When you slip and fall and injure yourself on a public sidewalk, whether a premises liability claim can go forward in court depends on the accident’s circumstances. Just because someone falls and hurts themselves on a municipal sidewalk does not mean they can sue the city for compensation for their injuries. The first step in determining sidewalk slip and fall liability is finding out who owns the sidewalk.
New Jersey considers public sidewalks to be controlled by public agencies. Public roadways are those owned by either the municipality, county, or state. It is not uncommon for a public roadway to have different jurisdictions in varying parts of the road, so determining which entity is in charge of the spot where the accident occurred is necessary.
Researching who owns the property abutting the sidewalk, and whether that property is residential or commercial, is also important. Residential property owners are rarely held liable for the condition of the public sidewalk next to their home. Commercial property owners, however, may prove liable for injuries on a public sidewalk.
Limited Time to File
In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date of the accident. However, if the lawsuit involves a public entity, there is a strict procedure to follow. The public entity must receive a Notice of Tort Claims either hand-delivered or sent via certified mail within 90 days of the accident date. This notice is not a lawsuit, but it lets the entity know about the accident so authorities can decide whether they want to settle a claim prior to a lawsuit filing. After filing the Notice with the public entity, the injured party must wait at least six months before filing a lawsuit. If the Notice of Tort Claim is not filed within the 90-day period, a lawsuit cannot go forward.
A sidewalk slip and fall case revolves around negligence, either the negligence of the entity responsible for sidewalk maintenance or the negligence of the accident victim. The plaintiff must prove the entity was negligent in its maintenance, such as failing to repair holes or broken pavement. The defendant might argue that the accident victim was responsible for the fall, citing inappropriate footwear, lack of attention or distraction while walking, or that the issue with the sidewalk should have been obvious to any pedestrian. If a jury decides the plaintiff is less than 50 percent to blame for the slip and fall, the injured person may receive compensation.
Camden Slip and Fall Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Assist Victims Injured in Slip and Fall Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident, you need the services of the experienced Camden slip and fall lawyers at DiTomaso Law. Call us at 856-414-0010 or complete an online form to set up a free consultation. Because time is of the essence, retaining legal counsel as soon as possible is critical. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Philadelphia, we represent clients throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Camden County, Mt. Holly, and Cherry Hill.