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New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

  • What should I Do after a Slip and Fall injury?

Documenting the circumstances of your fall and getting help right away are the most important steps to take. Otherwise, you could be making a big mistake. Learn what you need to do after a slip and fall injury.

  • When should I hire a lawyer?

In a slip and fall case, the sooner, the better. It doesn’t take long for evidence to start disappearing and insurance companies to start undermining your claim. Find out the perfect time to hire an attorney to help you.

  • Hiring a lawyer sounds scary. Is it?

Hiring a lawyer may sound intimidating, but really, it’s empowering. By managing the claim for you, we free you up to focus on recovery. Find out how a lawyer can make your life easier after a slip and fall accident.

 

New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

Answers you’ll find here:

What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall?
When Should I Hire a Lawyer? 
Hiring a Lawyer Sounds Scary. Is It? 
How Can Our New Jersey Lawyers Help You?
Why Do You Need Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury?
How Do Slip and Fall Cases Work?
What Dangerous Conditions Lead to Slip and Falls?
Slip and Fall Lawsuits and Insurance Companies
What Compensation Can You Get for Your Injuries?
What Is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?
How Much Will a Slip and Fall Lawyer Cost?
Slip and fall FAQs: Your Slip and Fall Questions Answered
What if a Slip and Fall Turns Into a Wrongful Death Claim?
How Much Time Do I Have to Pursue a Slip and Fall Claim?

More than you expected

What at first seemed like an embarrassing incident has proven to be so much more than you expected. You slipped and fell. Then, you got up and tried to walk it off.

It hurt, but not, you thought, as much as your pride. You didn’t want to make a bigger deal of the fall than necessary – not with the faces of the other shoppers, diners, or visitors to a private residence staring at you like that. You’d feel better after a couple hours, or at most, a couple days.

But you didn’t feel better. If anything, now you feel even worse. What started as an aching back, arm, or leg is now a source of such unbearable pain that it’s limiting how you can move and what you can do. Work is getting harder and harder to keep up with, and home treatments like ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers just aren’t enough.

Now, you’re starting to worry what will happen if things carry on this way – if the fall was more serious than you realized.

  • Unless you get medical care, this injury may never heal correctly. This pain could become a permanent part of your life.
  • If those physical limitations don’t improve, you may well lose your job. From there, a financial disaster is almost certain. How long could you keep paying the bills without a paycheck?
  • The sudden income loss couldn’t happen at a worse time. The medical care needed to recover from a serious fall injury is outrageously expensive – on average, between $30,000 and $40,000.

This is no time for wishful thinking. The only way this problem is going away is if you get the money you need to pay for the costs of rehabilitation. And that means having a New Jersey personal injury lawyer on your side.

What Should You Do After a Slip and Fall in New Jersey?

New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

If you just slipped and fell, here’s what you need to know right now – the top 10 things to do after a slip and fall.

  1. Get medical care. If you are seriously injured, don’t hesitate to call 911. It’s not embarrassing, it’s smart. Slip and fall injuries can be really severe, and the last thing you want to do is attempt to drive yourself to a medical facility only to pass out or, in your state of shock, cause a car accident. (If your injuries aren’t that serious, be ready to call your doctor to get checked out as soon as you leave the store.)
  2. Report the accident immediately to the property owner. If in a store or restaurant, ask a manager to give you an incident report form. If needed, ask for help completing the form. DON’T sign anything, but DO ask for a copy of the report.
  3. Take photos of the scene and your injury. You want to make sure that any visible safety hazard is documented in a photograph and to show what your injuries look like right now (because bruising, bleeding, swelling, and other symptoms can change over time.
  4. Collect the contact information of the property owner and manager, as well as the owner’s insurance information. You will need information like the name of the insurance company, the policy number, and the official name and location of the business where you fell.
  5. Collect the contact information of any witnesses. If possible, ask them to write down for you their account of what happened now, while it’s fresh in their heads, rather than waiting until weeks or months have passed to ask them what they remember.
  6. Contact a slip and fall lawyer to guide you through the process. You don’t have to hire a lawyer before you notify the defendant’s insurance company of the incident, but we strongly recommend you do, for two reasons: 1) to avoid saying something you shouldn’t and 2) so that we can handle this hassle for you.
  7. Avoid statements of fault and recorded statements in general, if you do speak with the defendant’s insurance company on your own. Notifying the insurer of the accident is important but can pose several pitfalls, which is why you’re better off having a lawyer do this for you, if possible.
  8. Start a file for documents, or send them your attorney’s way so we can keep your file up to date for you. Every paper you get, from incident reports to insurance company forms to medical bills, is a valuable piece of evidence that you can’t risk losing.
  9. Keep your clothes and shoes in the same condition they were in at the time of the slip and fall. DON’T wash your clothes or clean your shoes, even if blood, a spilled substance, or another mess has gotten on them. If the insurance company later tries to place the blame on you, this evidence can show that it wasn’t your footwear that caused the fall.
  10. Minimize social media use. It can be tempting to vent on social media about how upsetting or embarrassing the whole situation was, how much pain you’re in, or how your medical appointments are going. But the more you say on social media, the more you’re putting your claim at risk. An insurance adjuster can stalk your social media profiles – even if you think your account is private – and will take out of context anything that could suggest that your injuries aren’t serious. Even posts unrelated to your injury can support the insurer’s argument that you aren’t as badly hurt as you claim.

The most important thing you must do after a slip and fall is to see a doctor. But nearly as important is protecting your legal rights by hiring a New Jersey slip and fall lawyer.

Once you have a doctor to treat you and an attorney to handle your case, this will all get easier. From then on, your most important job is simply to work toward recovery.

  • Go to your doctor’s appointments.
  • Follow your physician’s recommendations.
  • Get the rest your body needs.
  • Let us handle everything else.

 

When Should I Hire a Lawyer?

Hiring a lawyer as soon as you reasonably can is in your best interests after a slip and fall.

By this, we don’t mean that we expect you to call an attorney as you’re lying on the floor in pain. The immediate aftermath of a slip and fall is too hectic for you to possibly think of that. But it’s virtually never too early after an accident to have that initial (free) conversation with an attorney.

Why?

Getting an early start is crucial to investigating your claim thoroughly.

It also puts us in position to open the claim with the insurance company for you, which both removes this burden from you and allows us to make sure you don’t make any common mistakes when dealing with the insurance company.

And, of course, talking to you shortly after the accident means we can offer you more help when you need it most. Whether you’re not sure how to go about getting medical care based on the symptoms you have, you have questions about who is at fault, or you just want to better understand your legal rights, we’re able to draw on our decades of experience to give you reliable answers. You can’t count on getting the right information if you turn to Google or to well-meaning but ill-informed friends and family members for advice.

What happens if you do call a lawyer “too early?”

Well, we may need to wait until you see a doctor about your injuries to tell you for sure if you have a claim, but we can still help steer you in the right direction regardless. You certainly can’t lose anything, since you aren’t being charged for the conversation.

If you hire our lawyers early on to represent you and decide later on that your injury isn’t really serious enough to pursue the claim, you can close out your case at no cost. You had us in place as a safety net, which is the smart thing to do, and you lost nothing by doing so.

Hiring a Lawyer Sounds Scary. Is It?

We get it – hiring a lawyer is no one’s first choice. You’d rather this injury go away on its own, with no need for a legal ordeal. For that matter, you’d rather the accident never happened in the first place.

But now that it has, hiring an attorney really is necessary – even if it’s a scary step.

That, we think, is what makes hiring a lawyer so intimidating. It’s not us (at least, we hope not – especially once you meet our attorneys yourself).

It’s really the worry about the legal process: what it entails, what it asks of you, what you risk when you undertake it.

A lot of what makes this whole process so scary is the fact that, unless you have a law school education yourself, you probably don’t know much about it. Your attorney will help you make sense of it all and handle the legwork for you, but first, you need to resolve to actually hire one.

You know what’s a hundred times scarier than hiring a lawyer?

  • Living with this pain indefinitely, day in and day out.
  • Never getting any better – and maybe risking getting worse.
  • Having to declare bankruptcy, and tanking your credit score, because you can’t pay your medical bills.
  • Losing your job.
  • Wiping out your family’s savings with no way to replenish it.
  • Losing your home because you can’t pay the rent or mortgage.
  • Having to give up the things you love – your favorite hobbies, favorite sports, favorite activities, trips to your favorite destinations, and so much more – because you’re no longer well enough to enjoy them.
  • Giving up hope.

It takes bravery to reach out to an attorney, just as it does to ask for help in any other context. But, whatever your reason for fighting back – your family, your passion, your indefatigable spirit – it’s a good enough reason to make hiring a lawyer a priority.

