New Jersey Slip, Trip, Misstep, and Fall Lawyers Protect Your Rights
According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Data collected by the Center in 2013 alone, showed that roughly 2.5 million older Americans are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries. That same study showed that more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of falls, while over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of fall injuries, most often due to head injuries or broken hips.
In New Jersey, a commercial landowner or business owner owes a duty to care for people invited onto their property. The owner must inspect the property to look for potentially dangerous trip, slip and fall injuries, and then use care to correct any potential hazards. When companies, businesses, or landowners do not do their job to prevent trip, slip, misstep, and fall hazards, and you are injured, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries.
There are many different potential causes that can make someone to slip, trip, misstep, and fall. If you suffered a slip and fall injury, we will examine the facts of your case to determine whether there is a legitimate claim against the property owner, maintenance company, snow removal company, or property management company to attempt to compensate you for your injuries. In many instances, we will retain the services of an licensed professional engineer to determine whether the company complied with applicable safety standards, such as ANSI, ASTM, or the ADA regulations.
Shebell & Shebell Will Fight to Hold Negligent Parties Responsible for Your Injuries
A slip hazard occurs when a person’s foot or feet slide out across a walking surface, causing a person to fall or twist their body. Slipping hazards may be caused by many conditions, including ice, a liquid substance on the floor, a loose rug, grease spots, a waxy floor, or any flooring surface that does not provide adequate grip or surface friction. Unless a person expects that a floor surface poses a potential hazard, people will rarely, if ever, look down continuously when walking, causing a slip and fall.
A trip hazard typically exists when there is a raised, vertical face that projects upwards from an otherwise-expected flat surface, such as on a concrete walkway, sidewalk, carpet, or any other surface that prevents a person’s foot from moving forward. Even slight changes in the height of a walking surface has the ability to cause a person to fall. Nationally-recognized standards, such as ANSI, ASTM, and the ADA require that any change in elevation greater than 1/4 inch must be corrected by the responsible party.
A misstep hazard is any other hazardous condition that causes any unexpected change in elevation, causing a person to fall. Examples of missteps include, a change in elevation from one step on a stairway to the next, an unexpected hole, a poorly lighted area that does not show a depression in a walkway, or an unguarded or unprotected man-made hole.
Slip, trip, and misstep hazards can occur virtually anywhere people walk, pass, or travel. Places such as malls, supermarkets, or department stores may have slippery floors. Restaurants, ranging from fast food restaurants to fine-dining establishments, may not maintain their property by failing to provide adequate lighting, allowing a slip or trip hazard to go undetected. Apartment complexes, condominium association complexes, or underground garages may not be lighted properly, may not repair holes or trip hazards, or fail to warn people of potential hazards.
A property owner, management company, or landlord is required to inspect and maintain their property and keep it free from dangers or hazards. Failure to do so can result in liability if an injury results. A defective condition that causes someone to slip, trip, misstep and fall can lead to liability on the part of the property owner. Despite well-established codes or standards that spell out the rules that are meant to keep us safe, some property or business owners often cut corners to try to save themselves money. This mentality puts all of us at risk for injury. This is another important area of injury law that we firmly believe keeps our community safer, by holding those people or companies accountable for harm they cause.
The defense attorneys, hired by the insurance company, will usually blame the person who falls for not paying attention to where the person is walking. Although we believe that personal accountability is essential in all cases, the defense argument is nonsense, in our experience. From our human experience, backed by science, very few, if any people look down when walking or running, unless a person is expecting a potential fall hazard. For example, if I’m going for a run in the woods, or on an icy roadway, especially in poor lighting, I am looking for anything that can cause me harm. If, on the other hand, I’m walking in an area that most people are not expecting to trip, slip, or misstep, such as on a walkway, sidewalk, in a restaurant, or shopping store, the human brain relaxes, and your “guard is down”. You are not looking for or expecting a problem or potential fall hazard. Also, the ability of a person to perceive a trip hazard and react to prevent a fall is often a split second, at most. Often times, the defendant’s inaction in failing to care for its property takes several years and is easily preventable.
If a slip, trip, misstep and fall injury occurs in your workplace, a workers’ compensation claim may also be filed. A worker may also be able to file a claim for damages against other parties whose carelessness or neglect may have caused the injury.
Common examples of premises liability that we see are listed below. If you have been injured as a result of a dangerous or defective condition of property, please contact us for a free consultation.