Personal Injury Articles for the Injured of NJ

Dangers of Slip and Falls During Freeze and Thaw Cycles

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 28, 2019

By Francis M. Smith

In the immediate aftermath of a snowstorm, the bitter cold and piles of snow and ice make venturing outside a daunting prospect. Winter storms can leave behind dangerously slippery conditions for anyone traveling on foot, or even walking to their cars. However, when the temperature starts to rise a little, surely that’s a sign of safer walking conditions to come, right? Not necessarily. Warmer days and sub-freezing nights result in freeze and thaw cycles that, if anything, make it more dangerous to traverse sidewalks and driveways, rather than less.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, hazardous road conditions

Slip and Fall Injuries when Rain is Followed by Falling Temperatures

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Jan 23, 2019

By Francis M. Smith

The fact that snowy weather can create slippery conditions that increase the danger of falling accidents is not news to any long-time New Jersey resident. However, it’s much easier to forget that a brief stretch of 40-degree rainy weather can create conditions that are just as dangerous – if not worse – when the temperature dips below freezing again during the night. The rainfall may melt away any accumulated snow at the edges of roads and walkways, but very little of that moisture is absorbed into the cold winter air. Most of it lingers on the surface of sidewalks and driveways until the weather turns cold enough that the residual water re-freezes into a slick, near-invisible sheet of ice. If that isn’t perilous enough, even a dusting of snow can completely conceal the ice on walkways, making it harder for pedestrians to anticipate the presence of slipping hazards.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, hazardous road conditions

Falling is Leading Cause of Most Nonfatal Injuries

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Jan 18, 2019

By Francis M. Smith

No one who has lived in New Jersey for any length of time is surprised by the fact that snowy weather increases a person’s risk of slipping and falling. What may be surprising for many of us, however, is how great the effect of that increased risk can be, and how often these falls can lead to serious injury. While the best-case scenario for a fall on ice results in nothing more than damp dress or trousers and something to complain about for the rest of the morning, many falls cause injuries serious enough to warrant a hospital visit. In fact, the workload increase in emergency rooms during slippery, snowy days is comparable to the increase resulting from a major accident or moderate natural disaster, according to some studies.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, hazardous road conditions

Early Snow Wreaks Havoc for NJ Drivers

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Nov 28, 2018

By Francis M. Smith

With more than a month remaining until the official start of winter, the snowstorm earlier this month caught forecasters, municipalities, and commuters equally off-guard. With some areas of the state receiving as much as 8 inches of snow, a far cry from the 2 inches widely predicted in the days prior, commuters across the state found themselves losing several hours to impassible roads and traffic jams caused by hundreds of collisions.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Dangerous Condition, hazardous road conditions

Keeping Joggers, Walkers, Pedestrians Safe

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Jan 04, 2017

By Francis M. Smith

Winter is beginning in earnest, and reactions to the onslaught of winter weather vary depending on who you ask. Children delight in fluffy snowdrifts and the possibility of school closures, while commuters dread the prospect of slippery roads. Die-hard joggers defy the cold weather for the sake of their morning runs, and some cautious would-be motorists would prefer to walk short distances rather than risk driving in winter conditions. However, for these latter groups, winter holds particular risks for pedestrian auto accidents. It’s easy for joggers and other pedestrians to forget the ways in which this time of year increases the danger of motor vehicle accidents, and some motorists forget that anyone might be walking or jogging in the cold to begin with. For both groups, a reminder of the ways that winter increases the risk of pedestrian traffic accidents might be useful.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Distracted Driving, Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian Safety

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Dec 30, 2016

By Francis M. Smith

Winter weather can be beautiful, but that beauty conceals many hazards for anyone who has to brave the cold and go outside – that is, almost everyone. Slippery roads can quickly spell disaster for drivers, but the danger of wintry conditions to pedestrians should not be overlooked. This is true not only for habitual walkers and joggers, but also for anyone walking between their front door and their car, or crossing a business parking lot. It’s important for everyone to keep pedestrian safety measures in mind any time they leave the house at this time of year.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Distracted Driving, Pedestrian Accidents

Negligent Security: Preventable Criminal Attacks

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, May 22, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Business owners have a duty of care toward their visitors: they must take steps to remedy any dangerous conditions on their property that they know about, as well as any dangerous conditions that they should know about as a result of reasonably careful maintenance of the property. Sometimes, however, the dangers that threaten to injure visitors to the property are not just slippery floors or icy steps. Some of the more devastating injuries that can befall visitors are suffered at the hands of other people in acts of violent crime – and for premises liability purposes, reasonably foreseeable criminal activity committed by a third party may count as a dangerous condition that a property owner has a duty to rectify through implementing reasonable security measures.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, premises liability, negligent security

