Newark Premises Liability Attorney

If you were hurt in a store or mall, a rental property, or even in a neighbor’s house in Newark, you may pursue legal action to recover compensation. Injuries or other damage sustained on property owned by someone else falls under premises liability law.

Simply put, Newark property owners are responsible for maintaining their property in a safe condition. If they do not, and your injuries stem from their negligence, you may have a premises liability claim, so it’s imperative to contact a skilled Newark premises liability lawyer. Premises liability is a subcategory of personal injury law.

New Jersey premises liability law is complicated, however.

“If you think you may have a claim, contact the experienced Newark premises liability attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP. We will discuss your case at no cost to you.

Jacoby & Meyers, LLP Newark personal injury attorneys have a long and extensive record of obtaining justice in premises liability cases. Recently, for example, we obtained a $4.2 million settlement for a two-year-old who suffered burns all over her body when an improperly secured stove fell on her. She was burned by the gas flames and water boiling on the stove. The building owners bore responsibility for this terrible accident.

Who Is at Fault for Injuries Under Premises Liability Law?

In premises liability law generally, the question of who is at fault for injuries rests on the concept of negligence. Property owners owe a duty of care to the public, to keep their premises safe at all times. If the premises are not safe, the unsafe conditions must be repaired within a reasonable time period. Before the issue is repaired, the owner must post clear warnings about the unsafe condition.

If someone breaks a glass container in a store, for instance, and glass shards are lying around, the property owners must place safety cones, barriers, or other safeguards around the area, clearly designed to warn the public about a potential danger. Then, they must clean up the potentially unsafe area.

Property owners who don’t keep their premises safe, warn the public about unsafe conditions, and then correct those conditions have breached the duty of care. They are arguably negligent as a result. Their actions (or failure to take proper action), caused an injury that would otherwise not have occurred. Negligent parties are liable, or financially responsible, for injuries caused specifically by their negligence.

Does Premises Liability Law Apply to Every Property?

In general, premises liability law applies to every property open to the public. The law is more complicated when it comes to how it applies to private property owners.

In New Jersey, the guest’s status on the property determines what kind of responsibility the property owner bears in the case of an accident. There are three categories of guests under New Jersey law: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

Invitees in New Jersey

Invitees are on a property by implied or express consent, usually for a business purpose. Shoppers in a store, for example, are invitees, because stores are understood as implicitly open to attract shoppers for a business purpose. Renters in a building are also invitees because a rental building exists for the express purpose of providing a service to renters. Hotel guests, mall shoppers, theater- and concert-goers, and users of ice rinks and gyms are all examples of invitees, because the business purpose of each establishment is to attract users of the establishment’s goods or services.

Property owners who attract invitees must take every care to maintain the safety of their premises, and to rectify any unsafe conditions. They must also periodically inspect their property to discover any potentially unsafe conditions and rectify those conditions.

Licensees in New Jersey

Licensees are parties a property owner permits to come on their property. Social guests, like visiting friends, family, or neighbors, are licensees. So are repair people who might enter the property to repair or install something.

Property owners in New Jersey owe a duty of care to licensees to keep their premises safe. If property owners know about any condition on their property that is unsafe, for example, they must warn licensees, especially if the licensees are unlikely to notice it.

Property owners do not, however, need to inspect their property for latent hazards that they might not know about and which might do harm to licensees.

Trespassers in New Jersey

As the term implies, a trespasser on a property is someone who is neither invited nor wanted on the property. A person who walks through a neighbor’s property without the neighbor’s knowledge or consent, for example, is arguably a trespasser. So is someone who breaks into a business after hours. Property owners don’t know the trespasser is coming, and may specifically not want them.

While property owners still owe trespassers a duty of care, it is not the same standard as it is for the other two categories. In general, property owners cannot knowingly do trespassers harm (threatening trespassers by throwing bricks at them, for example).

How Are People Injured in Premises Liability Cases?

