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South Jersey Premises Liability Attorney

Slip and Fall Injury Lawyers Protect the Injured

Many of us grew up watching cartoons and sitcoms in which a slip and fall was played for laughs. In the real world, however, a slip, trip, fall, or other injury on someone else’s property is rarely humorous. Instead, these injuries can do serious damage. Permanent harm can result from an injury related to the safety of a commercial property.

If you’ve been injured at a South Jersey shop, restaurant, or other commercial property, don’t wait. Talk to the experienced premises liability lawyers at Petrillo & Goldberg today. We can help you understand your legal rights and bring any necessary claim against a Pennsauken or Cherry Hill business to seek the compensation you deserve.

Responsibilities of Commercial Property Owners in New Jersey

The daily routine of people’s lives often includes setting foot on someone’s commercial property, whether that appearance on another’s commercial property is to live as a tenant, conduct business, work, go to school, shop, dine, attend a concert or sporting event, and numerous other activities. Nearly all South Jersey residents need to visit a commercial property at some point in their day, week, or month. 

Recognizing the importance of business premises to daily life in New Jersey, state law gives certain responsibilities to those who own commercial properties or operate businesses the public is allowed to enter. A landowner or occupant of a commercial property owes a duty of care to an individual who visits their business. 

This duty of care requires property owners to:

  • Take steps to mitigate or eliminate risks on the property, such as by removing snow and ice, maintaining handrails or other safety features on stairs, and installing adequate lighting so those on the property can see what is in their path.
  • Warn visitors about any risks that cannot be eliminated, such as a wet floor that may be slippery because it has recently been mopped. 

The responsibility to remove hazards within a reasonable amount of time and create safe conditions for visitors who enter upon commercial property for legitimate purposes, whether by permission or invitation, can cover a variety of potentially dangerous conditions. Conditions that can cause harm if they are not fixed include:

  • uncleared ice or snow on walkways
  • structural conditions like loose handrails or broken stairs, 
  • building code violations like ungrounded electrical outlets, 
  • toxic substances like black mold, 
  • the presence of dangerous animals, and
  • improperly stored or maintained items within the business, such as merchandise that falls onto a customer as they walk through the aisles. 

A business’s duty to maintain safe premises even extends to children who may be trespassers but who are attracted out of curiosity to investigate hazardous conditions on a property.

Regardless of the age of any commercial property visitor, they must also be properly warned of any potentially dangerous condition on a property. Warnings are necessary when a dangerous condition cannot be immediately repaired. One of the most common types of warnings is a “wet floor” sign. These signs warn visitors that the floor may be slippery until it dries. 

Types of Premises Liability Injuries

In a premises liability incident, nearly any part of the body may be injured. Emotional and mental injuries can also result. 

Common types of injuries that occur in New Jersey premises liability cases include

  • Head, neck, and back injuries. Skull fractures, herniated discs, nerve damage, and similar injuries can affect the head, neck, or back in a fall or another injury situation. 
  • Brain and spinal cord injuries. From mild concussions to total paralysis, injuries to the brain and spinal cord can leave lingering or permanent damage that requires extensive care – sometimes for the rest of a person’s life.
  • Broken bones. Broken bones can be the result of a fall or another injury. Some broken bones can only be treated with surgery. The surgery can leave scars. Additional procedures may be required to remove surgical hardware after the bone has healed. In some cases, hardware cannot be removed. Ongoing issues with pain and mobility may result. 
  • Scarring and disfigurement. Whether it results from the injury itself or from surgical intervention to treat an injury, scarring and disfigurement can be permanent – and permanently change how the world responds to an injured person. 

Other types of injuries may occur as well. Many people who are injured by a dangerous condition on commercial property experience mental and emotional symptoms as well as physical injuries. These symptoms are also real and require treatment. 

If you’ve been injured on a commercial property, speak to an experienced South Jersey premises liability lawyer today. An attorney can help you identify the next step to take toward the compensation you need. 

Compensation and Time Limits in New Jersey Premises Liability Cases

New Jersey law imposes a “duty of care” on the owner or occupier of commercial property. This duty of care requires a business to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition and to warn visitors about conditions that can’t immediately be fixed. 

A New Jersey’s business failure to meet this duty of care is known as a “breach of duty.” To prove that a business that breached its duty is liable for damages, an injured person must show that:

  • The injury was a foreseeable consequence of the breach. Known as “proximate cause,” this element requires there to be a foreseeable link between what the property owner did or failed to do and what happened to the injured person. For example, if a property owner doesn’t warn visitors about a freshly-mopped floor, it is foreseeable that a visitor might slip and fall, suffering an injury. 
  • The breach actually caused the injury. Known as “cause in fact,” this element requires the breach and the injury to be linked. For instance, a slip and fall on a wet floor has a clear connection between the wet floor (the cause) and the slip (the effect). 

In addition to demonstrating that the property owner had a duty, failed to meet it, and caused foreseeable harm as a result, an injured person must demonstrate that they suffered damages. Damages are losses suffered because of the accident or injury. 

New Jersey courts often think about damages in two different categories:

  • Economic damages. These damages are financial losses from the injury. They are typically proven with receipts, bills, bank statements, and other documentation showing you paid, owe, or lost money. Medical bills, lost wages, and repair costs for damaged property are three examples of economic damages.
  • Non-economic damages. Non-economic damages don’t typically come with documentation, but that doesn’t make them less real. Pain and suffering are common types of non-economic damages. The loss of the ability to enjoy activities you once did, from doing household chores to engaging in hobbies, may also fall in this category.

Finally, an injured person must be prepared for a property owner to raise one or more “affirmative defenses.” These arguments attempt to show why the business owner shouldn’t be liable for the injured person’s losses. One common affirmative defense is that a dangerous condition was “open and obvious” – meaning the injured person should have been able to identify and avoid it on their own. An attorney can tell you which affirmative defenses might arise in your case and work with you to build a strong counterargument. 

Injured business customers in New Jersey may work with an experienced lawyer of their choosing to make their case. Working with a lawyer is especially important because New Jersey’s statute of limitations limits the amount of time an injured person has available to bring their case to court. Speak to an attorney as soon as possible after your accident to learn more about your legal rights and the compensation you may be owed. 

Premises Liability Attorney in Pennsauken and Cherry Hill

When you went to a business, school, work, or another place, you may have done so thinking you were doing ordinary tasks on an ordinary day. The injuries you suffered turned an ordinary day into one that changed the course of your life. 

Now, you may struggle to complete everyday tasks. You may require forms of medical care or therapy you never did before. You may worry about how you’ll make ends meet or how you will provide for your family. You may wonder if you’ll ever be able to return to work or to the hobbies and activities you once loved. Fear of suffering similar harm or memories of the incident may continue to haunt you.

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – and there is hope. Talk to an experienced South Jersey premises liability attorney today. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and fight for the compensation you deserve. 

If you or a loved one has sustained an injury while on someone else’s commercial property for legitimate purposes in South Jersey or metropolitan Philadelphia, you will find no greater legal resource than the experienced team of lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg. Our attorneys can help you recover damages for your injuries and the pain and suffering they have caused.


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Meet our attorneys

The highly competent lawyers at Petrillo and Goldberg represent clients with personal injury claims, workers compensation claims, slip-and-fall cases and automobile accident victims. We work for you, and take our job of getting the best possible results for you seriously.