Common Defenses To A Slip and Fall Injury Accident

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, May 20, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When your slip and fall injury claim goes to court, you and your attorney will need to prove a number of things to the satisfaction of a jury: that you suffered an accident as a result of the negligence of the party you are suing, that the injuries you sustained were caused by that accident, and that the financial damages you are seeking stem from those injuries. As you are working to provide evidence in support of these points, the lawyer working for the insurance company will be doing his best to tear down your attorney's arguments. One of the more common points of attack for defense attorneys in slip and fall injury cases is the claim of negligence. If they can convince a jury that their client (the landowner or property manager you are suing) was diligent in fulfilling his duty of care and that your accident took place despite the client's reasonable efforts, you won't be able to collect injury damages regardless of how seriously you were injured.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, injury compensation, comparative fault

The Three Ingredients to a Slip and Fall - Injury: Shoes, Floor and Person

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, May 18, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

In any slip and fall injury case, there are three components in play that may contribute to an accident. These components are the accident victim him- or herself, the footwear the victim was wearing when the accident took place, and the flooring or other surface across which the injury victim was walking when the accident occurred. When you are injured in a slip or trip and fall accident, it's important for you and your attorney to examine all three factors thoroughly, in order to rule them out as a possible cause of the accident (and produce evidence to support ruling them out), or to demonstrate that a particular factor was at fault and gather evidence in support of this conclusion.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall

Slips and Falls Caused by How the Store Does Business? The Wollerman Rule and the Mode of Operation Explained

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, May 15, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

In some slip and fall injury claims, the cause of the accident is readily apparent: a staircase hand rail wasn't securely attached to the wall and gave way when the injured plaintiff grasped it, or the plaintiff slipped on a spilled puddle of laundry detergent, which left a soapy residue on her shoes. Unfortunately, there are many other cases in which it's clear that something caused the injured person to slip and fall, but the specific hazard that precipitated the fall is difficult to identify or prove. Sometimes the hazard that caused the accident is discovered, but it is unknown how the hazard came to be on the floor, or whether it had been there long enough for an employee of the business to discover it. In the past, this has resulted in the cases of many injured plaintiffs being dismissed on the grounds that they lacked evidence to prove negligence. A New Jersey Supreme Court decision established the Wollerman rule, making it simpler for some slip and fall victims to argue their cases by shifting the burden of proof to the defendant under some circumstances.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Slip and Fall Injury Cases

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, May 13, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Q: What exactly does the term “slip and fall” mean, legally?

A: Although it sounds more like plain English than legal jargon, “slip and fall” is a legal term that refers to a particular scenario in tort law. ("Tort law" simply refers to civil justice and remedies provided, as compared to criminal justice.) Slip and fall lawsuits involve cases in which the injured plaintiff suffering an accident in which they slipped or tripped and fell on a property belonging to another person or entity (who would be the defendant(s) in the case). In these cases, the defendant may be held liable, or legally responsible, for the plaintiff's injuries if the defendant was negligent in a way that breached the duty of care he owed to the plaintiff.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, injury case

Navigating Fault: Why Are Slip & Falls Hard to Prove, Who Is to Blame, & What to Do When You Fall

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, May 04, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Though they are among the more common personal injury cases, slip and falls can be surprisingly difficult to pursue. In any negligence claim, there are three basic points that must be proven to the satisfaction of a jury if the case makes it to court. First, you must prove that you suffered losses (in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of living, and other costs that result from being injured). Second, you must prove that these losses were the result of the accident in question – that your injuries were the consequence of this particular fall, and not some other incident or condition. Third, you must prove that the accident is the fault of the individuals or organizations you are suing. This is the point where many insurance lawyers will attack your case the most fervently, because fault can be tricky to prove in slip and fall cases.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, injury compensation

Falls in Amusement Parks

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Apr 29, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

New Jersey is fortunate to be home to many amusement parks, from a variety of local theme parks to one of the largest amusement park and safari chains in the country. Theme parks cultivate a sense of adventure, playfulness, and safety within their borders – which is why it seems all the more jarring when something goes wrong and someone is hurt. The idea of an accident at an amusement park conjures up images of roller-coaster disasters, but as a fraction of all personal injury claims at theme parks, these catastrophes are thankfully rare. Much more commonly, the sort of accidents that result in an injury claim and a potential lawsuit are rather mundane: the same sort of slip and fall accident that can happen in a supermarket or a restaurant.