How Can Our New Jersey Lawyers Help You?

You’re not eager to sue for a slip and fall. Neither are most of our clients.

But, once they’re faced with the reality of what life with a serious and preventable injury is like, they realize that filing a claim is the only prudent thing to do to protect their family and preserve their financial stability. Until it happens to you, it’s almost impossible to grasp just how many things a slip and fall injury steals out of your life: your health, your career, your savings, and even your freedom.

In a perfect world, you wouldn’t need a lawyer, because this accident would never have happened in the first place. But, in the real world, not only do accidents happen – they also set off chain reactions that continue to cause you real, serious harm long after the day you fell.

A New Jersey slip and fall lawyer steps in to stop this chain reaction in its tracks and make sure that you are fully made whole for every single loss this accident has caused. We’ll work relentlessly to get you every dollar of compensation you deserve – money that will cover everything from missing out on income to planning for the expense of future medical care.

Here’s what our slip and fall attorneys will do for you:

  • Investigate the circumstances and legal responsibility for your accident
  • Secure any security video surveillance that shows your fall and the conditions that caused it.
  • Gather all of the evidence that shows that the property owner should have done more to prevent your fall.
  • Analyze incident reports and other documentation and use our findings to support your claim for compensation.
  • Interview the witnesses to your fall ourselves to find out their full accounts of what happened – not the partial, biased story the defendant wants them to tell.
  • Obtain and review all of your medical records related to the fall injury and use them to show that you deserve full compensation.
  • Bring in experts in flooring and traction, architecture and building codes, biomechanics and anatomy, snow and ice management, and accident reconstruction to weigh in on your claim – advancing all costs for you.
  • Prepare your claim as meticulously as we would for a trial, even our attorneys succeed in settling most of our slip and fall claims out of court. This includes maintaining your complete file, filing all legal documents, and handling all interactions with the insurance company.
  • Craft a compelling demand letter and supporting demand package that outlines precisely why the defendant’s insurer owes you every dollar of compensation you’re entitled to.
  • Negotiate with the insurance company, arguing relentlessly on your behalf until we succeed in getting you the maximum settlement.
  • Represent you in all legal proceedings, from depositions up to and including a courtroom trial in front of a jury or judge, if needed.
  • Advocate and educate you about the lawsuit process every step of the way and make sure you understand how much money you will walk away with once all costs are paid.
  • See that all outstanding medical bills and other costs are paid – and, when necessary, negotiated down to save you money – and your money disbursed to you promptly.

Why Do You Need Compensation for a Slip and Fall Injury?

If you’re wondering if you really need compensation for a slip and fall injury, here are the things you need to think about:

  • Your injuries. If you sustained significant injuries that lasted more than a short while and affected your life, then you need compensation, period. Just “getting through” your life isn’t good enough. Dealing with pain and disability, perhaps indefinitely, is unacceptable when, prior to the accident, you had a healthy, active, busy life.
  • Your medical costs. Who’s going to bear the massive burden of the medical bills? Your own family? That’s not fair. The people who caused this whole ordeal are the ones who should be paying for the consequences, not the family that is already struggling with the physical and emotional impact of your injury. 
  • Your income. Whether you’re the main provider for the family or just bringing in some extra cash, you shouldn’t be missing out on a paycheck because someone else was careless. Your lost wages could mean missing mortgage payments or falling behind on other bills – and that could lead to catastrophic consequences like eviction, foreclosure, and a major drop in your credit score. 
  • Your career. It gets even worse. What if the accident doesn’t just keep you out of work temporarily? You may be permanently disabled in a way that prevents you from going back to work, or at least to the job you had chosen. Or, you could be out of work so long that you lose your job or at least your potential for promotions and upward mobility. If you’ve spent years mastering a skill or preparing for this career path, you’re suddenly starting over from the bottom. Don’t you think someone should pay for that?
  • Your abilities. Life is about more than just work. If the slip and fall accident has limited your ability to live your life in any way, the person responsible needs to answer for that. Whether it’s getting down on the floor to play with your children, running marathons, or playing an instrument, this is a part of your life that you have lost, and the reality is that you might never get it back.
  • Your quality of life. Remember when you weren’t in pain all the time? Remember when you felt free, in control, and able to enjoy all of the best parts of your life? If it wasn’t for the accident, you would still be living your very best life right now. Instead, you feel trapped, maybe even hopeless. You deserve to still have the same quality of life you enjoyed before the fall.

Can you sue for these non-tangible things like quality of life?

It’s certainly harder to put a number on considerations like the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have gone through, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve compensation for them. We call losses of this nature “non-economic damages,” and we fight hard to get the money you deserve for them.

After all, the money you receive can help minimize the impact of the injury on your quality of life by allowing you to adjust your routine, modify your home or work environment and afford assistive devices and outside help that can help you regain your quality of life.

You can’t simply offset the full range of consequences of a serious slip and fall. Unless it was such a minor injury that you needed little medical care, missed little or no time at work, and were completely back to your old self almost immediately, you really do need compensation for what this accident has put you through.

How Do Slip and Fall Cases Work?

Even if you’ve heard of slip and fall personal injury cases, you never thought that you would have to pursue one. There’s a good chance you have no idea what to expect from the slip and fall claims process. In our experience, most claimants don’t.

As your guides and advocates, we want to make sure you know everything you want to know about the elements of a slip and fall claim (so we’ll go into that more in the next section). First, though, here are the basics you need to know about slip and fall claims – the challenges, the role of a lawyer, who you can sue, and who will pay for the harm you’ve suffered.

The Challenges of Establishing the Facts of a Slip and Fall Claim

There are certain elements you must prove to show that you deserve compensation for your slip and fall, but proving these elements isn’t easy.

You need evidence strong enough to get past a host of common defenses the at-fault party regularly relies on in cases like this.

You need on your side someone who can competently and confidently argue for your best interests – someone who won’t back down just because the defendant tries to shift the blame to you or suggest that no one is really at fault.

Here are some of the biggest challenges that arise in a slip and fall claim:

  • Difficulty proving fault. In most cases, the other side isn’t going to simply take your word for it that they are at fault for the accident. Even if the defendant recognizes and admits fault, the insurance company – the one responsible for paying your settlement – will make you jump through many hoops to prove your side of the story. You need plenty of evidence – including photos, video surveillance footage, witness accounts, incident reports, and much more – to successfully prove fault. Without this evidence, you may have no claim.
  • Difficulty proving damages. Likewise, you need to illustrate that the accident directly caused the damages you sustained, from your physical injuries to your lost wages. You would be surprised how often an insurance adjuster suggests that these very real harms that followed the injury are, in fact, unrelated to the fall. Again, having evidence to back up your claim is crucial.
  • Claim denials and other insurance issues. If you run into obstacles like an insurance company dragging its feet on your claim, denying it outright, or offering up a ridiculously small settlement amount, it’s time to get a lawyer. These practices are all too common, but they’re very hard to overcome unless you have a professional on the case who is able to devote plenty of time to contradicting every misrepresentation and flawed argument the insurance company comes up with in its effort to get your claim to disappear with as little expense possible on their part.

Why You Need a Lawyer for a New Jersey Slip and Fall Claim

How do you fight back when these challenges threaten to undermine your slip and fall claim? Your best option is to hire an experienced lawyer.

Establishing the facts that warrant compensation is among the most important roles your attorney has. In fact, launching the investigation to gather evidence to support your case is how we begin our work for you. We meticulously identify every possible piece of evidence that could be valuable to your claim and track it down for you, making sure that it hasn’t been tampered with.

When needed, we also hire independent experts who can shed more light on what caused your fall, so that the defendant can’t get away with even subtle forms of negligence that may not be evident without their highly trained eyes. We do the same diligence when proving your damages – looking at the big picture to recognize even losses that you may not be aware of yet, gathering complete documentation of every one of these harms, and bringing in experts if necessary who can speak to the severity of your injuries.

Of course, your lawyer’s role doesn’t end with building a file of evidence in your favor. Far from being passive, our attorneys are actively representing you and your interests daily, initiating settlement demands and keeping the insurance adjuster’s attention focused consistently on your claim. We won’t let your needs go ignored or your claim lag behind needlessly while your family suffers.

From formal legal proceedings to less formal settlement negotiations, we represent our clients throughout every step of the process.

If our job has one primary goal, it’s to get you the compensation you deserve. The research shows that you need a lawyer to get the most money.

In fact, lawyers get, on average, 3.5 times what claimants with no legal representation get for themselves.

Who Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall?

