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Can you hold a property owner responsible for a fall?

As another winter descends on New Jersey, treacherous conditions abound on roads as well as sidewalks and walkways. Slipping and falling on snow-packed, icy walkways may seem like a necessary evil for those of us who live here in the northeast. However, it's important to know that property owners, private and commercial, have some responsibility for keeping their property as hazard-free as possible for visitors.

In the legal world, accidents that happen on someone else's property are often referred to as "slip and fall" cases. This may sound trivial. However, for the people who have done the slipping and falling, their injuries may be anything but trivial.

If you have suffered an injury that requires medical treatment or has kept you away from work, do you have a right to recoup this money as well as other damages from the owner of the property where the accident occurred? It depends.

Each case is unique. However, there are some general guidelines regarding what you need to prove to hold a property owner or possessor liable for your injury and subsequent damages. For example:

-- Did the property owner know that there was a "dangerous condition?"

-- Did that person or entity create or fail to correct the condition?

-- Could the injured party have reasonably anticipated the condition?

Both commercial and residential property owners can potentially be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. If you have suffered an injury on a property and you believe that the property owner has not sufficiently compensated you for any damages that you incurred due to your injury, you may be able to hold that property owner, as well as other responsible parties, civilly liable. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can provide advice and guidance.

Source: FindLaw, "Slip and Fall Accidents Overview," accessed Nov. 24, 2015

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