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Topics: Injuries, Trip and Fall, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, injury compensation, falls in amusement parks

Falls in Construction Sites

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Apr 27, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Construction sites can be, by their very nature, hazardous locations. Heavy equipment, ladders and scaffolding, holes and trenches, and other features can create dangers that can only be mitigated, not entirely erased. It is the duty of the general contractor or property manager in charge of a construction site to maintain it in as safe a condition as possible, but sometimes corners are cut or errors are made, resulting in accidents. Every year, more than 68,000 injury claims result from slip and fall accidents on or around construction sites – and of these, over 100 represent fatal accidents. Often the victims of these falls at construction sites are workers employed by one of the companies (sub-contractors) operating on the job site, but passers-by or other people are also at risk of falling accidents in these areas.

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Topics: Trip and Fall, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, Construction Accidents, Workplace Injury, Workplace Accidents

Hidden or Obvious Defects (Latent Defect or Patent Defect)

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Apr 08, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

While many slip and fall accidents result from negligent conduct on the part of a property maintainer in allowing objects or substances to create hazards on a walking surface, some hazardous conditions that cause falling accidents result from a defective condition of part of the property itself. When this occurs, who is responsible for the presence of the defect and thus liable for the injuries that it caused – the parties who own or maintain the property, or the parties who designed and built the defective items in the first place? The answer to that question is partly determined by whether the hazard that caused the injury was a patent or a latent defect.

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Topics: Trip and Fall, Dangerous Condition, Slip and Fall, latent defect, patent defect

Work Place Falls

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Apr 06, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

One of the more common places for a slip and fall accident to take place is at the accident victim's place of employment. In New Jersey, an injured worker usually cannot sue an employer for negligence. If the only entity or person responsible for an injury is an employer or a co-worker, the injured person's only avenue to receive compensation for their injuries is through workers' compensation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury, however, there may be other parties who contributed to your accident, and if these third-party entities were negligent in some fashion that led to your work fall, you may be able to pursue legal action against them to seek compensation for your injuries.

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Topics: Trip and Fall, Product Liability Cases, Dangerous Condition, Slip and Fall, Workplace Injury, Workplace Accidents

Fall Accidents from Vehicles and Equipment

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Mar 09, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When a person sustains a personal injury in an accident involving a motorized vehicle, one might be forgiven for assuming that the injuries were sustained in an automotive crash or collision, rather than a fall. The truth, however, is that falls from vehicles, tractors, and other power equipment are among the more dangerous – even deadly – injury-causing falls. Sometimes these fall accidents are due to improper usage of the equipment, but even when an operator is using the vehicle in the way it was intended, a lack of careful maintenance or poor conditions can create hazards that can result in a fall even when the vehicle is parked.

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Topics: Injuries, Dangerous Condition, Slip and Fall, falls from vehicles, falls from equipment

What is Comparative Fault in a Slip and Fall Case?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Feb 23, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

When you sustain an injury in a slip and fall accident on someone else's property, a major component of pursuing your injury claim will involve proving that the incident that caused your injuries was the fault of the possessor of the property (or those charged with maintaining the property). This may mean demonstrating that the property owner or manager actively created the hazard that caused your injury, or showing that they negligently allowed the hazard to persist. While your attorney is gathering proofs and constructing these arguments, however, the lawyer for the opposing side won't be sitting idle; it's his job to defend the property owner (and the insurance company who will have to pay damages if you prevail), and one of the defense strategies in their arsenal is to argue that the accident that injured you was at least partly your own fault. This defense argument is called comparative negligence or comparative fault, and if the insurance company's lawyer argues it persuasively enough, it could reduce the amount of money you are able to collect in injury damages, or mean that you can receive no compensation at all.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, comparative negligence, comparative fault

Injuries Resulting from Slip and Falls or Tripping

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Fri, Feb 20, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

Suffering a fall as a result of unsafe walking surfaces or hazards on a property can result in serious injuries. There are many ways that an injury-causing fall can occur, but these kinds of accident can be divided into two broad categories: slip and fall accidents, and trip and fall accidents. If the incident occurs on a premises controlled by another party and the hazardous condition existed due to that party's negligence, there is little or no difference in liability between the two types of falling accident – but when pursuing damages for your claim, the distinction between a slipping accident and a trip can be important for substantiating your account of events. Perhaps more importantly, the kind of falling accident you suffer can partly determine what injuries you sustain.

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Topics: Trip and Fall, Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Slip and Fall, injury compensation

What is Title 59 in NJ?

