Receiving Compensation for a Premises Liability Accident in New Jersey

  • January 15, 2022

Injuries can occur anywhere, and while most injuries would be defined as an accident of some sort, that doesn’t mean that someone isn’t liable. We call collisions “car accidents,” and yet there is almost always someone at fault for the incident. In the same way, there is often fault involved in injuries—even something as simple as a slip and fall. When you’re injured on someone else’s property, they may have some liability for that injury. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about premises liability accidents in New Jersey and how to receive compensation.

Where Does the Liability Rest?

Any time you are injured on someone else’s property, liability must be clearly established before you can hope to claim compensation. With any personal injury claim, the victim needs to prove four key things:

  1. Someone else had the duty of care to prevent the injury.
  2. That individual breached their duty of care.
  3. That breach of duty directly resulted in your injury.
  4. Your injury was significant enough to cause some measurable loss (monetary or otherwise).

Premises liability is a component of that first step in establishing liability, as it involves proving that the property owner had some duty to maintain the property in order to prevent your injury. Generally speaking, property owners of any type have some duty to maintain their property in such a way that it is not a safety risk to those who visit the property.

However, the extent of their duty of care to you depends largely on one thing: your relationship with the owner. New Jersey recognizes three types of property visitors, which leads us to the next component of a premises liability accident.

Types of Visitors in Premises Liability Cases

Simply being on a person’s property does not offer you unlimited protections. Visitors to a property are warranted different levels of protection under premises liability laws, depending on what type of visitor they are. The three types of visitors recognized in New Jersey are:

  • Trespassers – Individuals not invited or wanted on a person’s property. These individuals have very few protections under premises liability, as the property owner has no duty to them other than to not intentionally injure them and to post warnings of any artificial conditions on the property that could result in serious harm (e.g., posting a warning sign on an electric fence).
  • Licensees – These are individuals who are permitted to come onto the property, but do so for their own purposes. In the case of a residence, this might include door-to-door salesmen or workers. For businesses, a friend stopping by for a social visit (and not to make a purchase) would be considered a licensee. The property owner has a duty to warn licensees of dangerous conditions that could harm them during their visit (e.g., letting the contractor know there’s a broken stair on your back deck).
  • Invitees – Invitees are the individuals on a property by invitation, either expressed or implied. For businesses, this means their customers, while for homeowners, it would mean people you regularly invite into your home or who have received a specific invitation. It’s to these individuals that the property owner owes the greatest duty of care. They are expected to prevent any dangerous conditions that could injure an invitee. (e.g., putting up a “Wet Floor” sign when the floors are recently mopped, or clearing your sidewalks of ice).

Establishing the property owner’s duty of care towards you in regards to maintaining their property is the central consideration for premises liability claims. It is only after this duty (and its breach) has been established that we can begin to consider claiming compensation.

Receiving Compensation for Your Injury

Once premises liability is established, receiving compensation for your injury is simply a matter of pursuing your claim. In most cases, compensation is received outside of court, via a settlement offer from the property owner’s insurance company. Both business owners and homeowners have insurance plans in place to protect them against expenses related to premises liability. Filing a claim with their insurance provider would be the first step towards receiving compensation.

If your claim is denied, or you receive a settlement offer you believe is too low, you can take the matter to court to pursue compensation through an injury case. But whether you’re compensated via a lawsuit or a settlement outside of court, it’s extremely important that you have a personal injury attorney on your side. Contact Selem Antonucci Law today to find out how our experienced and compassionate professionals can help you receive compensation for your injury.

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