Slip-and-fall accidents are often improperly equated with premises liability. In fact, slip-and-fall incidents are only a small fraction of the cases covered under premises liability, which covers a much wider range of accidents and cases in the state of New Jersey.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a category of law that assigns responsibility for certain accidents that occur on privately owned property. This property may be a commercial establishment, a private home or an industrial area. Injuries that can be attributed to negligence or lack of normal care on the part of the owner may be covered under the legal provisions of premises liability.
Understanding Premises Liability
New Jersey law requires that plaintiffs prove five basic principles to collect damages in premises liability cases:
• The victim must demonstrate that the owner or manager of the property had a duty of care toward the injured party.
• The actions of the owner or manager failed to live up to the responsibilities implied or express in that duty of care.
• The owner was aware of the danger to those on his or her property and had adequate time to remedy the situation prior to the injury occurring.
• The individual sustained injuries directly because of the negligence, lack of action or lack of care of the property owner or manager.
• The seriousness and extent of injuries sustained by the plaintiff will also be taken into consideration during the legal process.
Property owners are required to maintain safe and secure conditions on their premises to avoid legal actions. Working with a qualified premises liability attorney is often a practical step toward defending yourself and your company against these cases in the New Jersey legal system.
Establishing Constructive Notice
The New Jersey court system has found that owners of properties are not subject to premises liability if they do not know and could not reasonably be expected to know about the risks to customers or guests to their properties. An exception to this rule, however, is in the case of mode-of-operation issues. These arise when the regular business operations of a company are likely to create a hazardous condition, as in the following cases:
• Industrial and manufacturing plants may be subject to mode-of-operation restrictions.
• Companies and businesses undergoing renovations and repairs may also pose risks to customers that may not be expressly known to the owners but that are still their responsibility.
The fact that these operating conditions exist is often considered to be constructive notice, which indicates that these regular working conditions should be known to the owners. As a result, the legal liability for accidents that occur because of these conditions may fall directly on the owner. Blocking off or establishing access controls for areas that might be hazardous to customers, guests or vendors will often mitigate the degree of liability and the potential for damages if an accident should occur on your property.
Defending Against Premises Liability Cases
The duties owed to nontrespassers on property differ considerably from those owed to trespassers and those with no legal permission to be on the property. In general, property owners are required only to refrain from actions that would deliberately injure a trespasser. They are not liable for injuries accidentally sustained by these unwanted interlopers. Putting up signs and notifying guests and visitors of hazardous conditions can also be a way to reduce the potential for slip-and-fall accidents and to mitigate premises liability in the state of New Jersey.
The Value of an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer
Working with a qualified and knowledgeable premises liability attorney is a practical way to protect yourself and your business from these types of lawsuits. Along with providing you with an assertive and effective defense strategy, your attorney can also make recommendations about the right strategies to employ on your premises to warn about dangerous conditions and to protect yourself from liability for accidents that occur on your property. By retaining the services of a qualified and experienced attorney, you may be able to limit your exposure to premises liability and slip-and-fall cases in the state of New Jersey.
At the Di Lauri & Hewitt Law Group, we are committed to providing you with the proven results and the right representation to manage your cases effectively. We work with clients to defend against personal injury lawsuits, product and premises liability cases as well as construction accidents and other workplace mishaps. Call our defense team today at (973) 343-5736 to put our experience to work for you. The Di Lauri & Hewitt Law Group is ready to take on the challenges of your case.