Any person who negligently maintains a property could be named in a lawsuit for a slip and fall that ensues. Depending on the facts of your case – where and how you fell, for example – you may sue any of the following parties (or some combination of defendants):

  • Commercial property owners
  • Private property owners
  • Property managers
  • Property maintenance companies
  • Custodians
  • Landlords
  • Tenants
  • Government entities

It can be difficult to determine exactly which party is responsible for your injury. If you fell in a store in a mall, for example, do you sue the company renting and doing business in the store, the owner of the entire mall, the professional cleaning and custodian service used by the store, or someone else?

Once you retain an attorney, figuring out this conundrum is no longer your problem. We look closely at precisely who was responsible for the aspect of property maintenance relevant to your fall. We will name in your lawsuit any party that played a role in your injury to make sure that you aren’t missing out on any of the compensation you deserve.

Who Pays for a Slip and Fall?

One reason many slip and fall victims opt not to pursue the compensation they need is the fear of who else is harmed financially when they receive a settlement.

If you fell at a friend’s home, a neighbor’s backyard barbecue, or a favorite mom-and-pop store or restaurant, you may worry that suing is selfish. As much as you legitimately do need the money, you don’t want to take that money from a person you love or a local small business.

Rest assured that this isn’t how it works.

Commercial businesses and homeowners have insurance policies in place to cover the costs of accidents just like yours, because they know this kind of accident could happen. Filing a slip and fall claim doesn’t mean wiping out your friend’s savings or putting the future of a small business in jeopardy. It just means using the insurance benefits the homeowner or business has already bought specifically for this possibility.

Of course, there are limitations in insurance payments, too. For example, the defendant’s insurance company will only pay claims up to the amount of the policy limits.

The Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim

What exactly do you have to prove to move forward with a slip and fall lawsuit? There are very specific elements involved in a slip and fall claim. Among the most important of these elements are liability, negligence, and what constitutes a dangerous condition of a property.

Liability: Legal Responsibility for a Slip and Fall

In the legal world, liability is a term that means a person or entity is at fault for, and legally responsible for the consequences of, a situation.

  1. To establish liability for a slip and fall, you first need to establish that the defendant owed you a duty of care.
  2. Then you must show that the defendant failed to meet that duty – that this party was negligent in allowing a dangerous condition to exist.
  3. Finally, you have to prove that this dangerous condition is what caused the damages you are claiming.

What does it mean to have a duty of care? Generally, the person who owns a property or uses it for business purposes has a duty to keep the premises in reasonably safe condition for normal use. That duty is more extensive in certain situations than in others.

Did You Know…?  It’s a widely held misconception that a trespasser who gets injured on a person’s property has grounds for a lawsuit. Generally, property owners don’t owe trespassers any duty of care – other than to not intentionally cause them injury.

On commercial properties, people visiting to shop, dine, purchase services, or enjoy events and entertainment are considered business invitees. Businesses owe their invitees the highest duty of care possible. Not only must they keep all customer areas, from parking lot walkways to store aisles, free of safety hazards, but they must also inspect the property to ensure that it remains safe.

The burden is less restrictive on the owners of private, residential properties like single-family homes. As an invited guest to a person’s home, your host owes you a duty to keep the property safe and warn you of any potential hazards but is not required to inspect the property specifically for your safety.

Determining liability means looking at the facts to determine if the property owner was negligent in some way that allowed a dangerous condition to exist on the premises.

 

What Does Negligence Mean in a Slip and Fall Accident?

Just because you fell in a store or at someone’s home doesn’t always mean you can sue. Negligence isn’t automatic. Instead, you must prove that an unsafe condition on the property is what caused your injury – not pure bad luck or a poor decision or moment of clumsiness on your own part.

Forms of Property Owner Negligence

The negligence of a property owner can take many different forms. You may have a claim if you can trace the cause of your slip and fall back to the property owner’s:

  • Failure to responsibly maintain the premises
  • Failure to remove existing hazards on the property
  • Carelessness in securing the property

Negligence commonly goes along with failing to act, but it doesn’t always mean that the property owner or manager has done nothing. Sometimes, it means that the attempts to warn of danger or fix the problem weren’t enough – or even that they made things worse.

What steps can a property owner take that fail to meet their duty of care? Here are a couple of examples:

  1. If there’s a wet or slick patch on the floor of a retail store, carefully placing wet floor signs around that area until the condition is resolved is the appropriate way to address the danger. It warns business invitees of the risk and guides them away from the hazardous condition. However, putting a wet floor sign in a general area of the store and leaving it there permanently doesn’t warn shoppers of any real, specific hazardous conditions – and it doesn’t protect the business from the consequences if a customer falls on such a hazard. Our New Jersey slip and fall lawyers can clients secure compensation even when the defendant tries to rely on this erroneous wet floor sign argument.
  2. Ice and snow buildup is a natural result of inclement weather, but property owners – especially business owners – may still have the duty to address weather-related dangers. If a business owner’s halfhearted efforts to remove ice and snow actually make the walking surface more dangerous, the individual or company may be liable for the damage.

Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Claims 

As you can see, determining fault for a slip and fall accident is challenging. Matters get even more complicated if there’s an element of comparative negligence to your situation.

Comparative negligence means that you, the plaintiff, are partially at fault for the accident.

Could you have done more to avoid the accident? Should you? Honestly, that determination depends on the unique facts of your situation.

  • If you carelessly walked between visible wet floor signs placed near and clearly marking a spill or wet patch of floor and slipped, you are legally considered to have assumed the risk of an injury by disregarding these warnings. You probably don’t have a case, because you are likely to be considered at fault for the accident.
  • If the hazardous condition has existed for some time, yet the business made no effort to warn of it or address it, the store is likely to be found fully at fault.
  • However, there are many situations that fall in between these two scenarios. Perhaps there was no wet floor sign, but the fall happened in a place where you might reasonably expect to encounter some slippery conditions, such as near the sinks in a restroom or in the entryway of a store during a rainstorm. In these more complicated situations, both you and the business owner may be considered partly at fault for the accident.

New Jersey’s comparative negligence law allows you to sue for an accident even if you were partly at fault, as long as you were not more than 50 percent at fault. Even if, in hindsight, you think you could have done more to avoid the fall, you may still have the grounds for a case if the other party should also have done more to prevent the accident. However, the defendant’s insurance company may not tell you this. It’s in the insurer’s best interests to dissuade you from pursuing a claim at all, no matter what further harm your family suffers from it.

 

New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

What Dangerous Conditions Lead to Slip and Falls?

The hazardous conditions that could cause a slip and fall accident are varied and almost countless. However, they all have a few things in common:

  • Owner knowledge. You only have a case if the owner knew or should have known about the hazard. A subtle sign of a rare or obscure defect in a walking surface may not be enough to argue that the owner should have known about the hazard. However, that “should have known” language means irresponsible owners can’t get out of paying legitimate claims by feigning ignorance. If the owner’s reason for not knowing about the danger is a failure to meet reasonable expectations to inspect the property, then the defendant should have known of the danger, and you have the grounds for a claim.
  • Notice. The reality is that no property owner can prevent 100 percent of hazards from ever occurring on the premises. Spills, messes, wear and tear, and inclement weather happen. What a property owner must do is remedy these problems promptly – but to do that, they need sufficient notice of the danger. If a shopper a few feet ahead of you drops a bottle in the aisle and you slip on the resulting spill in a matter of minutes, the retail store may not have had enough notice to address the hazard. If, however, someone notifies a store employee but management can’t be bothered to deal with the problem, and someone falls on the mess an hour later, the owner had plenty of notice and still failed to address the issue.
  • Failure to address. Here’s where negligence comes into play. The defendant’s failure to address the hazard is what constitutes negligence, and it’s the grounds for which you have a case against the property owner.
  • Resulting in injury. Under New Jersey law, you can only sue for what actually happened, not what could have happened. So, if you almost slipped on the hazard, or slipped but caught yourself without injury, or fell but sustained only mild injuries that quickly went away on their own, you don’t have a case.

