Slip and fall cases are often criticized by news outlets when they are publicized. This happens because people believe that when you slip and fall in a grocery store, for example, you cannot be seriously injured. However, this opinion is a misconception. Even if you do not feel or appear to be injured immediately after a slip and fall occurs, symptoms of serious injuries can appear later, leaving you in excruciating pain. As your condition worsens, you will have to seek medical attention, which oftentimes is not cheap. Accordingly, in order to pay for the medical attention you receive due to injuries sustained in the slip and fall, people are often left with no other option than to file slip and fall personal injury cases against the responsible party or parties.
The question remains: how do you prove that someone else caused your injuries in a slip and fall, and, therefore, should pay you money damages? This article provides you with a synopsis of the three things you must prove to prevail in a slip and fall case in New Jersey:
In order to successfully litigate a slip and fall case, you must establish that the person you seek to hold responsible for your injuries owed you a duty of care and breached that duty. In other words, you must establish that this person, because of his or her actions, is liable for your injuries. In a slip and fall case, typically the person you seek to hold responsible for your injuries is the owner of the property on which the slip and fall occurred. This idea is called premises liability.
To establish that the owner owed you a specific duty of care and breached that duty under the theory of premises liability, you must establish your status as an entrant on the property. The highest status that one can have is called an invitee. Invitees are usually on the premises for some business purpose, such as a customer in a store. Property owners owe invitees the highest duty of care. The intermediate status of entrant is called a licensee. Licensees are usually on the property as social guests. Property owners owed licensees a lesser duty of care than they owe invitees. The last type of entrant is called a trespasser. Trespassers are those who are on the owner’s property without the owner’s consent. Accordingly, property owners usually owe trespassers no duty of care whatsoever.
When litigating a slip and fall case, the easiest way you can establish liability is if you establish that you were on the owner’s property as an invitee and, thus, the owner owed you the highest duty of care and failed to act to satisfy this duty in some way – i.e., the property owner failed to warn you or protect you against defects found on the property and this failure resulted in your slip and fall.
Somewhat similar to liability, in order to establish negligence, you must prove that the property owner breached the duty of care owed to you by failing to act as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances. This is often a fact-dependent inquiry. Accordingly, to prove negligence, you must show that a specific action or specific inaction on the part of the property owner was unreasonable under the circumstances and this action contributed to your slip and fall. You do not, however, have to prove that the owner’s action or inaction was intentional.
To prove fault, you must establish that the property owner’s specific unreasonable action or inaction was both the actual and proximate cause of your slip and fall and resultant injuries. Establishing actual causation is pretty straightforward as you need only show that the property owner acted or failed to act and this action or inaction resulted in your slip and fall. Establishing proximate cause or “legal cause” is a bit more complicated. Generally, to establish proximate cause, you can offer evidence to show that, but for the owner’s action or inaction, your slip and fall would not have happened. It is important to remember that you only need to show that the owner’s breach of duty was “a” – not “the” – proximate cause of your injuries. If there was more than one cause of the accident, you need only show that the owner’s negligence was a “substantial factor” in bringing about your injuries. If you can establish that the owner’s unreasonable action or inaction was both actual and proximate cause of your fall, you will be able to establish that the owner is at-fault for your resultant injuries.
Contact a Perth Amboy Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Slip and Fall Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a slip and fall in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at CourtLaw represent clients injured because of slip and fall incidents in Perth Amboy, East Orange, New Brunswick, Trenton, and throughout New Jersey. Call (866) 632-4211 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 163 Market Street, Perth Amboy, NJ 08861, as well as offices in New Brunswick, Roselle, East Orange, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Linden, Newark, Paterson, South Amboy, and Trenton.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.