Premises liability injuries can harm people in all types of ways, simply because accidents or harmful conditions vary.

Business invitees in a store, for example, can slip and fall due to spilled liquid. Improperly stacked cartons or crates can fall and strike a patron. Patrons can slip and fall on icy sidewalks (property owners are responsible for maintaining public access to their premises as well). Elevator doors can trap people due to a malfunction.

Guests in hotels can trip and fall on improperly tacked carpets. Casino guests can receive burns from exploding pyrotechnics in a floor show. Escalators can malfunction and cause injury.

Renters can suffer electrocution from faulty wiring, trip and fall on unrepaired stairs, or suffer harm from improperly installed furnishings, appliances, and fixtures.

Licensees may suffer harm by slipping and falling, as well. Children or adults who can’t swim can drown in a swimming pool with inadequate security.

Negligent installation of items can cause injury to licensees. If an owner has installed a trampoline improperly, for example, it may cause injury. Visitors may not see croquet wickets installed in a lawn, and can trip over them and break a leg as a result.

What Type Of Injuries Occur In Premises Liability Cases?

Because of the wide variety of injuries and damage possible in premises liability cases, victims may suffer injury in many different ways, including:

  • Sprains
  • Fractures
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Burns
  • Scars/disfigurement
  • Organ injuries
  • Nerve injuries
  • Coma

What Are Some Types of Premises Liability Cases That We Handle?

Slip and Fall

Premises liability cases in which a victim slips and falls due to conditions outside their control are often known as slip and fall accidents. This is something of a colloquial term due to the frequency of these accidents. Premises liability law applies to these cases.

Slip and falls can occur as a result of improperly cleared liquid spills, ice, or snow, or water tracked in by patrons as a result of inclement conditions. Business establishment owners should keep umbrella stands or similar items near doors so that patrons do not bring dripping umbrellas into the store. Their duty of care also includes mopping up or otherwise cleaning up water or spilled liquid.

Swimming Pools

While injuries related to swimming pools fall under premises liability law, there are specific laws in New Jersey related to making swimming pool areas safe.

First, children should never have the ability to access a pool while unsupervised.

Second, the New Jersey Uniform Construction Code requires that a property owner install a fence (a minimum of four feet high) to enclose a residential swimming pool. They must also be a maximum of two inches off the ground. The gates must self-close and self-lock. The latches to the gate cannot be accessible by small children. Gates need to swing out (away from the pool area) only. Finally, if there are openings in the fence, they cannot exceed specific dimensions.

Posted signs should warn users not to dive into shallow water.

Property owners must maintain all swimming pools and related items, such as ladders, diving boards, and so forth, and repair any issues.

Public swimming pools in Newark must provide lifeguards and proper supervision as part of their duty of care.

Negligent Security

Property owners owe a duty of care to invitees in New Jersey to provide reasonable security and safety. If they breach that duty of care, they may bear responsibility and thus liability for injuries and damages an invitee suffers as a result. If you are physically attacked in a dark parking garage, for example, the owner may bear responsibility and liability for your injuries. (The attack itself is a crime that police and prosecutors would handle, while our premises liability lawyers could represent you in the civil claim against the property owners or managers.)

Negligent security can include:

  • Failure to hire security guards.
  • Inadequate safeguards.
  • Locks or security systems that don’t work properly.
  • Compromised locks or security systems.
  • Failure to maintain adequate lighting in dark areas (garages, stairwells, corridors, corners) where people can suffer harm.

Dog Bites

If you are on a property either as a licensee or an invitee and a dog bites you, the dog’s owner is liable. In many states, the owner is liable only if the owner knew the dog had bitten or attacked someone previously. New Jersey’s dog bite law, by contrast, is a strict liability law. If a dog bites you and you are legally on the property, the owner is liable for your injuries, without regard to the dog’s previous behavior.

What Damages Can I Receive in a Newark Premises Liability Case?

