What is Premises Liability?
If a property owner, manager, or other responsible party fails to adequately inspect or maintain a property, or if they fail to warn visitors of known hazards, they could be held liable for your injuries.
New Jersey follows the traditional approach to premises liability claims. The status of the person who is injured determines what type of care the landowner owes to them.
The three statuses that a person who has entered the premises of another include:
- Invitee – This person is legally on the premises, generally as a business guest, where there is a mutual benefit between the landowner and the invitee. Invitation to be on the premises can be either express or implied. For example, a customer of a store is an “invitee”.
- Licensee – This person is also legally on the premises. However, there is no mutual benefit, however, and the person is on the premises for their own purposes. This person is commonly referred to as a social guest. For example, a person attending a party at someone else’s home is a licensee.
- Trespasser – This is a person who is not legally on the premises. They lack any invitation to be present on the premises.
Generally, to prevail in a premises liability claim, you must show that the property owner or other responsible party was negligent. In other words, you must prove that the defendant owed you a reasonable duty of care, they breached that duty, and the breach was the actual and proximate cause of your harm.
What Duty Does a Property Owner Owe to Others?
Invitees are owed the highest standard of care. Property owners have a duty to inspect the property for any conditions that an invitee might not discover on their own (also known as latent defects), and owners must repair them.
Licensees are owed a slightly lesser duty of care than invitees. Property owners do not have to inspect their property for latent defects, or repair those they find. If they are aware of any hazards, however, they must warn licensees about them.
Trespassers are owed the lowest standard of care. A property owner owes a trespasser only the duty to warn them of any artificial conditions on the property that may lead to serious injury or death and the duty to refrain from willfully injuring the trespasser.
Premises Liability and Children
New Jersey also recognizes the “attractive nuisance” doctrine regarding children who enter a property. Under this doctrine, property owners must take steps to protect children, even trespassing children, from “attractive nuisances.”
An attractive nuisance is a condition on the property that is known to attract children, such as swimming pools, wells, and even some animals.
To prove such a claim, a child must show:
- The property owner’s knowledge that children would likely be attracted to a condition which is dangerous and likely to cause injury by those coming into contact with it.
- The property owner’s failure to take necessary precautions to prevent harm, such as erecting a fence or wall around a swimming pool.
- The child’s inability to appreciate the risk present due to their young age and lack of knowledge.
- The lack of burden placed on the property owner in taking measures to protect children from injury.
If your child was injured on someone else’s property by an attractive nuisance, even if your child was trespassing, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation. Contact the attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles now for a free evaluation.
Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability claims commonly result from lack of maintenance on a property. Often these dangerous conditions can be found in retail establishments such as grocery stores and shopping malls, as well as many commercial or office buildings.
Injuries are most commonly a result of:
- Slippery or wet floors due to a spill or a recent cleaning
- Ice, snow, or rainwater
- Uneven walkways and poor structural conditions, such as decaying stairs
- Debris in walkways
- Poor lighting
- Displays that have been poorly arranged
- Inadequate security
- Falling merchandise
- Sidewalks in disrepair
- Damaged parking lots
Less frequently, but equally as serious, environmental hazards such as toxic fumes and fire hazards can cause a dangerous condition.
If you have been injured as a result of one of these conditions, contact the attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles now for a free evaluation.
Comparative Negligence in Premises Liability Claims
New Jersey is also governed by “comparative negligence,” which means you may recover money even if the other party is not 100% at fault. As long as the other party is more at fault than you, and you prove negligence, you can recover money. If, however, you are more at fault than the other party, you will not be permitted to recover any money for your pain and suffering. The attorneys at TTCB know how to effectively argue that you are not at fault.
What Compensation Might I Be Owed?
What you can recover in a personal injury claim depends on the facts of your case. In general, your medical bills are paid by your own insurance. Under certain circumstances you can recover out-of-pocket medical expenses from the other party. You can also recover property damage expenses from either your own insurance policy, or from the other party. You may be able to recover other out-of pocket expenses, lost wages, and compensation for your physical and emotional pain and suffering. If you are married, your spouse may also collect compensation for their “loss of consortium,” which simply means that they can collect for all of the ways in which their life has changed because of your injuries. The attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles can advice you as to what you are legally entitled to recover, and can guide you through the process of a legal claim so that you know what to expect.
If a close relative passed away as a result of a premises liability accident, certain family members may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Surviving family members may be able to recover compensation for medical expenses leading up to the victim’s death, funeral expenses, burial expenses, loss of income, loss of emotional support, and more.
How Long Do I Have to File a Premises Liability Claim in New Jersey?
New Jersey has a statute of limitations on for personal injury claims such as, premises liability claims. This is the amount of time the accident victim has to file a lawsuit. If you do not file your lawsuit within this time period you will lose all rights to your case.
According to the New Jersey Revised Statutes Sec. 2A:14-2, the statute of limitations on personal injury claims is two years from the date of the accident or injury. There are exceptions to this rule, however, which may make the deadline much sooner, or much later. It is important that you speak with a Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles attorney right away to avoid missing any applicable deadlines.
