When someone is injured in a slip & fall (for example, slipping on an icy sidewalk) or a trip & fall (for example, tripping over a broken sidewalk), it can have profound and lifelong effects on the injured person’s life. But not every case is straightforward and you need an attorney with experience in these types of cases to ensure the best possible outcome.
There are basically three parts to every personal injury case. The first part is analysis of whose fault it is. In the case of a slip and fall, or trip and fall, it’s the most challenging part of the case.
The second part of the case is damages, that is, how much you should be compensated for your injury from their negligence.
The third part is collectability, that is, how likely will the responsible party be able to compensate you for your injuries. This is often not an issue because most property owners have insurance however, in the case of severe injuries that can exceed the amount of insurance coverage, it can be an important consideration.
In car accident lawsuits, it’s often easy to identify the person who caused the accident, but with slip and falls or trip and falls, you have to first identify what caused the fall. This is not always easy because often when falls happen, the victim may not know what caused him or her to take a tumble.
It’s surprising how many people who have fallen and are injured make contact with our slip and fall attorneys who cannot explain why they fell or what caused them to fall. With the victim’s help, our experienced investigators can piece together the event, but we always recommend, when possible, that the victim go back, if not immediately after the fall, as soon as possible, to take a look at what might have caused the fall.
Sometimes it’s easy. For example, if you fall and you end up in a heap on a sheet of ice, it’s very likely that the ice caused your fall. Sometimes your clothes are wet as a result of the fall, suggesting a wet surface as the cause.
Likewise, if you tripped and are lying on the ground injured, perhaps you look back and see what caused you to trip, like an uneven walkway or a tree root.
Our slip, trip and fall attorneys need to identify who is responsible for the particular piece of property where you were injured. In New Jersey, it’s a complex analysis because the law surrounding commercial property is different than the law of residential property.
Slip & fall and trip & fall on commercial property
In commercial property scenarios, the property owner is often responsible for maintenance of the property, but you often have a variety of interrelationships in commercial property settings.
You have business owners. You may have a company that manages the property, and then the management company may hire yet another company to maintain certain aspects of the property.
You may have landscapers responsible for maintaining walkways, parking lots, and driveways in areas where you have snow and ice.
Analysis of the duties owed under the law by all these players can be surprisingly complex.