People injured in a premises liability case are entitled to compensation for their injuries, based on the following categories:

  • Medical expenses – This can include costs for doctor’s visits, hospitalization, surgery, X-rays and other diagnostic tests, urgent care, ambulances, prescription medication, physical therapy, and more.
  • Wages lost from work – If the injuries cause you to lose time at work, the wages you could otherwise have earned are compensable.
  • Pain and suffering – This can include compensation for the pain and other intangible losses you suffered as a result of your injuries, including mental anguish.

If doctors expect you to need medical treatment for your injuries in the future and to lose additional time from work, you may recover compensation for these future expenses, as well.

Property Owner Negligence and Your Accident Injuries

Accepting an invitation to visit another’s property should not result in life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, some in Newark fail to keep their properties safe, resulting in hazards that cause visitors severe injuries. If you suffered serious harm due to a negligent property owner, you may want to bring a compensation claim.

If so, it’s a good idea to call a Newark premises liability lawyer. Premises liability cases are complex and challenging. A lawyer can deal with the hassles of bringing a premises liability claim while you are focusing on your medical recovery and other life adjustments that often follow such accidents. Before meeting with a lawyer, Newark premises liability accident victims often have some common questions, presented and answered here.

What is premises liability?

Property owners owe guests a duty of care, which requires them to keep their properties safe and warn guests of any dangers. The duty varies but applies whether in the case of a restaurant or a person’s home. When someone has an owner’s permission to enter a property, the law reasons that they have the right to assume it is safe to enter, or, if not, that the owner will warn them of any dangers.

Generally, the law classifies guests as either “invitees” or “licensees.” Property owners owe a duty of care to both kinds of guests, though their duty is generally higher as to invitees. That’s because invitees are invited by the property owner for the owner’s benefit, while licensees are simply allowed on the property and the owner did not solicit their visit for the owner’s benefit.

In either case, if the property owner fails to exercise due care, the owner may be held liable (i.e. legally responsible) for damages the guest sustains.

What are some examples of premises liability in Newark? Premises liability cases in Newark, more often than not, arise from the negligent acts or omissions of a property owner. Negligence is the failure to exercise the amount of care a reasonably prudent person would use in a similar circumstance. What counts as negligent conduct, thus, will differ depending on the relationship between the owner and a guest and the type of property. Leaving spilled water on the ground at a theme park might not be negligent, particularly if it seeps into the dirt and doesn’t create a danger. However, failing to clean up such a spill off the floor of a supermarket would more likely be negligent, as water on the kinds of flooring typical for supermarkets creates a risk of someone slipping and falling.

Newark business owners, especially, are responsible for being aware of the safety hazards that may arise on their property and endanger customers, and for taking appropriate measures to make safe the premises or warn customers of a danger. Failure to address such hazards is negligent.

Some common hazards in premises liability cases include:

  • Wet floors
  • Cords across floors
  • Damaged stairs or stairs with no handrails
  • Dog bites
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Poorly maintained sidewalks
  • Dimly lit or unlit parking lots
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Unresponsive or insufficient security that leads to an injury or assault

Keep in mind that this is not at all a complete list of conditions that may give rise to a Newark premises liability claim. If a Newark property owner fails to fix any kind of known hazard due to wanting to save money or time, or out of sheer carelessness, they should face accountability for their negligence.

Newark premises liability accidents can occur at any time and any place, striking victims out of the blue. A Newark premises liability lawyer can investigate to determine what the property owner knew and when they knew it in your case. By investigating and following up with witnesses, employees, and others, your lawyer can begin to piece together a picture to show how the property owner was negligent and that they should be responsible for compensating you for your injuries.

What compensation can I recover after a Newark premises liability accident?

The serious accident you experienced while visiting a store, dining at a restaurant, or visiting friends can be physically, mentally, and emotionally traumatizing. Dog bites, for example, are especially traumatizing for children and may lead them to develop Post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), requiring years of therapy to cope with the trauma. Beyond this, victims often suffer other expenses and impacts from the life-altering injuries they sustain in premises liability accidents, such as losing their ability to engage in the same activities as before the accident.