You should NOT wait two years to begin the process of pursuing compensation. Property owners will likely quickly fix the hazard that resulted in your injuries, making gathering evidence much more difficult the longer you wait. Witnesses may become harder to locate with time and their memories may fade.
It is best to talk to an attorney at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles as soon as possible after an accident so they can begin a thorough and independent investigation and develop a solid case for your financial recovery.
Contact the attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles now for a free evaluation.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property?
The moments immediately following an accident are some of the most confusing for accident victims. What you say and do (or do not say and do not do) after an accident can make your case harder to prove.
The first thing you should do is call 911 if you need an ambulance. Next, report the accident to someone. If you fall at a business, fill out an incident report, and make certain that someone from management is aware of your fall.
Tell the truth. Do not minimize any aches or pains that you feel. Get medical assistance as soon as you can.
Call a Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles attorney as soon as possible so that evidence may be collected and preserved.
If possible, take pictures of the scene of the accident. Pictures of the obstacle that caused the slip and fall should be taken from different angles.
In addition to taking pictures, accident victims should also write down any facts that may be important to showing how the accident happened. For example: witness names and telephone numbers, weather conditions, lighting conditions, etc.
Before contacting any insurance company, accident victims should speak to a Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles attorney. Our attorneys can advise on what to say, and what not to say, to the insurance company. This is important as any statements made to the insurance company can hurt a future claim. This will depend on your particular situation.
You should also:
- Let the property owner or someone from the property know that you were injured on the premises.
- Get the name and contact information of the property owner or the person you spoke to.
- Take photos of the area where you were injured, any signs or lack of signs, and the hazard that caused your injury.
- Take down the names and contact info of any witnesses who were present during and after you were injured.
- Avoid speaking to insurance companies.
- Keep all medical records and bills stemming from the injury that occurred on the property.
- Preserve the clothes and shoes you were wearing when you were injured. Do not wash them.
Even if you were unable to complete all of these steps after an accident, be sure to contact us as soon as possible. We can handle communications with insurance companies on your behalf and point you in the right direction no matter the circumstances of your case.
How Can a Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles Attorney Help Me if I Have Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property?
With more than 100 years of combined experience, at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles, we provide exceptional service with proven results in New Jersey personal injury cases. Our team of skilled legal professionals can help you with all legal aspects of your slip and fall claim and beyond.
Evidence can be lost, and must be preserved. The attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles will find it, preserve it, and maximize its affect. Our attorneys will locate witnesses and obtain statements. We will take photographs of the accident scene, and your injuries. We will obtain and organize and make sense of your medical records. The attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles are here to help you every step of the way.
Unpaid medical bills are a primary source of ruined credit and bankruptcy. We are here to help make sure that does not happen to you. There are several ways that your medical bills may get paid. Depending on your personal situation, your bills may be paid by your your health insurance policy, or they may be paid by Medicare/Medicaid. If you have no insurance at all, we can still help you get the treatment that you need. It is important that your medical bills get submitted to the proper place from the beginning of your treatment because time may run out and your insurance company may be legally able to refuse to pay. We inform every single medical provider of the proper place to submit your bills to make certain that you pay as little as possible out of your pocket for treatment.
If you are unable to work as a result of your injuries, you may be entitled to disability payments either from the State of New Jersey, a private insurance company, or your auto insurance policy. We can help you apply for these benefits, and make certain that you receive them.
The most important aspect of any personal injury case is making certain that you get proper medical treatment. Health is not replaceable. We want you to recover from your injuries to the full extent possible. We can assist you in finding doctors that treat your type of injuries, and who will also accept your type of insurance.
Insurance companies have adjusters, investigators, and attorneys whose only job is to keep you from getting compensated for your losses. We have over 100 years of experience in negotiating premises liability accident cases. Our experience gives us the ability to properly evaluate the value of your case. We use that knowledge to educate you as to what you can expect, and to maximize your recovery.
The accident attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles are litigation attorneys. In the event your meritorious case cannot be settled, the attorneys at Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles will file a lawsuit. Not only will we keep you advised of significant developments in your case as it progresses, we will be with you throughout every stage of the litigation process. This will include answering Interrogatories, which are written questions sent by the other side, preparing you for your deposition, and preparing you for Court Arbitration. We are litigation lawyers and we are in Court, taking depositions, going to trial, or meeting with our clients every day.
While most cases settle, for the few cases that do not, you should demand a competent, experienced, and skilled trial attorney. Not all attorneys know how to go to trial. All of the premises liability attorneys at TTCB have tried cases before juries. Our results speak for themselves.
Contact a Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Now
If you have been hurt due to the fault of someone else, we know what a difficult time this is for you. You are not alone. Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles attorneys are here to help.
Contact Taylor, Taylor, Cohen & Bowles. We are the personal injury attorneys who will fight for your rights and stand by your side – in and out of court.
This is a time when your focus needs to be on your physical and emotional recovery. Let us handle the rest. Contact us today and learn more about how we can help.