Causes of Slip and Falls

The following are just a sample of the many types of dangerous conditions that cause slip and falls that our New Jersey attorneys have encountered during our decades-long careers:

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Uneven or broken pavement or sidewalks
Holes in the grass or ground
Walkway cracks caused by tree roots
Wet or icy exterior walkways
Weather-related hazards like snow, ice, and rain
Wet or slippery interior floors
Spills
Freshly mopped floors
Floors so highly polished that there is insufficient traction for walking
Damaged flooring
Structural and surface conditions and defects
Construction defects
Obstructions, clutter, or debris that pose a tripping hazard
Loose or unsecured wires and cables
Snags or bumps in carpet
Worn or ragged carpet
Loose matting
Upturned rugs or rolled up mats
Loose carpeting or treads on stairs
Missing, broken or improperly positioned handrails
Broken or uneven stairs
Code violations of stairs or handrails
Malfunctioning escalators or elevators
Weak fences and railings on upper-level balconies, overlooks, and walkways
Poor lighting
Absent, inadequate or poorly placed warnings and signs

Outdoor Slip and Fall Hazards 

Often, outdoor slip and falls occur in the parking lots and walkways of businesses or in the yards of private residences. You can sue for a slip and fall that happens outside, especially if there are clear defects like cracked curbs and walkways and unmarked potholes or poor lighting that makes hazards hard to see in the dark.

Many outdoor slip and falls are weather-related, occurring because of ice buildup. It’s especially important to prove this type of hazard existed through photographs, detailed descriptions, and witness reports, since this condition will change as the storm progresses or the ice melts.

Slippery Walking Surfaces 

From a practical standpoint, it doesn’t matter if a floor is slippery due to a spill, a fresh mopping, or an overachieving polishing job. For safety, there needs to be enough traction when a person wearing regular footwear walks on the surface – otherwise, there should be a visible warning posted. If you think that you can’t sue over a slippery floor just because it wasn’t wet, don’t be so quick to give up your right to pursue a claim.

Damage and Defects 

When the floor itself is damaged, as is the case with chipped or cracked tiles, buckled wood, and loose floorboards, a permanent fix may be more complex than just cleaning a mess. That doesn’t give property owners a pass – they still need to block off the area or warn people of the danger with a visible sign.

Tripping Hazards

Although the term is “slip and fall,” there are plenty of instances of dangerous “trip and falls,” too. Any type of clutter or other obstruction on the floor can cause a person to trip, but so can poor condition of the floor itself, especially when that floor is carpeted. Bumps, snags, and other imperfections in the carpet can pose subtle tripping hazards. If the carpet or matting is loose, you might have trouble getting the traction or flat surface you need to walk steadily. Rugs and mats that get rolled up can also cause you to trip.

Stairs and Fall Hazards 

Fall injuries are particularly devastating when they happen from a height. Some of the worst instances of slip and fall injuries our attorneys have encountered have resulted from falls down stairs.

There are many ways that stairs can pose a danger, and some of these ways may be imperceptible to the untrained eye. Lawyers often identify stair defects through careful inspection. By taking numerous types of measurements and consulting experts, we can identify any code violations in the structure and construction of the stairs themselves or in the placement, height, and positioning of the handrail.

Where Most Slip and Falls Occur

These many types of safety hazards can occur anywhere, but in our considerable experience handling slip and fall lawsuits, they tend to happen more commonly in certain environments.

Did You Know…?  Slip and falls can occur in all seasons, but they are particularly common in cold winter weather or in rainy weather conditions.

The most common slip and fall locations include:

Remember, to have a claim, the slip and fall must be on someone else’s property, not your own home (the exception being if, as a tenant, you can make an argument that your landlord failed to address a safety hazard on the property you rent, but the landlord must have been made aware of the hazard).

Did you know…?  Slips and fall accidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.

Slips and fall accidents are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims, with 85 percent of these claims attributed to falls on slick floors, the National Floor Safety Institute reported. They are also the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older. The total compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually.

Slip and fall accidents are avoidable. Preventing them is as simple as keeping up with that duty to carefully maintain a property. The problem is that many property owners ignore hazards and fail to take the proper safety measures until after an innocent person gets hurt.

Slip and Fall Lawsuits and Insurance Companies

Insurance companies, not individuals or small businesses, are the ones who pay the settlements for a slip and fall claim. They do this through a type of liability insurance that is sometimes called “slip and fall insurance coverage.” Generally, slip and fall coverage is included as part of the liability insurance coverage businesses usually purchase to protect themselves in the course of doing business.

Since protecting policyholders from the financial impact of a claim is the reason which insurance companies exist, you might think getting compensation for an accident will be no big deal. Unfortunately, the insurance company isn’t on your side.

Did You Know…? Nearly 30 % of people feel they’ve been taken advantage of by an insurance company.

In a survey spanning all demographic groups across all regions of the United States, nearly 30 percent of respondents reported feeling that they had been taken advantage of by an insurance company. And that’s in the general population, not specific to people pursuing an insurance claim! Trusting the insurance company to do what’s best for you as a plaintiff is naive and dangerous.

New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

Console, Richard P. “2020 Public Perception of Attorneys, Insurance Companies & Lawsuits”. Conducted by Survey Monkey, 2020.

Denying and Defending Claims

It can be shocking – like a punch to the gut – when the insurance company says your claim has been denied.

You’re stunned, speechless, and even breathless. How could the adjuster look at all you’ve been through and say you don’t have a claim?

Although it’s hard, please try not to take it personally (easier said than done, we know). Denying and defending liability is the first-line stance insurance companies take when they’re “processing” claims. As outrageous as it seems, blaming the victim is par for the course, because it’s often an effective way of getting people who really deserve compensation to give up trying to get it.

Defendants and their insurers employ many types of defenses to try to get out of paying slip and fall claims.

The “Open and Obvious” Defense

Victim blaming often masquerades as the “open and obvious” defense. In other words, the defendant claims that the hazard that caused your fall was so obvious that the defendant shouldn’t have needed to warn you of the danger. You should have been more careful, the defendant implies.

The “open and obvious” defense is fairly common, and make no mistake, it’s used because it’s effective. But that doesn’t mean that the insurance company is right every time it tries to hide behind this defense. Often, plaintiffs who really do have a case hear that they are the ones to blame for the accident – not because it’s true, but because hearing this may be enough to dissuade you from moving forward with a claim.

The Lack of Knowledge Defense

Sometimes a defendant denies any knowledge that the slip and fall even happened in the first place. In this situation, what happened isn’t your word against theirs – it’s your word, and only your word, that the accident happened at all.

Without evidence to the contrary, it won’t take long for the insurance company to suggest that they fall never happened to begin with and that your claim is entirely fraudulent. That’s why it’s so important that you document a slip and fall right away by reporting it to the property owner or a store manager or associate.

If you didn’t think to report the accident at the time it happened, then whether or not you have a claim depends on the strength of your evidence. Did you take photographs? Did anyone see your fall, and if so, did you get their contact information? All of these details can corroborate your story of what happened.

Getting an attorney on your side is especially crucial when the property manager wasn’t promptly notified of the accident. We can draw on our experience to identify any other possible sources of evidence. We’ll find out if a store has any surveillance cameras in the vicinity of where you fell and, if so, demand that the store preserve that footage. Otherwise, the property owner may well write over that footage, either to hide what really happened or merely as part of company policy.

Minimizing Your Damages 

If the insurance company can’t shift the blame for the fall to you or deny it happened in the first place, questioning the severity of your damages may be the next best thing. In essence, it’s saying, “yes, the fall happened, but it wasn’t that bad.”

This is more than insulting – so much more. Minimizing your injuries is a direct attempt to deprive you of the money you deserve. The compensation you’re entitled to is based primarily on the damages you suffered. If the insurance company can argue that your damages weren’t serious, it can get away with paying you much less or nothing at all.

Delaying the Progress of Your Claim 

Sometimes the troubles you have with the insurance company are subtler than direct claim denials. If the insurance adjuster takes a lot of time to respond to your messages, fails to send paperwork when promised, or otherwise seems to have no sense of urgency when it comes to your claim, the insurance company may be relying on the old standby of delaying the claim.

Why delay the claim? From the insurance company’s point of view, the best-case scenario is that you will get frustrated with the entire situation and give up trying to get the settlement you deserve. If that happens, the insurer gets to keep all of the money for itself.

Even if you don’t actually give up, the insurance company can still keep you from getting anything for your claim by delaying it. There’s a statute of limitations, or a deadline, by which you must file a lawsuit for a slip and fall claim. If the insurance company assures you that it is processing your claim and you don’t need a lawyer but then delays paying the claim long enough, you could miss this window and lose out on your right to file a lawsuit. At that point, it’s easy to either deny the claim entirely or make a tiny “nuisance” payment, because now you have no other options.

If you’re more persistent than that, you may eventually get the money, but the insurance company still wins. Supposes you settle for less just to put the whole frustrating situation behind you. The insurer keeps more of the money that’s rightfully yours. Even if you get the same amount of money as you would have gotten otherwise, the insurance company has benefitted from delaying your payout because it got to keep those funds invested longer – and reap the financial benefits.

