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Was the property owner responsible for your slip and fall?

Your feet came out from under you and you hit the ground -- hard. The injuries you suffered in a slip and fall might not be life threatening, but you could be out of work for a while and have extensive medical expenses. You could file a personal injury claim in a New Jersey civil court seeking restitution for your damages.

Before the court will consider an award of damages, you must provide proof that the property owner was legally responsible for your injuries. First, the property owner is responsible for ensuring your safety while you are lawfully on the property. As such, reasonable measures need to be taken to do so.

You need to establish that the property owner, a manager or other employee should have known about the hazard that led to your fall. The key is to prove that any reasonable person would have considered the situation dangerous and done something about it. In the alternative, you need to prove that an employee, manager or owner of the property actually did know about the hazard, but did nothing to fix it. In some cases, one of those individuals who is responsible for your safety on the property caused the hazard in the first place.

A New Jersey court might also consider whether you could have avoided the hazard that caused your injuries. A balance needs to be found between the property owner's reasonable responsibilities and your responsibility to be aware of your surroundings. An attorney would investigate the circumstances surrounding your accident such as how long the defect was present, whether routine cleaning and/or maintenance was done and whether periodic inspections were done to ensure that no hazards were present. These and other factors could provide the evidence needed to prove that your slip and fall was, in fact, the responsibility of the property owner.

Source: FindLaw, "Proving Fault in Slip and Fall Accidents", Accessed on March 13, 2017

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