The potential injuries in Newark premises liability cases range from mild to life-threatening.

In whatever case it may be, though, victims will normally have costs, medical and otherwise, for which they should recover compensation.

  • These costs and impacts in Newark premises liability cases often include:
  • Immediate medical expenses following an accident, such as bills for emergency transport and treatment
  • On-going medical expenses relating to a long-term recovery or permanent injury
  • Lost wages, while you can’t work as you recover from your injuries
  • Loss of future earnings, if your injuries prevent you from returning to your job and you are forced to take on lower-paying work
  • Pain and suffering, for the impact of the accident on your quality of life

What can I do if I lost a loved one in a Newark premises liability accident?

Unfortunately, some Newark premises liability accident cases result in death. Losing a loved one in such a tragic manner can devastate you and your family, and they too should recover compensation for the expenses and impacts they incur.

A slip and fall, rabies from a dog bite, or another injury may result in death, sometimes at the scene and sometimes after some period of suffering. The emotional impact of watching a loved one suffer is beyond measure, even as the financial consequences of the accident start to loom over a decedent’s family. These families should recover compensation from those responsible for the loss of their loved one.

Newark wrongful death claimants may recover:

  • Final medical expenses for your loved one
  • Costs associated with a funeral, burial, cremation, or memorial service
  • Loss of income if the decedent contributed to household expenses
  • Loss of future earnings—the income you could have expected had your loved one survived
  • Loss of companionship—the loss of what your loved one provided you emotionally and physically

These are just a few examples of potential damages that plaintiffs may recover in a Newark premises liability. The specific factual circumstances of your case determine what you may recover. Furthemore, your relation to the decedent plays an important role in whether you qualify for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit. For these reasons, contact our Newark wrongful death lawyers. We can help determine the best way to move forward.

Can I handle my Newark premises liability claim on my own, without hiring a lawyer?

As a practical matter, no, you can’t, and for many reasons. For example, premises liability accident victims will often be rushed by insurance companies soon after an accident, who will often try to pressure the victim to accept a quick settlement.

Handling these insurance companies alone is both difficult and challenging, for many reasons, but including:

  • The insurance company is experienced in these cases and is interested in limiting its liability as much as possible; those who go it alone often lack the knowledge of how to strategically negotiate against the insurance company
  • Your serious injuries, those of a loved one, or the loss of someone close to you are incredibly stressful and require your full attention, without having an insurance company badgering you.
  • Those who go it alone against the insurance company often accept an offer that is less than they deserve, or even nothing at all. Once an offer is accepted, they typically forfeit their right to pursuing any further compensation

Insurance companies are aggressive when it comes to settling accident claims quickly and for a small sum. Their goal is to protect their bottom line, not to help you. If they refuse to fairly settle, you may need to take your case to court, which presents even further complexity. It’s best to have a lawyer at your side, whatever stage of the case you are in.

How long can I wait to contact an attorney?

Time is of the utmost importance when it comes to bringing a Newark premises liability action, and you should contact a Newark premises liability attorney as soon as possible. Failing to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations—a legally defined period providing how long you have to file a lawsuit—generally results in losing your chance of pursuing possible compensation.

The unexpected turmoil of your accident, injuries, or loss after a premises liability accident can cause the time to pass in a blur. Before you know it, the time for filing a lawsuit passes, leaving you with no options for possible compensation.

Contacting a lawyer after such a terrible event may just seem like another burden. Many, however, feel relieved and reassured to have us immediately investigate the accident, interview witnesses, and review evidence to build up their case while they focus on healing from injuries and dealing with all the other aftermath of the accident.

What all can your Newark premises liability lawyers do for me?

