Icy Sidewalk Slip-and-Fall Lawyers in New Jersey
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Recognizing Winter Slip-and-Fall Dangers
Whether you have slipped on an icy sidewalk, outdoor walkway, parking lot, or grocery store floor, do not attribute the fall to chance alone – someone may be liable for your accident! Contact an experienced New Jersey slip-and-fall attorney to determine whether you can recover for your losses in a personal injury claim. You may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering, and more.
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we provide our clients with highly personalized legal services. Throughout your case, our team of dedicated professionals will work closely with you to ensure that your needs are being met, and that your goals are being addressed. To learn more about our firm and how we can help, call (609) 240-0040.
Icy Slip-and-Fall Accident Verdicts and Settlements
- $750,000 Settlement - Worker Injured in Icy Slip-and-Fall
- $525,000 Settlement - Icy Slip-and-Fall at Condominium Complex
- $375,000 - Black Ice Slip-and-Fall in West Windsor Township
Click here for more verdicts and settlements.
Duty of Care in Ice-Related Fall Accidents
Outdoor slip-and-fall accidents during winter typically occur in parking lots or on sidewalks outside of homes and businesses. Virtually all property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care when it comes to maintaining their premises and promptly removing snow and ice to decrease the risk of falls and injuries.
If a fall hazard on a property isn't cleared within a reasonable period, and an injury results, the property owner may be held liable for all resulting damages. Exceptions are made if the fall victim's reckless behavior contributed to the accident.
After falling on ice, it is important to document your injury as soon as it occurs. Take photographs of the location of the fall and the ice that caused it, contact the police to file an accident report, and notify the owner or property manager of the location of the fall. Also take note of the names and addresses of anyone who witnessed the fall.
Whether they have to maintain the premises themselves, or hire a company to do it for them, property owners must anticipate the dangers posed by snow and ice and maintain their property accordingly.
Common Winter Hazards in New Jersey
Look out for the following dangers presented by this season:
- Icy Sidewalks: Freezing temperatures can lead to an icy and almost invisible buildup on sidewalks, both in small patches and long stretches. Should a pedestrian step on ice, he or she may slip and fall hard on the concrete. Parking lots also become slick in the winter, with those exiting their vehicles unaware of the danger and frequently falling.
- Black Ice: Black ice is a thin layer of ice – so thin that you can see the pavement below it. Black ice gives the illusion that there is no ice there at all, which can be more dangerous. Regardless of this fact, business owners, as well as owners of apartment buildings and other multi-dwelling homes that generate a profit, are responsible for clearing black ice from pathways, sidewalks, and parking lots.
- Indoor Dangers: The effects of winter do not end outdoors; water from rain and snow can be tracked into houses and businesses. Should this make tile, linoleum, or otherwise slick floors wet, a slip can easily happen. It only takes a quarter of a cup of water to saturate a three-foot area on an interior floor.
- Snow Accidents: Heavy snow can cover up dangers on the ground. Those trudging through snow, whether to clear it or simply to get somewhere else, may be unable to see obstacles in their way. This can easily lead to a victim tripping over a hazard that has been covered by snow.
- On-the-Job Hazards: Depending on the location, New Jersey workers can be exposed to a variety of hazards caused by winter. Freezing conditions can make outdoor worksites slippery and difficult to navigate. Even indoor jobs can become more dangerous should a worker bring in wet clothes, jackets, umbrellas, and boots. While some incidents are more dangerous than others, any sort of slip-and-fall can easily lead to major injuries.
Injuries Related to Slip-and-Fall Accidents
Injuries caused by slip-and-falls may be minor, or they may be serious. The most common slip-and-fall injuries are:
- Head injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the main cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Symptoms can include ongoing seizures, mood changes, cognitive impairment, and other brain-related issues that can leave a person debilitated.
- Fractured hips. The CDC says that of all the broken hips treated by hospitals, 95% are caused by slip-and-fall accidents. The CDC also states that hip fractures are fatal for one in five people who experience them.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. Back and spinal cord injuries. After a fall, a person can suffer from fractured vertebrae or herniated discs. Along with severe pain and limited mobility, the person might also suffer from temporary or permanent paralysis, or neurological and sensory impairments.
- Shoulder injuries. Slip-and-falls can result in a shoulder being dislocated, or a brachial plexus injury, which is when the nerves that connect the shoulder, arm, and hand are torn or stretched.
- Sprains and breaks. Sprains and breaks. Slip-and-falls often result in a sprain or broken bone, usually in the extremities. When someone puts a hand out to break a fall, he or she often sprains that wrist.
