Slip-and-fall accident cases are among the most common types of premises liability lawsuits in the New York and New Jersey metro area. Premises liability law addresses personal injuries that happen to someone when they are on someone else’s property (premises).
In general, property owners and others legally responsible for a property (lease holders, business owners, etc.) have a duty to ensure that their premises are reasonably free of hazards that could harm a visitor, or to warn visitors that such hazards exist, such as with a warning sign.
If your slip-and-fall accident was caused by a hazard the property owner or other responsible party knew about and failed to take reasonable steps to remove, repair or warn visitors about, you may have a legal claim.
Property Owners, Others Liable for Slip-and-Fall Hazards
The legal responsibility for ensuring that a property is reasonably safe for visitors or that visitors are adequately warned of dangers may extend beyond the property owner to others legally responsible for the premises. For business properties, this may include a company that leases a property for a business, as well as the business’s managers or employees.
Negligence by a property owner or manager that leads to an accident and serious injury to someone with a legal right to be on the premises may be cause for a legal claim. This includes negligence that leads to slip-and-fall accidents at:
- Stores. Managers at grocery stores, “big box” stores, convenience stores, discount centers, malls, strip shopping centers and other retail outlets must ensure that spills are cleaned up promptly, aisles are not blocked by merchandise or other materials and that signs warn visitors when floors are wet and slippery. Sidewalks and parking lots must be properly lit and maintained, as well.
- Restaurants. Spills, clutter, trash, debris and the pace of service at fast-food and full-service restaurants may cause slip- and trip-and-fall accidents among customers and employees. Restaurants that seek to create ambiance with low lighting should take special care to maintain floors, carpets, steps and other walk ways where unseen hazards may lead to falls.
- Stadiums, arenas and theaters. Public performance venues are the scene of many fall accidents, including fatal falls from heights at multi-level stadiums and arenas. Managers of such facilities must make sure that ramps and stairways are properly lit and remain free of clutter, that escalators, elevators, bleachers and other seating is properly maintained, and floors that are not dry have adequate warnings posted.
- Playgrounds and parks. Thousands of children are injured every year in falls at playgrounds in New York and New Jersey that are caused by hazards, not play. Poorly maintained play equipment or amusement rides, benches, sidewalks, sprinkler heads, lawns, athletic fields and other fixtures can cause park and playground visitors of any age to fall and suffer serious injuries. Maintenance workers’ tools and equipment left lying about may create tripping hazards. Local governments, including schools, or private companies that own or operate amusement parks may be held liable for negligence that leads to accidents.
- Workplaces. Falls are among the most common injuries suffered by workers on the job. Federal and state regulations require employers at construction sites, manufacturing plants, offices and other jobsites to train employees about fall hazards and issue them safety equipment, and to provide other safeguards against falls. Workers injured in job-related accidents may seek workers’ compensation benefits and additional compensation if negligence by someone other than their employer caused a slip-and-fall injury.
- Retirement homes. The elderly and infirm living in nursing homes and other residential care facilities are vulnerable to serious injury in slip-and-fall accidents. Staff should identify residents who are at particular risk of falling and ensure that they are monitored, provided assistive equipment such as walkers or wheelchairs, and are assisted by staff as necessary.
- Private homes. Even homeowners have a legal duty to reasonably ensure the safety of invited visitors. A slip- or trip-and-fall accident caused by a wet floor, cluttered stairs or a hole in the yard may amount to negligence and allow an accident victim to be compensated. It is important to remember that homeowners’ insurance typically pays for residential premises liability claims. Deserving accident victims should not be reluctant to seek compensation they need even if they were injured at a friend, relative or neighbor’s house.
Contact Our Experienced NY / NJ Slip-and-Fall Accident Lawyers
Slip-and-fall accidents occur in New York and New Jersey when property owners and other responsible parties fail in their duty to deal with hazards caused by wet floors, maintenance problems or unsafe business practices. Individuals who have been injured in slip- or trip-and-fall accidents caused by the negligence of property owners or managers may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses and other losses.
The personal injury lawyers at the Ginarte firm have helped many fall victims secure the financial assistance they deserved after being injured in accidents that were not their fault.