The winter season in New Jersey means sidewalks, walkways, driveways, and parking lots covered in ice and snow after winter storms. Snow and ice pose serious risks of slip and fall accidents for pedestrians. If you are hurt after slipping on snow or ice, what are your rights for filing a personal injury claim?
Why the Location of Your Fall Matters
The first factor that impacts your right to file a personal injury claim for a snow/ice slip and fall is the location of the accident. In New Jersey, commercial property owners are subject to different duties for clearing snow and ice from their premises, compared to the duties of residential homeowners. While residential homeowners generally cannot be held liable for slip and fall accidents caused by snow or ice unless the homeowner created or exacerbated the slipping hazard, commercial property owners are subject to traditional premises liability for slipping accidents caused by snow or ice. Conversely, commercial property owners in most cases are expected to exercise reasonable care in removing snow and ice from their premises, or alternatively to warn visitors to the property of the presence of snow and ice.
Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
Your rights to financial compensation in a personal injury claim for a slip and fall on snow and ice may also be impacted by whether you bear any fault for the fall and your injuries. New Jersey follows a modified comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, an injured victim is not barred from seeking compensation so long as the victim’s share of responsibility for their injuries does not exceed the share of fault of the party or parties that they are seeking compensation from. However, the comparative negligence rule states that an injured victim’s compensation may be reduced in proportion to their share of fault for their own injuries.
In a slip and fall accident on snow and ice, you might be held partially at fault for the accident and your injuries if you acted negligently or recklessly, such as knowingly or purposely walking across snow and ice that could have been avoided, without exercising due care (for example, by running across the snow or ice).
What Is a Property Owner’s Liability for a Slip and Fall?
Property owners generally are not required to take steps to remove snow and ice while a winter storm is ongoing, as to do so would be largely impractical or impossible. However, prior to and after a storm, commercial property owners are usually expected to undertake reasonable steps to protect visitors to the property from slipping and falling on snow and ice, including:
- Salting walkways and parking lots and shoveling snow and ice after storms
- Hiring snow removal companies
- Placing drying mats at entrances, and using anti-slip mats or cleaning up melted snow and ice in building interiors
- Placing warning signs around untreated snow and ice
Residential homeowners generally are expected to refrain from doing anything that would worsen snow and ice conditions on abutting sidewalks.
If property owners fail to fulfill these duties, they may have liability for injuries and losses that arise when a lawful visitor slips and falls on snow or ice.
Contact a Trenton Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Slip and Fall Accident Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries because of slip and fall accidents in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Kalavruzos, Mumola, Hartman, Lento & Duff, LLC represent clients injured by slip and fall accidents in Hamilton Township, Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, Princeton, and throughout New Jersey. Call 609-853-5579 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2681 Quakerbridge Rd., Hamilton Township, NJ 08619.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.