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jan 05, 2015

By Francis M. Smith

If you have suffered an injury because of the negligent actions of another person or an organization, it can be reassuring to know that the state of New Jersey provides a means of seeking compensation through the courts for those injuries and the expenses arising from them, if the party responsible for your accident refuses to offer a reasonable settlement. But what happens when the state of New Jersey, or one of its counties or municipalities, is the party responsible for your injuries? Then things become a little more complicated.

The state of New Jersey has established in law a degree of immunity from liability for itself and its employees; this is generally referred to as "sovereign immunity" - because it's carried over from the English common law which was mostly adopted here in the U.S. early in our history. Back then in England, you could not sue the King. (That is, the "sovereign" was immune from suit.)

Here in New Jersey, governmental immunity from suit is the prevailing law, but there are exceptions to this immunity, under which injured or wronged citizens are able to sue the state and its actors for damages. Even then, though, their lawsuits are subject to many limitations and requirements. These are outlined in the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (“TCA”), otherwise known as Title 59. This legislation, and the court decisions interpreting it, imposes restrictions on the circumstances under which you can sue the state (or any governmental subdivision) and its employees, the kinds of damages you can seek compensation for, and the manner in which you must file your suit.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Pedestrian Accidents

Motorcycle Accidents Addressed in National Motorcycle Safety Month

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, May 12, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

After a particularly harsh winter, the weather is finally beginning to get warm and comfortable again, meaning that motorcyclists will be taking to the roads in increasing numbers in the coming weeks. However, the cold and wet over the winter has taken its toll on New Jersey's roads, as State Transportation Commissioner Jim Simpson noted at a recent budget hearing. Potholes and other road damage caused by the melting and re-freezing of snow and ice are particularly dangerous for motorcyclists; driving over a deep pothole might cause damage to the alignment of four-wheeled vehicles, but the same pothole could cause serious motorcycle accidents.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Motorcycle Accident, Dangerous Condition, Bicycle Accidents

Slip and Fall Danger Lingers when Snow Melts and Refreezes Overnight

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Mar 24, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

The dead of winter can be a dangerous time to set foot outside, whether as a pedestrian walking from place to place or even as a driver walking to and from your car. When the calendar officially marks the first day of spring and daytime temperatures start to creep upward, everyone breathes a sigh of relief that winter is leaving – and taking its perilous slip and fall weather hazards with it! But unfortunately, the danger isn't completely behind us yet. Early spring holds its own share of slip and fall dangers that can result in serious injuries.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, Dangerous Premises, Premises Liabiiity, Slip and Fall, Pedestrian Accidents

Road Hazards When Roads Thaw (and re-freeze and thaw again!)

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Mar 19, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

The weather is finally starting to warm up a little – though a bit grudgingly, at times – and the snow is melting. That means that the really hazardous driving conditions are over for another year, right? Unfortunately, no; in early spring, as the roads first start to thaw, there are a multitude of new driving hazards that create dangerous opportunities for serious crashes that can lead to debilitating car accident injuries. It's important to be aware of the potential dangers and learn the best ways to avoid them in order to prevent severe automobile accident injuries.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Car Accidents, Dangerous Condition

Hidden Dangers for Car Accident Victims During Ice, Snow and Freezing Rain

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Wed, Feb 12, 2014

By Francis M. Smith

There is no doubt that ice, snow and freezing rain make driving miserable. However too many people drive as if these are minor inconveniences which mean leaving for work earlier. The truth is that severe winter road conditions can contribute to injury and/or death on the road in more ways than people realize. Getting into a car crash can be just the beginning of your problems! Everyone should know proper post-car crash actions. Render first aid where necessary, call 911, exchange information with the other driver and keep one’s cool. See this check list for more about what to always do after an accident. However during harsh winter conditions, these basic car crash “to-dos” have to be reevaluated because the cold itself can become more of a danger than the crash.

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Topics: Motor Vehicle Accidents, Dangerous Condition, Slip and Fall

Personal Injury: Determining When a "Dangerous Condition" Exists

Posted by Francis M. Smith on Mon, Jul 15, 2013

By Francis M. Smith

If you have suffered an injury due to a fall or other accident on a property owned or maintained by another party, you may think it is reasonable to seek just compensation for the medical bills, lost wages, or other expenses that the injury has caused you. However, sustaining an injury on property belonging to another person or organization is not a guarantee that you will have a successful case. Premises liability in personal injury cases is determined by the presence of three elements in the case, without which your claim may fail.

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Topics: Dangerous Condition, New Jersey Personal Injury Law, Dangerous Premises, Premises Liabiiity, Slip and Fall, NJ Personal Injury Law

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