New Jersey Premises Liability Attorney
In addition to geographical location, there is something that all owners and tenants of residential, commercial, and public properties in New Jersey have in common: They all have a basic duty to protect their visitors from unreasonably dangerous property conditions.
If you suffered harm at any New Jersey property (other than your own) because of a dangerous property condition the owner or tenant should have fixed and/or warned you about, then you may have the legal right to compensation for your injuries and losses. The skilled New Jersey premises liability lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have years of experience representing New Jersey residents, workers, and visitors in legal actions seeking that compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has represented clients in premises liability matters throughout New Jersey for nearly 50 years. New Jersey residents, workers, and visitors turn to us when they suffer serious injuries in preventable incidents caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions.
Our seasoned trial lawyers help victims of personal injuries obtain the compensation they need for the harm done to them. Over the years, clients of Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have recovered millions of dollars in money damages from individuals, corporations, and government agencies, including in cases involving slip-and-fall and other premises liability incidents. Of course, we can never guarantee results when one of our clients gets hurt on someone else’s property, but we can promise to provide sound, compassionate, diligent legal services aimed at getting our clients as much money as possible for their injuries and losses.
Overview of New Jersey Premises Liability Law
The term premises liability refers to the legal liability of property owners and tenants to property visitors injured by a dangerous property condition the owners/tenants should have fixed or warned the visitor about. In New Jersey, owners and tenants of residential, commercial, and public property owe varying legal duties to keep visitors to their properties safe from harm. Generally speaking, the scope of those duties depends on the nature of the permission the injured person had to visit the property.
Property owners/tenants owed the highest duty of care to invitees who enter their properties with express or implied invitation, usually (but not always) for the owner/tenant’s business benefit. A restaurant patron, for example, is an invitee. Owners and tenants must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of invitees by inspecting their properties for dangerous conditions, fixing any dangerous conditions they find, and warning of any dangerous conditions they have not yet fixed.
Owners and tenants in New Jersey owe a slightly lesser duty of care to social (also sometimes called licensees), who enter a property by express or implied permission principally for their own (rather than the owner/tenant’s) benefit. A dinner guest is a social guest or licensee. Owners and tenants must warn social guests of known hazards that are not obvious, and must not intentionally put social guests in harm’s way.
Finally, in New Jersey, property owners and tenants owe the least duty of care to adult trespassers, who generally do not have express or implied permission to enter a property. Owners and tenants must only avoid willful or wanton conduct that could harm adult trespassers, unless, that is, they know adult trespassers will enter their property, in which case they have to take reasonable steps to ensure trespassers’ safety.
As in many other states, New Jersey property owners and tenants must take reasonable care to ensure the safety of all child trespassers, whether or not they specifically know about them. This includes taking reasonable steps to keep children away from attractive nuisances like swimming pools, trampolines, and construction sites. Among other steps, New Jersey law requires pool owners to protect children from harm by enclosing a pool within a wall or barrier at least five feet high.
A property owner or tenant’s failure to observe these duties of care can lead to legal liability if a visitor gets hurt while on their premises.
Common Premises Liability Scenarios
Many types of property hazards can injure visitors.
Common circumstances leading to liability for New Jersey property owners and tenants include:
- Slip and fall incidents. Preventable falls account for many premises liability claims. Visitors to New Jersey properties slip (or trip, or stumble) and fall because of a wide variety of common property hazards, such as wet floors, icy sidewalks, loose or worn flooring material, uneven stairs, loose handrails, poor lighting, potholes in parking lots, cracked sidewalks, or cluttered walkways. While this type of accident is often regarded as minor, preventable slip and fall incidents result in more than one million trips to hospital emergency departments in the U.S. each year and represent one of the primary sources of lost days from work due to injury. Falling can inflict serious injuries, including broken hips and other bone fractures, brain injuries, and spinal cord injuries.
- Negligent security. New Jersey property owners and tenants have a legal duty to protect visitors from known risks of crime committed on their premises. For example, hotels should provide locking doors and windows for overnight guests, and businesses in known high-crime areas should install surveillance cameras and hire security patrols to protect patrons. Business owners may also have the responsibility to background-check their employees, to protect customer safety.
- Elevator and escalator malfunction. New Jersey property owners must maintain escalators and elevators in safe working order, and must warn visitors away from these property features when they break down. Malfunctioning elevators and escalators can cause catastrophic and even fatal injuries to riders.
