The snow and ice that is common in New Jersey this time of year brings slippery roads and sidewalks. Unfortunately, this also means an increase in slip-and-fall accidents. If you have fallen and are injured as a result, you may assume that the landowner of the property is liable for your injury. However, in New Jersey, this is not always the case.
The law concerning the liability of landowners for injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents on sidewalks is rather complex in New Jersey. Generally, whether a landowner may be held liable for injuries depends on the type of property.
Under New Jersey law, owners of residential property (i.e. single-family homes) generally do not have a duty to pedestrians using the sidewalk to remove snow and ice from it. As a result, residential property owners cannot be held liable for injuries caused by slip-and-fall accidents resulting from the natural accumulation of ice or snow. However, a residential landowner may be held liable for injuries if he or she made the condition worse through their actions.
Although landowners may generally have no duty to pedestrians to remove ice and snow from the sidewalk, they can be fined for failing to do in accordance with municipal law (if applicable).
The "no duty" rule does not apply to commercial properties and residential properties with multiple dwellings (i.e. condominiums and apartment complexes). Under New Jersey law, commercial property owners must keep their properties reasonably safe for users of sidewalks. As a result, they can be held liable for slip-and-fall injuries, if the property owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition and failed to take action to correct it.
Injured? Speak to an attorney
Since the rules regarding landowner liability are complex and full of exceptions, it is wise to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney if you are injured after falling on someone else's property. An attorney can assess your situation and advise you on your right to recover compensation for your medical bills and other losses under the law.