Lowball Settlement Offers 

Maybe the scenarios we’ve described sound nothing like what you’ve experienced with the insurance company.

Instead of blame, claim denials, or the runaround, the insurance adjuster has been consistently in contact, always pleasant and sympathetic. There’s been a lot of talk about getting this wrapped up quickly for you, and the adjuster even offered you a settlement.

You must have really dodged a bullet by getting so lucky, right?

Wrong! Get a lawyer right now, before it’s too late. Otherwise, you’re settling for a lot less than you deserve.

Insurance companies usually offer a tiny fraction of what the claim is really worth in their first settlement offer. We call this a “lowball” offer because it is so much lower than what you should accept.

You should know that the insurance adjuster usually only offers you money if the insurer believes it is unlikely to get out of paying the claim completely – in other words, if you have a good case.

And you can bet that this offer is less than you deserve. The insurance company is trying to get you to accept this small payout quickly, without giving it too much thought, so that you will waive your right to pursue the full amount of compensation you deserve.

Remember, the insurance company’s goal isn’t to help you get better but instead to pay as little as possible to claimants so that the company keeps all of the profits for itself. That’s why you need an attorney.

 

New Jersey Slip and Fall Attorney

What Compensation Can You Get for Your Injuries?

If you’ve ever heard of settlement amounts for slip and falls or other types of personal injury claims, the numbers may seem somewhat random. In reality, though, they are based on a number of factors, with the damages you suffered in the accident being among the most important.

Economic and Non-Economic Slip and Fall Damages

Slip and fall damages fit into two general categories: economic and non-economic.

Economic damages include all of the harms and losses you have suffered that have a direct financial figure attached to them, such as:

  • Your medical expenses
  • The costs of rehabilitation and therapy
  • Any future medical costs you expect to need as a result of your injuries
  • Lost wages while your injury kept you out of work
  • The loss of future earning capacity, if you can’t return to your job
  • The cost of any modifications you need to make to your home so that you can adjust to the new “normal” of living with a permanent injury or disability

Then there are non-economic damages, the type of damages that don’t have this obvious direct cost. Although they are hard to quantify, these non-economic damages are very real. In fact, some of them are among the things that make life after an accident so difficult to bear.

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium, which refers to different aspects of a family – usually, marital – relationship
  • Impact on daily life and quality of life
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement

The success of your claim depends on the evidence. As you might guess, documenting the significance of non-economic damages is often more complicated than documenting economic damages. If you plan to seek compensation for non-economic damages, having a lawyer on your side is even more important.

Claiming and substantiating your non-economic losses is part of your attorney’s job. Because we’ve been in the business of handling personal injury lawsuits in New Jersey for more than 25 years, we have a strong background to draw from in determining how much money your non-economic damages entitle you to receive. You can be confident that we’re not just throwing out a number to see what happens – we’re basing our settlement demands on other legal precedents set by cases like yours all across New Jersey and on our in-depth knowledge of the legal market in your jurisdiction.

A lawyer can help you make sure the settlement covers all future needs as well as current needs – including some expenses you may not yet know to anticipate.

The Most Common Slip and Fall Accident Injuries

Slip and falls vary widely in severity. Some falls lead to only minor bruising – temporarily painful, but not so life-changing that it makes sense to pursue a lawsuit. Other slip and falls bring about a catastrophic personal injury, after which life will never be the same.

Did You Know…?  A serious slip and fall injury doesn’t always seem serious right away.

Often, victims who suffer soft tissue injuries, like herniated discs, believe at first that their injuries are minor. Over time, though, they begin to experience more persistent pain in the back or neck, the legs, or the arms. They may experience numbness, tingling, and unexplained weakness in the extremities that they don’t even realize is caused by the fall. If symptoms like these are beginning to affect your life, it’s time to see a doctor now, before any further damage occurs.

Here are some of the most common types of injuries our attorneys see in our slip and fall clients:

  • Sprains and strains
  • Broken bones
  • Torn ligaments
  • Spinal injuries
  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Nerve damage
  • Paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia
  • Loss of pregnancy or fetal miscarriage in pregnant women or harm to the unborn baby

Slip and fall injuries can affect many different body parts:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Back
  • Shoulder
  • Arm
  • Elbow
  • Wrist
  • Hands
  • Fingers
  • Tailbone
  • Hip
  • Leg
  • Knee
  • Ankle
  • Foot
  • Toes

Often, our clients initially find us not because they are looking for a lawyer necessarily, but because they are looking for answers about their injuries. They ask us questions like, Can a slip and fall cause…

  • A herniated disc? Yes! Herniated discs occur when the gel-filled discs located between the bones of the vertebrae in the neck and back become damaged. Herniated discs can impinge on the nerves surrounding the spine, causing symptoms not only in the area of the damage but in other regions of the body, like arms and legs.
  • A bulging disc? Yes! A bulging disc is another name for a type of herniated disc in which the soft discs that cushion the bones of the vertebrae bulge out of position. Like other types of herniated discs, a bulging disc can be painful and debilitating.
  • Sciatica? Yes! Sciatica, or pain along the sciatic nerve that extends from the lower back down the legs, is common among slip and fall victims. Often, sciatica occurs because you have sustained a herniated disc, so it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor even if you’re pretty sure that it’s “just” sciatica.
  • Nerve damage? Yes! The body is filled with nerves that broadcast signals throughout your body. Damage to nerves can result in considerable pain, but it can also lead to numbness, tingling, weakness, loss of function, or paralysis. Fortunately, nerve damage can be treated through many types of interventions and therapies, including electrical stimulation, research reported in the journal BMC Neuroscience.

Falls are a leading cause of severe injuries. About one in five falls lead to a broken bone, a head injury, or another severe injury, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported. Falls are also the most common cause of TBI, according to the CDC.

What exactly makes an injury severe? You’ll hear different answers to this question depending on who you ask.

To us, an injury that affects you in ways that significantly impact your life is severe – or at least, enough to make pursuing a claim worthwhile. Your medical care provider should be similarly sympathetic to your concerns.

However, the insurance company may take a different viewpoint. The insurance adjuster may try to tell you that, without a broken bone or another injury that appears clearly on an X-ray, you aren’t injured enough to make a claim.

When you’re living with constant pain, out of work, and unable to do the things you used to do, being told that your injuries aren’t “bad enough” can be unbelievably exasperating. We get it. So let us set the record straight on a couple of matters that the insurance company may try to obscure:

  1. Soft tissue injuries, like herniated discs and nerve damage, can still be the grounds for a case. You just need to be getting appropriate medical treatment and have your damages fully documented to be able to prove that you deserve compensation.
  2. Just because you didn’t realize you were injured (or injured as badly) at first doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue a claim. The true extent of your injuries can take time to surface. The good news is that, while insurance adjusters may not know or not recognize this, medical experts do. They can help support your claim with their expert opinions and testimony about the progression and presentation of injuries like yours.

What Is My Slip and Fall Case Worth?

There are numerous factors that go into determining the case value of a slip and fall. The severity of your injury matters. So does the extent of your damages.

These two factors are related, but they aren’t the same. For example, a broken bone may be generally more severe than a soft tissue injury. However, if it doesn’t require surgery or physical therapy and doesn’t result in missed time from work, that case may be worth less than a soft tissue injury that results in months of physical therapy, missed work, and a microdiscectomy surgery.

Another factor to consider is the strength of your argument against the property owner. If you can show that the defendant is fully at fault for the accident, you will get more money than you would if you were determined to be partly at fault. That’s because, although New Jersey’s comparative negligence law allows you to sue even when you’re partly at fault, it also allows your compensation to be reduced by the amount by which you are found at fault.

Every slip and fall case is unique. The facts of your case – where and how you fell – and the damages you sustained are specific to you. So, to get a truly informed opinion on how much your case is worth, you need to consult an attorney directly (which you can do at no cost, since we offer free consultations and no-win, no-fee legal representation).

Console and Associates Slip and Fall Settlements

$475,000 Settlement for a Parking Lot Slip and Fall on Black Ice 

A fall on black ice in the parking lot of her workplace left a phlebotomist permanently disabled.

She suffered herniated and bulging discs, severe headaches, nerve impingement, and such severe sprains and strains throughout her spine that she had to walk with a cane. Despite a year and a half of physical therapy, injections, chiropractic care and electric stimulation under the care of more than 12 different physicians and other providers, she never recovered enough to return to work or to care for and play with her young children the way she did before the accident.

We got her a settlement of $475,000 to help make life after the accident as painless as possible and to make it easier for her family to cope with her unexpected disability.

