A few snowstorms already taking place this winter and New Jersey residents out and about completing their shopping on foot can end up becoming a recipe for a slip-and-fall accidents on sidewalks. An ordinary shopping trip can become dangerous at a moment’s notice if property owner’s neglect their duty to maintain a safe premises. But what exactly is a landowner’s property with regards to snow on its premises?
Property owner’s or resident non-owner’s duty
It is a property owner’s duty to ensure their property is properly maintained. This usually means removing and hazardous conditions from it or making people aware that there are dangers on the property. If they fail to fulfil this duty in the building, adjacent areas, stairwells, parking lots, sidewalks or other areas under their control, they can create dangerous conditions that can end up injuring those who cross or enter their premises.
With snow piling up, it is assumed that commercial building owners are responsible for ensuring that the snow is cleared from the sidewalks. While this is generally the case, it is important to note that the duty is not of immediate cleaning or continuous cleaning. According to court decisions on the matter, landowners have a reasonable amount of time after the snow stops to clean up snow and ice from its sidewalk.
A slip and fall accident can cause tremendous injuries that can leave the victim struggling to meet hospital expenses and unable to work because of their condition. While injured victims can file for premises liability claims, it can become complicated if one snowfall follows another and depending on when and where someone fell. These complications may be dealt with by an experienced attorney, rather than by an victim struggling with their injuries.