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Slip and Fall Accidents on Sidewalks

February 15, 2018

Sidewalks can be dangerous, especially in the winter season when accumulated ice and snow obscure hazards and create a slippery surface. A victim can slip and fall, suffering a severe injury such as a broken bone, soft tissue damage, or a traumatic brain injury because of these seasonal hazards.

After falling on a slippery sidewalk, a victim may consider pursuing compensation for their damages through a slip and fall claim. To do so, they must identify the party liable for their damages and craft a pool of evidence that demonstrates how the liable party’s negligence caused the victim to slip and fall. Which party is liable for a victim’s damages depends on where the injury occurred.

When a Victim Falls in Front of a Residential Property

In certain states, private homeowners are responsible to safely maintain the sidewalks in front of their homes. In other states, this responsibility lies with the municipality.

When a victim falls and suffers an injury on a sidewalk in Pennsylvania, they can file a premises liability claim against the homeowner of the property where the accident occurred. In New Jersey, a victim cannot take this action. However, if they can demonstrate that the homeowner attempted to repair the sidewalk or clear seasonal hazards, but did so in a negligent manner that created a more dangerous condition for sidewalk users, they can then pursue the claim. When a homeowner is subjected to a set of homeowner association rules that require them to maintain the sidewalk near their home, they are liable.

When the municipality is liable for a victim’s damages, the victim must be proactive to ensure that they file their premises liability claim within the permitted timeframe against a government entity. This is not the same process as filing a premises liability claim against a private party. The deadlines for this type of claim are shorter and there may be limits on how much compensation the victim can recover.

Sidewalks Near Commercial Buildings

Commercial building owners are held to a greater liability standard than private homeowners. These property owners must maintain reasonably safe conditions in the areas their customers use to access their buildings. For a retailer, this includes the parking lot and all walkways that cut through it.

The Key to Understanding Liability

As discussed above, commercial building owners must maintain reasonably safe conditions on their properties. Whether the property owner’s actions can be considered reasonable or not can determine if they are liable for a victim’s damages. Sometimes, a property owner could not have reasonably known about a hazard, such as a slip that happens only moments after a liquid spill. In this case, the property owner did not have a reasonable amount of time to recognize and correct the hazard.

Cherry Hill Slip and Fall Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Slip and Fall Victims Seek Compensation for Their Damages

If you or someone who know has suffered from a slip and fall accident, the party responsible for maintaining that sidewalk could be held liable for the related damages. To learn more about pursuing a personal injury claim after a slip and fall, schedule a consultation with an experienced Cherry Hill slip and fall lawyer. Fill out our online form or call 856-414-0010 today to schedule your consultation with a member of DiTomaso Law. Our office is in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and we work with clients throughout the state and Pennsylvania.

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