hackensack premises liability attorney. After you hire a lawyer, instruct your insurance company to contact your legal counsel directly.
Meet With an Experienced Hackensack Premises Liability Lawyer Today
At the Reinartz Law Firm, we are trial-experienced lawyers. If your premises liability claim doesn’t settle, we know how to prepare your case for trial and achieve a successful outcome. We work closely with our clients, providing them not only the results they need and deserve but also personalized attention and care.
Our Hackensack premises liability lawyers provide no-obligation case consultations for those who have suffered an injury in Hackensack premises liability accidents. Whether you’re seeking compensation for a slip and fall or negligent security, you’ve got nothing to lose by meeting with one of our skilled attorneys. Contact the Reinartz Law Firm today at (201) 778-4878 or online.
The Reinartz Law FirmAddress: Court Plaza South - West Wing
21 Main St Suite 205,
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Phone: (201) 289-8614
"Richard guided me in my suit and made me feel confident in my decisions during my entire case. He made recommendations that I otherwise, would not have known about."