New York – New Jersey Slip and Fall Lawyer
Property accidents occur on property of any type, it is referred to as a “premises” accident. This is a very broad term since there is really no limit to the number of ways in which people can be injured and the kinds of premises in which accidents may occur. Because of this, many premises/property accidents have come to be known by specific terms such as “slip and fall,” or “trip and fall,” or “snow and ice,” or “inadequate security.”
One of the things that makes premises accidents so dangerous is that they occur in places where people feel safe and secure and are often not paying attention to conditions that can be dangerous. Places were people live, shop, vacation, engage in recreational activities, eat, enjoy entertainment, or simply walk, can hide a vast number of defective or hazardous conditions that are capable of causing serious injuries or deaths.
While most people are aware of the old saying that “most accidents occur at home,” it is quite true that familiar locations, where people are most likely to let their guard or behave in a casual manner, can be the most dangerous. Premises accidents may occur to people visiting or working in private homes, apartment buildings, shopping malls and stores, office buildings, garages and parking lots, theatres, sports venues, health clubs or swimming pools or beaches, vacant property, banks, restaurants and bars, stairways, driveways, elevators and escalators, museums, zoos, schools, amusement parks, storage facilities, or even within your own home.
Accidents can be caused by defective stairways, loose or ripped carpeting, inadequate lighting, slippery floors, falling ceilings, defective elevators or escalators, overcrowding or inadequate crowd control, excessively hot water, negligent snow and ice removal, inadequate security of all types, electrical fires, the lack of window guards, inoperative or missing smoke alarms, leaks, poor maintenance, toxic substances such as lead-based paint and building materials and many others.
Whenever an attorney believes he or she “has seen it all,” in terms of the places and ways in which an accident can occur, a new place or condition presents itself. Only an attorney with broad experience in handling premises cases should be consulted following this type of accident even if the injured person does not think he or she has a case. Often, a trained and experienced attorney is likely to recognize a negligent situation or condition of which a lay person is completely unaware.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY PREMISES CASES
In New Jersey, premises/property liability differs significantly from New York in some important areas.
For example, in New York, evidence of repairs made after an accident (“subsequent repairs”) is not admissible to prove that the event was caused by negligence. However, in New Jersey courts have consistently recognized exceptions to this rule. Evidence of subsequent remedial repairs is permissible: (1) to show control over the instrumentality that caused the injury; (2) to impeach a witness’s credibility; (3) to prove the condition existed when the accident occurred; and (4) to show that a feasible alternative for avoiding the danger existed at the time of the accident.
Another significant difference between New York and New Jersey is New Jersey’s “mode-of-operation rule.” Under this rule, when a substantial risk of injury exists in the manner in a business operator’s method of doing business, the injured party is not required to show actual or constructive notice of dangerous condition.
For example, in New York if a customer slips on a spilled grape while shopping in the produce aisle in a supermarket, the customer can only bring a successful action for injuries if she can prove that the supermarket had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition.
In New Jersey, however, the customer would not have to prove actual or constructive notice of the condition if it can be shown that the grape spilled in the course of the supermarket’s “mode of operation,” and that it would be foreseeable that loose grapes falling to the ground was foreseeable and would create a dangerous condition for non-suspecting customers walking in that area.
If you have been the victim of a property accidents case, please contact us for a free consultation. We’re available at our New York and New Jersey offices to answer your questions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.