Read the full case study …

$400,000 Settlement for a Slip and Fall at NJ Target Store 

When a Target shopper slipped on spilled bleach near the store exit and fell, she sustained multiple bulging discs in the lumbar region of her spine.

After years of working toward rehabilitation – and 2 surgeries – she still needed a walker to get around and help with basic household chores.

We fought hard to get her a $400,000 settlement that would not only cover the considerable costs of her medical care but also help her make the adjustments needed to have a better quality of life in spite of the permanent damage done by the slip and fall accident.

Read the full case study …

$265,000 Settlement for an On-the-Job Slip and Fall

What began as a normal day at work became life-changing when a delivery man fell down a basement stairwell.

Among his injuries was cervical myelopathy, a condition in which part of the spinal cord in his neck became compressed, rendering him permanently unable to return to his job or any other job of a physical nature. He lost his job and had to find work in a new career, cutting his income in half.

The $265,000 settlement we got for him included compensation for his lost wages and reduced earning capacity.

Read the full case study …

$160,000 Settlement for a Parking Lot Slip and Fall on Black Ice 

Black ice in the parking lot sent a retiree rushing to the hospital with a fractured right arm.

It took over a year for him to recover from the grueling surgery required to set his broken arm with a rod, screws, and other hardware, and his prognosis remained “guarded,” with his providers expecting him to need additional procedures.

The $160,000 settlement we got him will make sure that the future surgeries he needs won’t be a financial burden.

Read the full case study … 

$145,000 Settlement for a Fall Down the Stairs at a Resort 

There were numerous hazards surrounding the old outdoor staircase at the resort where our client took a bad fall: a hole in the degraded concrete, poor lighting that hid the dangerous walking surface, and no handrail that could have saved her from tumbling down the stairs. In fact, her fall was the fourth one reported that day.

The fractured ankle she suffered necessitated a surgery to implant a metal plate and screws into her ankle and foot. Our client, a liaison to a foreign ambassador and active grandmother, couldn’t walk for two months – not to mention, care for her grandchildren or visit her 90-year-old mother in her nursing home.

The $145,000 settlement not only compensated our client for the serious harm she suffered – it also brought real consequences on the owner of the resort, who had allowed this dangerous condition to continue even when it was causing accidents on a daily basis.

Read the full case study …

Should You Hire a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Injury Case?

It’s a common question: “Do I need a lawyer?”

Sure, as lawyers, we might seem a little biased on this topic, but hear us out: Every slip and fall victim should speak to an attorney, but not all slip and falls require legal representation.

The Honest Answer to Whether or Not You Need a Lawyer

What do we mean by this? First, we encourage anyone who has been the victim of a slip and fall or another type of accident to speak with a personal injury attorney to understand their rights and the legal process. Remember that speaking with a lawyer during a free consultation isn’t the same as hiring one to represent you. Even if you don’t need an attorney, and even if you choose not to pursue a case at all, it’s always wise to understand your rights and your options in a matter this serious. Consider it a safety net. 

Now, onto that second part: Not all slip and falls require legal representation. If you really weren’t injured, or if the extent of your damages is relatively small, then you probably don’t need a lawyer. You could handle this small claim on your own, if you even feel that there’s enough in the way of damages to pursue a claim at all.

Why are we telling you this? Because it’s the right thing to do.

Due to the way attorney’s fees work in slip and fall cases in New Jersey, you never have to worry that a lawyer will try to persuade you to hire them and file a lawsuit when you don’t really have the grounds for a successful suit. Attorneys only get a percentage of what they win for you – so it doesn’t make sense for us to encourage you to pursue a losing claim or to get involved in a claim so small that we won’t add much value to you or get enough in attorneys’ fees to make our work worth it.

So, here’s our honest recommendation: Take advantage of the offer of a free consultation to talk to an attorney and find out the answers to your questions at no cost. Ask if your case is one for which you will need an attorney. If the answer is no, we’ll tell you so.

3 Reasons Why Slip and Fall Claims Require a Lawyer

There are 3 reasons specific to slip and fall claims why a lawyer is crucial to succeeding in a lawsuit of this nature:

Fault in a slip and fall matter isn’t usually clear. It’s much easier for defendants and insurers to deny liability for slip and falls than it is for matters such as car accidents, in which there are very specific rules and responsibilities for drivers on the road. As a result, you’re more likely to need help to prove liability in a slip and fall case.

Defendants usually try to downplay injuries and damages in slip and fall cases. Of course, this happens in other types of personal injury matters, too. However, in a car accident, seeing the damage done to the vehicle can help drive home the point of how serious the impact is. You don’t have that added factor in a slip and fall claim. If your injuries fall into the soft tissue category, in particular, the insurance adjuster is likely to dismiss it as a minor injury, no matter how much it impacts your life.

Insurance companies take a claim more seriously when there’s a lawyer involved. Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is. The legal process is a mystery to most people without specific training in law, and the insurance industry capitalizes on that. If you’re sick of the way the insurance adjuster is treating you or you just don’t have the time to waste going back and forth with the insurance company, hiring a lawyer will quickly encourage the insurer to start taking you seriously (not to mention, your attorney will take over interactions with the insurer, so that’s no longer your problem).

A Lawyer’s Role in Investigating How Your Injury Occurred

You know, now, how quickly falls happen. One second, everything was fine – the next, you’re on the ground, shocked and in pain. If you don’t know exactly what occurred, that’s okay. It’s actually really common. And it’s one of the reasons why having an attorney can be helpful.

A lawyer’s investigation into a slip and fall accident can reveal a lot about the cause of your fall. Suppose you fell down a stairwell. By thoroughly investigating the stairwell, we can identify subtle hazards – like step defects, uneven or inconsistent risers, and handrails placed at the wrong height – that may have been imperceptible to you in the moment but which can cause a dangerous fall.

What to Look for in a New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer

With so many lawyers to choose from, how do you actually choose one?

The #1 thing you should look for in a lawyer is experience. You want your lawyer to have a history of success handling claims like yours over many years – preferably with more than one attorneys’ perspective – and real case results to prove it. After all, what is a more convincing indicator that your attorney has what it takes to win your case than a history of winning many other cases similar to yours?

It’s no coincidence that Console and Associates has won $100 million for our clients. By focusing our legal practice on personal injury matters exclusively, we’ve developed the skills to get our clients maximum compensation for their injury claims.

How Much Will a Slip and Fall Lawyer Cost?

There’s this common misconception out there that’s keeping people who really need a slip and fall attorney from getting one. It’s this notion that attorneys cost too much.

This is a lie – but it’s one that more than half of people surveyed believe.

Slip and fall representation usually doesn’t cost anything upfront at all, because it’s typically provided on a no-win, no-fee basis.

Also called a contingency fee basis, this fee arrangement means that your lawyer gets a percentage of the amount he or she recovers for you.

  • If the lawyer doesn’t get money for you, you owe nothing.
  • If your claim is successful, you still don’t pay anything at all for your lawyer’s services until you get your money.
  • And, since you’re only paying a fraction of what you receive, you will never be in a situation in which the attorneys’ fees are more than your payout.

When our law firm takes on a client, we also make a commitment to advance all of the costs of pursuing the claim. So, remember those experts whose opinions are so important to proving the liability and damages in your claim? They can easily cost thousands of dollars – but that expense is our problem, not yours, unless and until we win money for you.

Remember, the cost of a lawyer should only be part of the equation. The value an attorney can bring to your claim matters, too. An attorney will cost a percentage of your settlement but, remember, you should see a considerably higher payout with a lawyer than you would get on your own. On average, represented clients get 3.5 times more than claimants without legal representation.

It all starts with a free consultation. From the start, you’re getting the benefit of an attorney’s knowledge without having to pay anything out of pocket.

Slip and Fall FAQs: Your Slip and Fall Questions Answered

It’s normal to have questions after a slip and fall. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions our attorneys hear from our slip and fall clients.

1. Are Slip and Fall Cases Hard to Win? 

Honestly, yes. Slip and fall cases are some of the most challenging personal injury matters to win.

Remember, it’s the plaintiff’s duty to establish and prove the negligence of the property owner, not the defendant’s duty to prove that they weren’t liable. That means you need to be able to make a compelling argument, backed by plenty of evidence, that the other party was at fault. Proving negligence and damages is difficult and requires meticulous investigation, documentation, and organization.

You also need to watch out for those problematic behaviors on the part of the insurance company – things like claim denials, victim-blaming defenses, claim delays, and lowball settlement offers.

These cases are hard to win, but experienced slip and fall attorneys are good at winning them. After all, we handle claims like yours every single day.

2. Is the Slip and Fall My Fault? 

No! A lot of people blame themselves when it isn’t their fault.