It’s important to understand that children and the elderly are more vulnerable to slip-and-fall injuries. A child’s bones, ligaments, and joints have not fully developed, and are not as equipped to withstand the pressure placed on them by a slip-and-fall. On the other hand, the elderly are more vulnerable due to the fact that they do not have the bone density that they used to, and their bones and joints are typically weaker than those of an average adult.
Filing a Winter Slip-and-Fall Injury Claim Against the Government
If your winter slip-and-fall accident happened on government property (such as a county parking lot or city sidewalk), you will probably have to jump through some administrative hoops to recover damages from the responsible government entity - that is, if you're even able to sue. Since the window for claims against government entities is much shorter than for accidents on private property, you must file your claim as soon as possible. Consult with an experienced lawyer to find out if you have a viable claim against a government entity.
FAQs About Winter Slip-and-Falls
Most people think that winter slip-and-falls are caused by outdoor ice and snow. And while this is true, there are also other causes. Clogged drains, for instance, can cause water to melt and then refreeze into large patches of ice. And while a reasonable person wouldn’t walk into a snowbank, small patches of snow can cover an obstacle on the ground that a person could trip over or fall into. When people walk through snow and slush, they track it inside and it can melt and form puddles on the floor. If these puddles are not cleaned up quickly, or signage is not placed to warn people of the danger, someone could easily slip and fall.
Wearing proper footwear is the best thing a person can do to avoid slipping. Proper footwear for winter needs to be insulated and waterproof; lightweight; include a thick, non-slip sole; have short heels; and a large area of contact between the shoe and the walking surface.
Be extra mindful when walking on walkways and stairs that are covered in ice and keep your hands as free as possible. This may mean taking several trips to the car to get groceries, or taking less work home. When someone’s arms are full, it can be difficult to maintain balance, and it also prevents the person from breaking a fall.
Lastly, remember to slow down. Don’t rush when it comes to walking on slippery surfaces. It’s better to arrive at a destination late than not at all.
Black ice gets a lot of attention when it’s on the road during the wintertime, but it can also be present on sidewalks, posing a hazard to pedestrians. The best way to walk on black ice is to walk on flat feet, and place your body weight over the front foot. Using short steps or shuffling is safer than taking long strides. This is often referred to as "walking like a penguin." If the patch of ice is large, breaks should also be taken in order to slow down your momentum.
Most people think they can hold a property owner responsible for a slip-and-fall accident caused by a buildup of ice and snow, but this isn’t always true. Liability depends on what kind of property the accident happened on, and whether or not the owner was aware of the conditions. Different cities also have different rules for property owners.
For instance, most homeowners or tenants have no legal responsibility to clean up ice and snow, even from the sidewalk in front of their houses. As private property, these homes are not used to generate a profit (for the tenants, that is). But if the main purpose of the property is to generate profit, such as in the case of a store, the owner does have a duty of care to ensure everyone who enters the property will be kept reasonably safe. Because of this, if someone slips and falls, the store or property owner could be held legally responsible.
But here too, there are caveats. If the property owner was not aware of the dangerous situation, he is not considered legally negligent until he does know (or should have known) about the situation, and does not take measures to fix it. For example, if a pipe burst and froze overnight, the property owner would not be responsible for clearing the ice until he knew about it.
New Jersey is a state that follows comparative negligence laws. This means that in any lawsuit, the courts will look at the negligence on all sides. If the injured party was partially at fault, they may still receive compensation, but only if they were less than 50% negligent. The courts will assign a percentage of fault to the injured party and deduct their compensation by that amount. So, while walking without proper shoes likely won’t be considered 50% to blame for your accident, walking without proper footwear and ignoring blockades meant to keep people out might.
New Jersey Winter Slip-and-Fall Accident Attorneys - Protecting Your Rights
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our New Jersey slip-and fall attorneys have been protecting the rights of injured clients for nearly two decades. Through skills and resources gained from years of success in the courtroom, we can provide you with the representation you need to make your claim a success. To learn more about how we can aid you in your case today, call (609) 240-0040.
- Watch Out for Icy Slip-and-Falls in Princeton
- Snow Safety: Surviving the New Jersey Winter
- What Are the Laws Regarding a Slip-and-Fall on an Icy Sidewalk?
- Why Should Shop Owners Salt Their Sidewalks?
- Stay Alert! Slip and Fall Risks Don't Melt Away with the Snow
- Winter Weather Brings Increased Liability
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