- Swimming pool hazards. Nearly two dozen people were exposed to toxic chemicals at a private club pool in Parsippany when a pool pump malfunctioned and dumped muriatic acid into the water during a children’s swim class. Several children had to be rushed to the hospital while suffering respiratory distress and one individual was admitted to the hospital for continued treatment. Pool chemical malfunctions represent just one of many hazards swimming pool owners and operators must take reasonable steps to prevent. They must also guard against drowning, unsafe pool deck surfaces, unsafe diving, and waterborne illnesses. Approximately 350 children in the U.S. die each year as a result of swimming pool incidents and another 5,000 are hospitalized for injuries caused by near-drowning.
- Amusement park hazards. A woman was airlifted from a Warren Country amusement park after she was knocked unconscious on a water slide. The woman was conscious and alert again before taken to the hospital, but had suffered a head injury. This is just one example of the injuries that can be caused when an individual falls or is struck by or against an obstacle while riding on an amusement park ride. New Jersey is home to theme parks and amusement parks, and the owners of those properties must ensure that rides are properly maintained, that there are adequate security measures in place to prevent park visitors from suffering injuries as a result of criminal actions, and that there are no other known property hazards that can result in injury.
- Fires. Property owners and tenants must also protect their guests from injuries sustained in fires. Some common safety features of properties that New Jersey law requires include working smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and indoor sprinkler systems. Property owners must ensure that electrical systems comply with building codes and must never store flammable materials near heat or flame.
- Lead poisoning. The dangers of lead paint exposure have been known for decades. However, thousands of children in New Jersey still test positive each year for lead paint exposure, most often resulting from living in residences built before the use of lead paint was outlawed in the U.S. in 1978. Lead exposure can cause significant harm, particularly for children as they metabolize the substance faster than adults and require less exposure to reach toxic levels. Children who have been exposed to lead paint can suffer irreversible damage to brain development, as well as kidney damage. Both children and adults can also suffer injuries to the nervous system from lead exposure. Pregnant women exposed to lead can experience developmental harm to the fetus as well as premature birth.
This is not a complete list, of course. No matter how a visitor to a New Jersey property sustains an injury, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP has the know-how and experience to protect that injured person’s rights if the injury resulted from a preventable property hazard that the property owner or tenant should have fixed or warned about.
Compensation for New Jersey Premises Liability Injuries
If an unreasonably dangerous condition on a residential, commercial, or public property harmed you or a loved one, then you may have the legal right to receive substantial financial compensation for your injuries and losses. The skilled lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP have the resources and knowledge to help you obtain the money you need to regain your health and rebuild your life.
Every New Jersey premises liability-related injury has unique facts and circumstances that affect the type and amount of damages an injured property visitor might recover as compensation. However, as a general matter, New Jersey residents, workers, and visitors often have two broad options for obtaining compensation: filing a claim with their own insurance company, and taking legal action against a property owner, tenant, or other party with liability. In many cases, injured property visitors can obtain compensation from both sources. Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help.
The categories of compensation a visitor to a New Jersey property who gets injured by a dangerous hazard might recover from insurance coverage and/or a legal action often include:
- Medical expenses related to the treatment of the injury, including emergency care, hospitalization, surgeries, doctor visits, medication, physical therapy, rehabilitation, long-term care stays, and medical equipment.
- Non-medical expenses related to adapting to and living with the injury, such as the cost of hiring help with daily activities while recuperating;
- Current and future lost income resulting from missing work because of an injury, or from living with a disability that prevents the victim from returning to work in a former (or any) capacity;
- Pain, suffering, diminished quality of life, and harm to personal relationships caused by the injury and its aftermath.
- In limited cases, punitive (or exemplary) damages intended to punish the party whose decisions or actions caused the victim’s injuries, and to deter similar misconduct in the future.
No lawyer can guarantee that a client will obtain payment for all, or even any, of these categories of damages, nor can a lawyer promise a recovery of a particular amount. However, the experienced New Jersey premises liability lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can promise to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of fair, reasonable compensation for their clients’ premises liability injuries.
Time-Tested New Jersey Premises Liability Lawyers
After suffering an injury because of a dangerous hazard at a New Jersey property, some injury victims avoid speaking to an attorney out of concern for how much a lawyer will cost. Do not make the same mistake. An initial consultation with Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is always free of charge, and if we agree to work together, we virtually always represent injured clients on a contingency fee basis in which our clients pay us no money upfront, and we only get paid if we recover money for our clients’ injuries and losses.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury on a New Jersey property because of a hazard that the property owner or tenant should have fixed and/or warned you about, then you likely have the right to receive substantial compensation that helps you regain your health and rebuild your life. The experienced New Jersey premises liability attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are ready to answer your questions about your rights. For a free case evaluation, contact our team today online, start a chat with one of our live representatives, or call (877) 565-2993 right now.