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Landowner Liability in Slip and Fall Cases

Legal liability in New Jersey slip and fall cases is not as straightforward as most assume.  If you are injured in a slip and fall accident on another’s property or government property, do not assume you are at fault due to clumsiness, inclement weather or low-quality footwear.  Even if you are partially at fault, the property owner might also share legal liability, meaning that individual or organization will have to provide financial compensation stemming from a personal injury lawsuit.  Let’s take a closer look at New Jersey landowner liability in slip and fall cases.

Negligence and the Duty of Care

Negligence is a term often used by attorneys and judges that refers to a party’s failure to provide due care for others in the vicinity.  New Jersey landowners have a duty of care to those on their property.  If this duty is not fulfilled, the landowner is considered negligent.  A landowner deemed negligent by a court of law will be forced to provide those injured in slip and fall incidents on the property in question with financial compensation.  This financial compensation is meant to offset losses incurred by the victim that are causally related to the slip and fall resulting from landowner negligence.  Examples of such costs include medical care, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering.  

Some slip and fall cases in New Jersey do not reach the point of a court decision pertaining to damages.  Some such cases are settled outside of court for a sum of money both parties deem fair to cover costs incurred as a result of the accident.  Our northern New Jersey slip and fall attorneys are here to fiercely advocate on your behalf in and out of a court of law to maximize your financial compensation following such an unfortunate event.

slip and fall statistics

The Components of Landowner Liability in the State of New Jersey

A New Jersey landowner is liable for a slip and fall injury if each component of liability is applicable.  The New Jersey landowner must own the property where the slip and fall occurred.  This means if the slip and fall occurred merely one inch away from the property of the landowner in question, that party will not be found legally liable for damages.  As noted above, the landowner has a duty of care to provide a safe property for those on-site.  As an example, if the owner of a retail store allows a puddle of spilled water to remain in place and that water causes a slip and fall, the duty of care has been violated.  

However, the landowner must be aware of the fact that there was such an unsafe situation or at least had enough time to find out about the unsafe property condition then remedy it.  Furthermore, the New Jersey landowner must have had a reasonable amount of time to eliminate or mitigate the unsafe area.  This means a slip and fall resulting from fresh snowfall on a New Jersey property probably won’t lead to a favorable settlement or court award as the landowner did not have a reasonable amount of time to eliminate the snow.

Finally, the plaintiff must have had access to the New Jersey landowner’s property for good reason.  As an example, someone trespassing on private property in New Jersey who slips and falls will find it difficult to win a personal injury lawsuit.  However, a customer, someone conducting business on the premises or someone invited onto the property who suffers a slip and fall will stand a much better chance of obtaining financial compensation through an out of court settlement or a court award.

Shared Liability in New Jersey Slip and Fall Cases

Plenty of northern New Jersey slip and fall cases are the result of a combination of factors including property owner negligence and clumsiness or an error in judgment on behalf of the injured party.  In legalese, this mutual liability is referred to as comparative negligence.  The financial compensation provided through a court award will be decreased by the percentage of the victim’s liability as determined by the court.  This means if the court determines the victim is 25% at fault for the slip and fall accident, the court award will be decreased by 25% to reflect the plaintiff’s level of liability. 

The court might determine the plaintiff is partially liable for the slip and fall as a result of failing to recognize an obvious danger, the use of a smartphone or another distraction, failing to act in accordance with signs/ caution tape that indicate an unsafe space or sheer clumsiness.  Furthermore, courts sometimes reduce New Jersey landowner percentage of liability after considering the defense attorney’s argument that the danger should have been obvious to the plaintiff.  

If plaintiff liability is greater than 50%, there will not be an opportunity to obtain financial compensation through a court award.  However, as long as the victim is 50% or less responsible for the slip and fall accident, the stage is set for a legal action.  Our New Jersey personal injury attorneys are here to determine if you have solid legal footing for a successful personal injury lawsuit.  We take pride in gathering all relevant information and evidence to strengthen client cases.  Our legal team will review the unique facts of your case along with your explanation of events.  In some cases, it makes sense to perform a site inspection to develop the optimal legal strategy.  If necessary, we will retain expert witnesses in relevant disciplines to provide insightful opinions and analysis that significantly improves the chances of justice being served.

Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli Is On Your Side

Have you been injured in a slip and fall case?  If so, our New Jersey personal injury attorneys are here to advocate for justice on your behalf.  We are also here for New Jersey-area individuals who have suffered other injuries and losses.  Contact us today for a case review that sets the stage for justice to be served in the form of a lucrative settlement or a favorable court award.  You can contact Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli to schedule an initial consultation by dialing (973) 785-9522 or by completing our online contact form.

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Robert J. Bavagnoli is a Passaic County attorney specializing in personal injury and real estate law. He founded Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli in 1995 where he practiced for many years alongside his brother, Ronald C. Bavagnoli (now deceased). For over 28 years, he has proudly served Northern New Jersey including Passaic County, Bergen County, and Essex County, among others, recovering millions in damages for his clients.

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Highest praise for the professionalism and ease of working with Robert Bavagnoli and his team! I used his services for the sale and closing of a home. He acted quickly, made the process easy and covered all the bases so I didn't have to be concerned about anything. This gentleman is a pleasure to do business with and who I want in an attorney!

- Lynda R.

Great firm for personal injury plaintiffs. The welfare of the client always comes first.

- Jonathan M.

Thorough, friendly, upbeat and very professional. They kept me informed of every decision they made.  They made me feel like I’m part of their family. I would highly recommend Robert Bavagnoli to anyone that needs the assistance.

- Earl C.

I was involved in an accident and didn't know what to do.  I decided to call Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli. They welcomed me to their firm. They were so polite and as I spoke with them and saw how friendly and polite they were it lifted me up and put my mind at ease. I wasn't scared anymore and it was an excellent experience from beginning to end.

- Tamika P.

For me the experience with Bavagnoli and Bavagnoli was wonderful!  My lawyer handled my case and it went excellent, even better than I imagined.

- Ms. Dela Cruz

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Bavagnoli & Bavagnoli Office

12 Furler St.
Suite 5,
Totowa, NJ 07512

Phone: (973) 785-9522


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