In the State of New Jersey, an owner of property has an obligation to make the property reasonably safe for all people who visit the property. Unfortunately, sometimes the condition of a floor, a sidewalk, a parking lot, a staircase or other areas where it is foreseeable that people will be walking, causes one to trip and fall thereby sustaining bodily injuries. If it can be shown that the owner of the land or the person in charge of maintaining the land allowed a dangerous condition or unreasonable condition to exist, the injured person is entitled to fair and reasonable compensation for pain and suffering, disability and impairment and loss of enjoyment of life. Such dangerous conditions include broken sidewalks, broken pavement, raised sidewalk slabs, improper height differential between curbs and/or stairs and any other condition which could cause someone to catch their foot, lose their balance and fall.
After an individual sustains an injury as a result of a trip and fall, the primary concern is obtaining medical treatment minimize the pain-and-suffering and future disability and impairment. Often times, individuals who sustain these types of injuries do not have health insurance. It is important to note that many policies of insurance that cover commercial establishments as well as private homes often carry a “medical pay” provision which will provide the injured party with limited coverage for medical bills related to the injury sustained in the fall. Generally, untrained individuals are not aware of the existence of these “medical pay” provisions and, unless the appropriate questions are asked of the land owner’s insurance company, an injured individual may never know of the existence of this available insurance coverage.
In determining what constitutes a “dangerous condition” or an “unreasonable condition” of a property, it is important to “preserve” the dangerous condition of the property as soon as practical after the fall so that the landowner does not make repairs to the property for purposes of concealing the existence of the improper condition. The “preservation” of evidence of the dangerous condition generally can be done through the use of photographs or independent witness testimony. Oftentimes, however, it is necessary to hire a professional engineer to evaluate the condition, take measurements and appropriately record the existence of the condition in preparation for use in a litigation. Attorneys work closely with these engineers for purposes of ensuring that the appropriate evidence is preserved in the event a lawsuit is filed.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a trip and fall on what you believe to be a dangerous condition of property, please feel free to contact us to further discuss your matter so that we may evaluate same during a free consultation.