You might say things like, “I should have been more careful” or “I’m so clumsy,” but it wasn’t your fault that there was a safety hazard on the property that wasn’t clearly marked. You have the right to expect a property, like a business of which you are a customer, to be safe.

Don’t be embarrassed by the fall. Not only is it very likely not your fault at all, it is also more common than you may think. Falls are the number-one cause of accidental injury, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. Injuries related to falls have historically accounted for more than 20 percent of all emergency room visits, the National Floor Safety Institute reported, and more than 30 percent of preventable, non-fatal injuries, the National Safety Council reported.

3. How Much Will a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Case Cost Me? 

Since slip and fall lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, we can’t give you an exact rate you can expect to pay for your legal representation. Instead, it will be a percentage – starting at 33 ⅓ percent of the first $750,000 and decreasing from there as your payout amount increases – of what we get for you.

Remember, though, that what a lawyer brings to your claim is much more than what you end up paying in attorneys’ fees. For example, imagine that you were going to get $100,000 for your claim on your own. Having an attorney may get you as much as $350,000 (3.5 times more). Sure, you would pay around $116,550 in attorneys’ fees, and that sounds like a lot. However, this scenario leaves you with more than $233,000 left over – more than twice what you would have gotten on your own, even after the fees come out of your settlement.

You still come out way, way ahead when you hire a lawyer.

4. Does It Matter Where I Fall? 

Yes, where you fall matters. This crucial detail determines how strict a duty of care the property owner had to you, and it may influence whether comparative negligence plays a role in your case. Here are some things you should keep in mind:

  • To make a claim, your fall must have happened on someone else’s property, not on property you own, because you can’t sue yourself for negligence. If you fell at a property you rent, you may have the grounds for a case against the landlord, but that depends on a lot of factors.
  • The type of property and your reason for being on the property both factor into the determination of what duty the defendant owed you. Remember, businesses owe their invitees – customers – the greatest duty of care, while property owners usually owe no duty of care to trespassers.
  • Your legal right to expect a safe property refers to “normal use” of the property. If what you were doing doesn’t fit into this category of normal use – for example, skateboarding inside a retail store or standing up on tables or counters in a restaurant – you may be found to be at fault, partially or completely, for your own injuries.

5. What If I fall on a Residential Sidewalk?

This is a tricky one. In most cases, private property owners don’t have the same duty as commercial property owners to maintain the sidewalk in a safe condition for pedestrians. Unless the municipality has a different law in place, then the owner of the private residence probably is not liable for the injuries you suffered falling on the sidewalk near their home.

However, if the owner’s actions are what caused your injury, then they would be liable for your injuries. This might be the case if the property owner noticed a crack or other defect in the sidewalk and attempted to fix it through their own construction or repairs but only made things worse.

If you do have a claim resulting from a fall on a residential sidewalk, it would be primarily against the property owner. In some instances, you might have some course of action against the municipality, too. You would need to discuss a complex matter like this with a lawyer to better understand the intricacies of this situation.

6. What If I Fall on a Commercial Property? 

Because the duty of care is stricter for commercial property owners, they usually are responsible for the injuries caused by an accident on their property. There are, of course, some exceptions:

  • If there was no safety hazard and you fell for a reason that was your own fault, like walking unsteadily in uncomfortable footwear, you can’t sue the property owner.
  • Similarly, if the accident was no one’s fault, such as, by sheer bad luck, missing a step despite the structure of the stairs meeting all required codes and normal expectations, you don’t have a case.
  • If the property owner didn’t have sufficient notice to address the issue, they may not be responsible for the accident. Although commercial business owners have a duty to inspect the premises, they can meet this conscientiously meet this duty and still have instances when a spill or damage to a walking surface happened only moments ago, , without giving them the reasonable time needed to address it.

The thing that makes slip and fall claims tricky is that, sometimes, you might be tempted to believe that your case fits into one of these exceptions even when it doesn’t.

Not all safety hazards are easily apparent, especially when you’re in shock, embarrassed, or even panicking at this unexpected and challenging situation. The defendant may suggest that you were the one at fault, even when it’s not true, or that the incident was “just an accident” for which no one is to blame. And just because the commercial property owner claims that the safety hazard didn’t exist until a few minutes ago doesn’t mean you should believe them.

Anytime you get hurt in a fall on a commercial property, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer and at least have the situation thoroughly investigated.

  • The worst-case scenario is that attorney confirms your fear that you don’t have the grounds for a claim, and you’ve lost nothing.
  • If you do have a case, you now know your legal rights and have someone on your side to pursue the claim for you.

7. What If I Fall in My Apartment or Apartment Complex? 

In an apartment or apartment complex, a slip and fall may be the grounds for a claim against your landlord – but it all depends on specific details, such as:

  • What you slipped or tripped on
  • What upkeep obligations your landlord has according to your lease agreement
  • Whether your home is considered to be part of a commercial apartment building or a residential condominium complex

In an apartment situation, as in a slip and fall on a commercial property, the property owner is only liable if there was a safety hazard that shows negligence in their duty of care. If no safety hazard contributed to your fall, or if you tripped over your own possessions or slipped on a spill of your own or another tenant’s making, you likely don’t have a case, because the landlord has not been negligent.

However, if you warned the landlord of a danger such as cracked or damaged flooring, loose handrails, rickety stairs, or poor lighting and that landlord failed to promptly address the matter, you may have a case. Most lease agreements specify that the landlord is still responsible for repairs and other maintenance in a rented space.

What makes this situation more complicated is that not all rental situations are treated the same under the law. While an apartment building is often viewed as a commercial property, a condominium complex may not be. If you are renting a condo from its owner, the property may be considered residential rather than commercial, which means your landlord may owe you less of a duty of care than you would have in a different rental environment.

8. What If I Fall on Public Property? 

Commercial and residential aren’t the only two types of properties out there. If you fall on public property owned by a government entity, you have a more difficult fight ahead of you.

That’s because a law called the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, otherwise known as Title 59, makes special rules for situations involving a claim against a public entity.

  • Under this law, public entities gain immunity from liability in many situations. You may need stronger evidence to prove that the negligence on the part of this public entity or its employee is sufficient to overcome this general immunity.
  • In particular, Title 59 reduces the time you have to take action after an accident. Generally, you must provide notice of your intent to pursue a claim within 90 days of the slip and fall. That deadline is much shorter than the two-year statute of limitations that applies to claims against other types of entities.

The intricacies of what constitutes an exception to the general immunity of public entities are even more complex and fact-specific than usual. You need an experienced slip and fall attorney to review the details of your claim before you can determine if you have a case against this public entity.

9. Can I Sue for a Slip-and-Fall in a Parking Lot? 

You absolutely have the right to expect parking lots to be maintained in safe condition for business invitees. If that duty of care was not met, you may have the right to pursue a slip and fall lawsuit against the owner of the property or a company hired to maintain the parking lot.

To have a claim, the fall must have been the result of some sort of safety hazard in the parking lot. Some of the causes of slip and falls specific to parking lots include:

  • Icy conditions, particularly black ice, which is very difficult to see when walking through the lot.
  • Potholes in areas where pedestrians commonly walk that are left unmarked
  • Cracked or damaged curbs and walkways
  • Poor lighting that makes it unusually difficult to see curbs, steps, and other potential tripping hazards in the dark
  • Wet, slippery leaves

The next question is, who exactly is liable for a parking lot slip and fall? Depending on the situation, it may not be the same party who would be responsible if your fall occurred inside the business. In the event of a parking lot slip and fall, you need to report the injury to the nearest store or restaurant so that you can document the accident and get the information for the party responsible for maintaining the parking lot.

10. Can I Sue for the Slip and Medical Bills, or Would It Be Considered Too Minor?

There’s a lot to unpack in this question, but let’s start with the basics.

You can sue only for compensation for the damages you actually suffered, not for what could have happened.

As a result, slip and falls where the injuries were very minor don’t usually lead to a claim, even if the property owner’s negligence was clear and heinous. In these instances, the compensation you would be entitled to is so minimal that it is not worth moving forward with a claim.

This might be the case if you went home and iced your injuries, pushed through a couple days of soreness at work, and found that the pain went away completely within a couple of days. In this case, you really don’t have any damages, either in terms of medical bills or in lost wages, pain and suffering, or other losses.

Suppose you fall into a different category of having been injured enough to seek medical care but not having missed work. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent, a student, or fortunate enough that your injury doesn’t interfere with the job you have. In this case, whether your case is too minor depends on two factors:

  • How extensive your medical bills are
  • What other damages you may have suffered that you aren’t aware of yet

If you have health insurance and only had a small co-payment to see a doctor, and needed no followup or additional tests or treatments, then your case may be too minor to sue. However, if your care is ongoing or you haven’t yet seen a doctor, don’t assume this will be the case for you.

