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Watch Out for Icy Slip-and-Falls in Princeton

By Lependorf & Silverstein on January 6, 2019

Falling down doesn’t seem that serious; after all, people trip every day and proceed to get up, dust off, and continue living their life. However, not every slip-and-fall accident is injury-free. Some falls can end up with a broken bone, a shattered hip, or a traumatic brain injury that could result in lifelong damage.

Although slip-and-falls are common in New Jersey wintertime, they should not be taken lightly. Property owners and landlords must ensure conditions that enable slip-and-falls are kept at a minimum, and people who allow unsafe conditions to flourish must be held accountable.

Safety Tips for You

Following some basic safety tips can help you reduce the chances of a slip-and-fall:

  • Wear appropriate shoes. Slips tend to happen when there isn’t enough traction between your footwear and the surface you’re on. If it’s raining or road conditions might be icy, it’s probably best to keep your high heels at home.
  • Walk at a safe pace. Most of us tend to hurry, but walking fast on icy or wet ground makes us more likely to slip. So walk at a more leisurely pace.
  • Watch your surroundings. Just like you would while driving a car, watch where you’re going while walking. Being distracted by your smartphone can put you in harm’s way. You have a better chance of spotting uneven terrain or a pothole if you’re paying attention to the pavement ahead.

If you’re a homeowner and you don’t want to open yourself up to liability, follow these basic safety tips to keep your property safer for visitors:

  • Fix any potholes or uneven surfaces as soon as possible. The longer you allow these conditions on your property, the higher the chances of someone injuring themselves.
  • Clean up any debris or clutter.
  • Make sure all sidewalks and walkways are free from snow and ice. Different cities in New Jersey have ordinances regulating how often you must clear winter buildup.
  • Ensure you have appropriate outdoor lighting.
  • Make sure you have good homeowners insurance.
  • Remove any outdoor cords and wires from pathways.

What Should You Do After an Accident?

Even if you follow all safety instructions, you might still suffer a slip-and-fall accident one day. Follow these tips afterwards to make sure you have evidence in the event you decide to pursue a legal claim.

  • Get medical help right away. Have your injuries examined by a doctor. An official medical record will help you prove your injuries.
  • Photograph everything, from your injuries to the hazardous condition that led to the accident. Document the scene as soon as possible, as conditions can change or be fixed in a matter of hours.
  • Gather all witness contact information, in case their statements are necessary.
  • Speak with a slip-and-fall attorney about your case.

Not every accident on someone else’s property is a reason to sue. For example, tripping on your own foot and spraining your ankle on your neighbor’s walkway does not make your neighbor liable. However, spraining your ankle because your neighbor didn’t fix a pothole in their walkway would put liability on them.

To prove that another person is responsible for your injuries from a slip-and-fall, you must prove one of the following:

  • The owner of the property was aware of the problem or should have been aware of the problem, such as a hazardous pothole or walking surface, and didn’t fix it. The problem must be something a reasonable person would point to as a hazard and fix, and the property owner must have had ample time to fix the hazard.
  • The property owner caused the dangerous situation by leaving something hazardous on the pathway.

Contact Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C.

Slip-and-fall accidents can result in some serious injuries. If your fall was caused by a negligent property owner, they should be held accountable for their actions. You shouldn’t have to carry the burden of medical bills, time off work, and suffering on your shoulders.

If you were injured on another person’s property, contact our New Jersey premises liability lawyers to discuss your case. We have over 25 years of experience handling injury claims in the Princeton area, and we offer a free consultation at (609) 240-0040.

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The firm’s principals, Gabriel R. Lependorf and David E. Silverstein, have each been representing injured victims in the State of New Jersey for over twenty years.

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