Exploring a new store, a new restaurant, or visiting neighbors in Newark should not result in life-changing harm for you or a loved one. If the property owner responsible for your accident failed to use care and prevent danger, they may face liability for your damages. An experienced Newark premises liability lawyer will know right away the avenues by which you can pursue compensation.

Your attorney can counter aggressive insurance company adjusters and work to negotiate a fair settlement. If necessary, they can take your case to court, handling everything from filing a complaint and other necessary filings to collecting evidence and witnesses to build your case. Ultimately, a Newark premises liability lawyer can increase your chances of a successful claim and the amount you may recover.

How much does a Newark premises liability lawyer cost?

The thought of legal fees may prevent some from seeking the help they need. Financial means shouldn’t be an obstacle to seeking justice after a Newark premises liability accident. Recognizing this, many lawyers offer free case evaluations and, if they take up your premises liability accident case, a convenient contingency-fee arrangement, per which you don’t pay for legal services unless and until your attorney succeeds in recovering compensation on your behalf.

Can the Property Owners Try to Get out of Compensating Me for Damages?

In any premises liability legal case, there are two sides, the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (the person accused of negligence). Whether you bring a case to the plaintiff’s insurance company or to court, they can try to defend themselves and not compensate you justly.

First, they can claim that they did not know the condition on the property could cause injury or harm. Negligence law holds, however, that premises need preventive maintenance and repair. It also holds that the standard is not what the individual defendant actually did or knew, but rather what the average reasonable person would do or know.

In other words, a landlord may try to say that they didn’t know about a dangerous staircase in a rental building, even if every renter in the building knew about it. If the average reasonable person knew it or should have known it, however, the law holds that the individual landlord should have known it. Public property owners that welcome invitees onto their property are expected to inspect their property regularly, to ensure that they discover potentially dangerous conditions.

Second, they can claim they didn’t have time to fix or rectify the dangerous condition. Here, too, the law uses a reasonable person standard. If a reasonable person would have had time to discover or repair it, the law states that the property owner is held to that standard.

Time, though, is sometimes a complicating factor. What if store patrons bring in wet umbrellas after a thunderstorm, and store employees genuinely don’t have time to put up safety barriers and mop up the water before a patron slips and falls? Any dangerous condition requires swift action, but property owners can try to argue that they were in the midst of fixing it or didn’t have time to fix it between whatever caused the dangerous condition and your injury.

Employees in business establishments should receive training that alerts them to the necessity of rectifying any dangerous conditions as rapidly as possible, and to the necessity of performing inspections and maintenance. A business owner cannot claim untrained or improperly trained employees as a defense.

Third, they can claim you are at fault for your injuries. Business owners can say that dangerous condition was clearly marked. They can say you jostled cases or displays and caused them to fall on you. A homeowner can claim that they warned you about potentially dangerous areas.

You need to provide evidence to counter these arguments. When you are harmed on someone else’s premises, take pictures of the area if you have a smartphone with you. A picture is worth 1,000 words if it clearly shows a dangerous condition. Talk to eyewitnesses if any are there. Take pictures of your injuries, as well. See a doctor as soon as possible. Keep all medical records related to the accident and your injuries.

If you are injured in a business establishment, always report it to the manager. Why? Because a failure to report may seem to a jury, or opposing counsel may argue, that it’s evidence you weren’t injured seriously.

Finally, call our Newark premises liability attorneys for help with all of the above. We can present your case in a way that ensures the defendants take your claim seriously.

Call Our Newark Premises Liability Lawyers Now

If you suffered an injury on someone else’s property in Newark and are struggling to pay the medical bills that resulted, we can help. The Newark premises liability lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are standing by to listen to your story and see what we can do to help you recover the compensation you need to move on with your life.

Please call us now at our Neward office at (973) 643-2707, write to us using our online contact page, or feel free to start a live chat with one of our representatives. We look forward to hearing from you.

Newark Office

550 Broad Street suite 608
Newark NJ 07102

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