When it's cold outside and the ground is wet and slippery, we have to be extra careful when we're walking. Of course, the dangers of winter weather aren't limited to icy parking lots and sidewalks, but they make their way indoors too.
Ever walked into a building during a downpour only to look down and see that there's no mat? Only a pile of water below you and footprints extending in all directions beyond the puddle? As you tread very carefully, you think to yourself, "Where is the mat to protect me from slipping?"
The winter and spring months in New Jersey are particularly dangerous because of the icy and slippery conditions. When it's warm and dry, we just don't have to worry as much about slippery ice outside of businesses and drops and puddles inside due to roof leaks, and wet shoes.
A Slip and Fall Can Be Serious
Slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter. They don't only affect senior citizens who suffer shattered hips (possibly needing a hip replacement), they can affect anyone. Can you imagine your toddler excitedly running over to you, only to slip on a wet floor and hit their head against the wall, suffering a traumatic brain injury?
Slip and fall accidents can happen inside and outside. For example, the walkway to the main doors of an apartment building can be icy. Imagine it's dark out and there is insufficient lighting at the building's entrance.
One of its residents slips on the ice, shattering her kneecap, fracturing her elbow and wrist and suffering a head injury. The victim, a single mother of two, cannot work for over six months while she recovers, nor can drive or take care of her two young children. It can happen that fast.
Proving Legal Liability
Thousands of people are seriously injured in slip and fall accidents every year when they trip on torn carpeting, jagged concrete, or slip on a recently-polished floor, or a wet or slippery surface.
Sometimes the property owner is legally responsible, sometimes they are not. To determine liability, one of the following must apply:
- The property owner or an employee caused the dangerous condition.
- The property owner or an employee was aware of the dangerous condition, but ignored it.
- The property owner or an employer should have known because any reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered the hazard and handled it.
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. But please be aware that there is a "statute of limitations," which is a time limit to file a personal injury claim.
In New Jersey, you must file a claim within 2 years of the date of the incident, otherwise you could lose your right to much-needed compensation. To learn more about your rights, contact Bergen County Personal Injury Lawyer Brandon J. Broderick today!