South Jersey Sidewalk Slip & Fall Lawyer
When sidewalks are swarming with other pedestrians and their pets, or during inclement weather, navigating a New Jersey or Pennsylvania sidewalk can be challenging. When residential landowners or commercial property owners allow their sidewalks to fall into disrepair, it can seem downright impossible to use them without risking serious injury. If you’ve been hurt by a slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall caused by a poorly-maintained sidewalk, you could have a right to money damages to help you afford your medical expenses, make up for any missed work, and compensate you for your pain and suffering. Call me, Joseph Monaco, a South Jersey sidewalk slip & fall lawyer, for a free consultation. I will answer your questions and help you determine whether you have a solid legal claim for compensation.
Who Has a Duty to Keep Sidewalks Safe?
In order to determine whether someone is liable for injuries resulting from a sidewalk trip-and-fall, you need to start with a few basic facts: the city and state in which the sidewalk was located, and the type of building in front of which the sidewalk was located. In Pennsylvania, for instance, residential landowners have a duty to repair their sidewalks if they are known to be in an unreasonably dangerous condition, or at least put up a warning about the hazard so sidewalk users can avoid the danger. Commercial property owners in Pennsylvania have a higher level of responsibility which also includes making periodic inspections of their sidewalks to discover any dangers they might not otherwise know about. For sidewalks abutting government offices, the Pennsylvania Government Tort Claims Act and the Sovereign Immunity Act will come into play. Depending on the municipality and applicable law, pursuing a case against a government entity like the City of Philadelphia can be more complex, unless the city had prior sufficient notice of the hazard yet failed to correct it.
In New Jersey, commercial building owners must repair and maintain their sidewalks to keep them free of hazards as needed, from accumulated snow and ice after a storm to unreasonably large cracks in the pavement or other tripping hazards. For residential landowners, however, the duty to clear the sidewalk after a storm varies from city to city. In many cities, there is no responsibility for sidewalks in front of residences to be safe from any tripping hazards or precipitation. One exception to this rule is that, if the hazard was introduced by the landowner themselves, as opposed to the hazard being one that originated naturally, then the landowner could be liable to the accident victim for the injuries they suffered as a result. Additionally, governmental liability for sidewalks in front of public office buildings is extremely complex under New Jersey’s Tort Claims Act. I have been practicing personal injury law for decades and my law firm can help you receive the compensation you are owed whenever you have a claim against a negligent landowner.
New Jersey & Pennsylvania Follow the Ongoing Storm Rule
One sidewalk hazard every New Jersey or Pennsylvania resident is well aware of is the slipping hazard of wet, snowy or icy sidewalks and the duty of adjacent property owners to keep their sidewalks clear. Of course, while a storm is ongoing, this task can be impractical if not impossible. In 2021, the New Jersey Supreme Court adopted the “ongoing storm rule,” also known as the “storm in progress doctrine,” which relieves property owners of a duty to clear the sidewalks until a reasonable time has passed after the “cessation of precipitation.” The court recognized a couple of exceptions to this rule, however; if the owner’s conduct increases the risk of a slip and fall or the danger existed before the storm, the owner could still be liable for the accident. For example, if the sidewalk was already covered in ice from a previous storm that was never cleared, and a new snowfall masked the treacherous condition underneath, the owner could be liable. Another example given by the court is if the commercial building owner did something like moving the customer’s vehicle to the very back of the lot or behind the building, forcing the customer to walk an extra distance on an icy or treacherous sidewalk to get to their car. Although these exceptions to the rule exist, it could be difficult to answer questions such as, when did the prior storm end? Was the sidewalk icy because of the previous storm or the current one? You will need the help of an experienced trial lawyer to build your case for compensation in unusual cases like these.
NJ Slip & Fall Lawyer Serving Atlantic City, Marlton, Cherry Hill, Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville, Camden, Trenton
While most trip and fall accidents result only in minor scrapes and bruises, much more serious injuries can also result, including broken ribs, traumatic brain injuries, deep cuts and lacerations, and fractured wrists and arms. Make sure you get the money you need to get back on your feet after an accident through legal action against the negligent party. Call or text me, Joseph Monaco, at 609-277-3166 or 215-546-3166 for a Free Consultation and the No Recovery, No Fee Guarantee. As a New Jersey and Pennsylvania trial lawyer, I handle cases throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Marlton, Atlantic City, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Camden, Philadelphia, Media, Norristown, Reading, and more.