The typical cost of rehabilitation for a severe slip and fall injury ranges from $30,000 to $40,000, an amount that is certainly worth pursuing a claim to recover. If you need to undergo one or more surgeries, you could well be looking at six-figure medical costs over years of treatment.

Although you may think that you would only seek compensation for the medical bills, that isn’t a call you should make without first taking a thorough look at all of the ways the injury has affected your life. An attorney can help you here by pointing out things that you may not have even considered yet – things like what this injury could mean for your future.

You might also be able to seek compensation for personal services you had to pay for because you were out of commission, even things like doing household chores and caring for the kids.

Additionally, even if your injury didn’t hurt your income, the pain and loss of function still impact your life in many other ways. Although you may not be able to put a number on the pain you have been through or the damage to your quality of life by not being able to do the things you used to enjoy, a slip and fall attorney can fight to get you money for these damages as well as your medical costs.

11. Are Slip and Fall Cases Taxable? 

Generally, no, you won’t have to pay tax on your slip and fall settlement. In most instances, the payout you get in a slip and fall claim doesn’t count as “income.” This money is meant to compensate you for losses, not something you earned by working, received in bank interest, were gifted, or won in a game of chance. As a result, it usually can’t be taxed as income.

There are still situations in which you might owe taxes or other obligations, like liens, out of your settlement. For example, suppose that the property owner was so grossly negligent that your case went to trial and a judge or jury awarded you punitive damages – meant to punish the defendant rather than compensate you for actual losses. In that rare situation, you might be taxed on that portion of your payout.

12. Can I Sue for a Slip and Fall With No Wet Floor Sign?

If a wet or slippery floor is what caused your fall, then the lack of a wet floor sign is advantageous to your claim. The floor was clearly slippery, and the defendant clearly failed to use this common, easy method of warning business invitees about a hazard.

Of course, the defendant may still try to use other defenses, like saying there was not enough notice to address the danger or arguing that the hazard was “open and obvious.” Even in this situation, it is still important to have an attorney on your side.

When there was a wet floor sign present, winning your claim becomes a lot more challenging. The question then comes down to details such as where the sign was placed.

If wet floor signs clearly marked or blocked off the area and you disregarded them, you will have a hard time making the case that the property owner is at fault.

On the other hand, some property owners put wet floor signs permanently out in general areas of the premises, thinking that will protect them from a lawsuit. However, that general sign does not warn of specific, actual dangers on the property. If these dangers cause an accident, you may still have the grounds for a lawsuit even if the owner technically used a wet floor sign somewhere on the property.

What if a Slip and Fall Turns Into a Wrongful Death Claim?

New Jersey Slip and Fall LawyerUnfortunately, not all slip and fall victims get the chance to recover.

If you lost a family member due to a slip and fall accident, we know that there’s nothing anyone can say to make up for what’s happened. This is a tragedy, one that never had to happen in the first place, and nothing can replace the loved one you are mourning.

You’re far from alone. Every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall, and many more are injured. This trend is only gettting worse, with death rates from falling among older adults increasing by 30 percent from 2007 through 2016, the CDC reported. If the rate continues to rise, that could mean 7 fall deaths every hour by 2030. Statistically, one out of every 127 deaths stems from a fall, the National Safety Council reported.

The thing is, even though your family member has passed on, the ordeal is not over for you. In addition to the grief you would feel no matter how this death occurred, you’re filled with questions about how and why this happened. You may even feel that, without holding the person who is at fault for your loss accountable, you will never find any closure.

There are many reasons why it may make sense to pursue a wrongful death claim after a fatal slip and fall accident. Here are some of the reasons our clients have chosen to move forward with a claim against the defendants who stole their loved ones from them:

  • To get justice for their deceased family member.
  • To make sure the person responsible faces the consequences.
  • To send a message that the negligence that cost your loved one’s life is unacceptable.
  • To protect other people from facing similar preventable accidents and spare other families the pain you are going through right now.
  • To find some closure as you’re forced to face life without your loved one.
  • To get the answers to your questions when the other side is being anything but transparent.
  • To offset the financial impacts of the loss, including any loss of income and unexpected costs of medical care and final arrangements.
  • Because your family member’s life mattered, and no one should get away with carelessly taking from you someone who was so important to you.

In a wrongful death claim that arises from a slip and fall accident, you can seek compensation for several types of damages, including:

  • Any medical costs for care your loved one received prior to passing away and which your family may now be billed for
  • Any pain and suffering your family member went through
  • The costs of a burial, funeral, or other final arrangements needed for your loved one
  • Any loss of expected income your family member would have brought in over the remainder of their working life
  • The value of services that your loved one would normally have provided, from the essential services they did for your family to caring for grandchildren
  • The emotional losses that accompany the death – such as the loss of love, care, affection, companionship, and guidance that this loss has deprived you of
  • The loss of consortium, if the person you lost was your spouse

Any kind of slip and fall can be fatal under certain circumstances. Most of these tragic cases that we have seen involved one or more of the following elements:

  • A fall from a height, in which the impact is more likely to be severe and to lead to life-threatening injuries.
  • A head injury that can cause serious damage to the brain or lead to oxygen deprivation. If a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or anoxic brain injury resulting from a slip and fall was the cause of your loved one’s death, you should consider whether pursuing a claim will help your family.
  • Deadly medical complications that occur in the course of treating the slip and fall. The injury itself may not have been life-threatening, but a medical complication that arose during treatment – whether a blood clot, hemorrhage during surgery, or infection – was. The person who caused the injury to begin with is liable for these consequences.

Whatever the situation, your loved one deserved better. We promise to treat your family with the compassion you deserve as we answer your questions and help you explore whether a wrongful death claim is the right option for your family – at no charge, of course.

How Much Time Do I Have to Pursue a Slip and Fall Claim?

There are a number of slip and fall time limits you need to be aware of – before it’s too late.

The deadline that applies to just about every slip and fall claim is the statute of limitations. This statute sets how long you have under New Jersey law to file a lawsuit. If you haven’t officially filed suit within this time frame, you lose your right to sue under state law.

Generally, the statute of limitations for slip and fall claims, and other personal injury matters, is two years from the date of the accident. If the fall involved a minor, the deadline is two years after the individual turns 18 years old.

Cases against certain types of defendants, however, have additional deadlines. If your slip and fall involved a government entity – if, for example, you fell in a government building or on public property – then you must notify the defendant of your claim within 90 days. Wait too long, and your right to pursue a lawsuit will expire.

Filing a slip and fall lawsuit isn’t a simple process that you can put off until the last minute. There’s a lot that has to be done before that deadline:

  • You need to get medical treatment to start getting better as well as document your injuries and damages. Ideally, you won’t actually file the lawsuit until you are well on your way to recovery – so the sooner you start getting medical care, the better.
  • You have to choose a lawyer to file the lawsuit with the court system, and that lawyer must draft all of the legal documents to do so.
  • Your attorney needs time to fully investigate the accident and gather all of the evidence needed to support your claim.
  • Your lawyer may begin working toward a settlement agreement even before filing the lawsuit, which means your case may already be well into settlement negotiations by the time the statute of limitations is up.

Besides the formal deadlines, there are what we like to consider informal deadlines.

For example, you need to get the evidence that’s pertinent to your case before it disappears.

  • Once the defendant realizes that you may take legal action, the company or individual may finally get around to addressing a long-term safety hazard that caused your injury. If you don’t have photos and meticulous measurements of the hazard before it gets fixed, you may have difficulty proving how dangerous the situation was.
  • If anyone saw you fall, you may have gotten the names and contact information of witnesses. However, the longer you wait to speak to those witnesses and get their accounts of what happened, the more they are likely to forget. Remember, while you have to live with the injury day in and day out, for witnesses, it was a one-time incident that didn’t affect their lives personally. Their memories of the event may deteriorate over time.
  • Many stores now employ surveillance video cameras that can serve as valuable evidence in your favor – but only if you are able to get a copy of the footage before it is erased. Many stores tape over old footage within a matter of days. If you don’t have a lawyer demand that the store preserve that footage for you right away, it could be too late to tap into this source of evidence.

The reality is that handling a lawsuit on your own is a hassle. It’s time-consuming. At times, it’s immensely frustrating. And it’s a big distraction from rehabilitation. Even if you’re nowhere near the two-year statute of limitations, you need to get a lawyer involved before the claim becomes such a hassle that it interferes with your progress toward getting better.

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