As we turn back the clocks this weekend, leaves fall and the weather turns cooler, autumn is upon us in the New Jersey and New York areas. Many people may not realize that wet leaves and poor lighting due to Daylight Savings time can pose hazards and create a risk for slip and fall injuries, which can be serious and require medical treatment. In this blog post, we’ll review common causes and liability considerations of the fall season’s slip and fall accidents.
Slip and Fall on Leaves
Wet leaves can be just as dangerous as ice in the wintertime. Wet leaves on a sidewalk, parking lot or blown into an interior hallway can be quite slippery. Pedestrians may not notice that wet leaves are covering up potholes or jagged concrete causing them to trip and fall. The impact of the changing light due to Daylight Savings Time can make it harder to see hazards on the road or sidewalk. Slipping and falling because of wet leaves can cause serious injuries including:
- Broken bones
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Soft tissue injuries
- Traumatic brain injury
Both property owners and municipalities alike have a legal responsibility to remove hazards from sidewalks, parking lots and common public areas. If they haven’t done so and a person sustains an injury due to that hazard, they could be held liable.
Liability for a Slip and Fall Accident at a Commercial Property
Commercial property owners in New Jersey not only have a responsibility to provide a safe walkway but they also could be held liable for injuries occurring from a slip-and-fall accident. Unlike residential property owners, a business or commercial property owner benefits financially from its patrons using the public sidewalk in front of or adjoining their business. The law requires a greater ‘duty of care’ for commercial property owners to look for and correct hazards on their premises. This includes property owners of retail businesses, restaurants, apartment buildings and parking lots.
If you’ve been injured on a commercial property, including sidewalks and steps, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your damages.
Liability for Falling on Leaves at a Residence
Under New Jersey law, property owners are obligated to provide a safe walkway for people who are visiting their property, regardless of weather conditions. This also includes publicly-owned sidewalks adjacent to or in front of the property. That being said, the responsibility to clear the wet leaves from sidewalks does not necessarily also mean the property owner could be held liable for any injuries sustained in an accident. Generally, residential property owners aren’t held liable for injuries unless the homeowner has created an artificially dangerous condition. For instance, perhaps the residential property owner planted a tree that caused the roots to push through the sidewalk causing an uneven walkway, in addition to a slippery condition. In that scenario, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim.
Compensation for a Slip and Fall Accident on Leaves
Your first step after a slip and fall accident should be to seek medical care. Once your care is stable, you should contact a slip and fall accident lawyer to discuss your case. A skilled personal injury attorney will build a strong case with solid evidence to prove your claim.
Slip and fall injury claims or lawsuits typically will seek compensation for two types of damages -- economic and non-economic. Economic damages include tangible losses such as medical bills and lost income. Non-economic damages include intangible losses like pain and suffering. In the case of serious injury and long-lasting disability, your claim will also seek compensation for future medical costs for ongoing care and treatment as well as the lost income you would have received if you are not able to return to work.
Brandon J. Broderick, Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident caused by wet leaves or another hazard, you should consider discussing your case with an experienced slip and fall lawyer. At Brandon J Broderick, Attorney at Law, we believe in compassion and empathy and will aggressively litigate your claim to maximize your compensation. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success, our top-rated law firm will get you the justice you deserve.