Between the severe snowstorms and the two bone-chilling bouts with the polar vortex, Mother Nature has certainly hit New Jersey residents hard this winter. The combination of these wintery elements has lead to some hazardous conditions for many of those in the Garden State – particularly pedestrians and shoppers.

Sadly, many New Jersey shoppers are finding themselves being greeted by icy sidewalks and snowy parking lots instead of properly cleared and maintained walkways. Add this to the fact that store aisles and entryways often become treacherous as people track in snow, slush and ice, and the dangers become even more apparent.

However, while these slippery conditions may be a mere inconvenience to most, they can quickly become more significant if they result in a fall – causing severe injury in the process. It is in these unexpected situations that a New Jersey slip-and-fall victim needs to be aware of his or her rights.

Premise liability in New Jersey

In New Jersey, slip-and-fall accidents in businesses are typically governed by an area of the law known as premise liability. Essentially, under New Jersey premise liability law, business owners must exercise due care in all circumstances, which encompasses many duties, including:

  • The duty to maintain a premises in a “reasonably safe” condition
  • The duty to avoid creating a dangerous condition
  • The duty to discover and rectify a possible dangerous condition

Ultimately, if a customer suffers an injury as a result of a dangerous condition – such as slippery floors – the storeowner may be liable if he or she knew of the condition or if it existed long enough that the storeowner should have known, which is otherwise referred to as constructive knowledge.

For instance, if there is a dangerous water puddle on a store’s floor and a customer slips and injures him or herself in a fall, the store may be liable if it created the puddle or if the puddle had been there for some time and no employee cleaned it up.

Importantly, the duties of storeowners do not stop at the door – many duties extend outside as well. Indeed, store liability for slip-and-fall accidents may also attach when patrons and customer slip on icy sidewalks or parking lots, although it all depends on the circumstances.

Legal assistance can help determine the scope of duties

When it comes to slip-and-fall accidents inside and around New Jersey stores, the question of liability can often be a complex one, particularly when store space is leased or the duties regarding snow removal are delegated to other parties. Consequently, if you or loved one has suffered an injury due to a slip-and-fall accident, it is often best to seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help review the circumstances of your injury and outline what your rights and options may be given your situation.