Mark Law Firm is a small firm with a large presents, specializing in personal injury law, and has handled hundreds of slip and fall sidewalk accidents in which our clients become injured due to the negligence of the landowner, often times that owner is a commercial complex, apartment complex, mall or parking lot.
Liability of Abutting Owner or Occupant
The owner (occupant) of residential premises abutting a public sidewalk is not responsible for defects therein caused by the action of the elements or by the wear and tear incident to public use. If, however, you find that the defective condition of the sidewalk was the result of the negligent construction thereof by the owner (occupant) or that it resulted from an activity, commercial or otherwise, which was carried on by him/her, the plaintiff may recover for the injuries proximately resulting from such defective condition.
Liability of Owner for Repairs
A residential property owner owes no duty to the public to repair a sidewalk which is in a state of disrepair by reason of normal wear and tear or by reason of the elements such as rain, snow, frost, and the like. Nor is mere failure fully to correct the old condition a sufficient basis for liability.
Where, however, the owner attempts to make repairs to correct some defect therein for which he is not responsible, he becomes responsible if he makes the repairs negligently and thereby causes the sidewalk, after the repairs, to be more dangerous than before or if he causes a new hazard, different from the old.
Residential owner has no duty to maintain sidewalk at base of residential driveway where the deterioration occurred over time merely due to long-term residential traffic.
Where the abutting owner, although not obligated to construct a sidewalk, does so in such a manner that it is hazardous to pedestrians, it is a public nuisance and the owner is liable. An owner, attempting to repair an existing sidewalk, or to correct some defect therein, may create a nuisance and be responsible if the sidewalk, after the attempt to repair or correct is more dangerous than before, or the new hazard is different from the old.
Liability for Snow and Ice
The owner (occupant) of residential premises abutting a public sidewalk is not required to keep the sidewalk free from the natural accumulation of ice and snow. But he is liable if, in clearing the sidewalk of ice and snow, he, through his negligence, adds a new element of danger or hazard, other than that caused by the natural elements, to the use of the sidewalk by a pedestrian. In other words, while an abutting owner (occupant) is under no duty to clear his sidewalk of ice and snow, he may become liable where he undertakes to clear the sidewalk and does so in a manner which creates a new element of danger which increases the natural hazard already there.
Therefore, if a person, in undertaking to remove the ice and snow from his sidewalk, created a new hazard or increased the existing hazard and that this new or increased hazard proximately caused or concurred with the natural hazard to cause your injuries.
Liability of Owner of Commercial Property for Defects, Snow and Ice Accumulation and Other Dangerous Conditions in Abutting Sidewalks
The law imposes upon the owner of commercial or business property the duty to use reasonable care to see to it that the sidewalks abutting the property are reasonably safe for members of the public who are using them. In other words, the law says that the owner of commercial property must exercise reasonable care to see to it that the condition of the abutting sidewalk is reasonably safe and does not subject pedestrians to an unreasonable risk of harm. The concept of reasonable care requires the owner of commercial property to take action with regard to conditions within a reasonable period of time after the owner becomes aware of the dangerous condition or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have become aware of it. If there was a condition of a sidewalk that was dangerous in that it created an unreasonable risk of harm for pedestrians, and the owner knew of that condition or should have known of it but failed to take such reasonable action to correct or remedy the situation within a reasonable period of time thereafter as a reasonably prudent commercial or business owner would have done under the circumstances, then the owner is negligent.
The owner of commercial or business property is chargeable with a duty of making reasonable observations of his property, including the abutting sidewalk, in order to discover any dangerous condition that might develop or occur. The owner must make observations of his property, including the sidewalk, with the frequency that a reasonably prudent commercial property owner would in the circumstances.
What actions must the owner of commercial property take with regard to defects/snow/ice accumulation/dangerous conditions? The action required by the law is action which a reasonably prudent person would take or should have taken in the circumstances present to correct the defect/snow/ice accumulation/dangerous condition, to repair it/remove it or to take other actions to minimize the danger to pedestrians (for example, to give warning of it) within a reasonable period of time after notice thereof. The test is: did the commercial property owner take the action that a reasonably prudent person who knows or should have known of the condition would have taken in that circumstance? If he did, he is not negligent. If he did not, he is negligent.
Contact Mark Law Firm, Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners
Receive a consultation from our New Jersey Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners attorney regarding your accident. Once you have retained our injury law firm we will diligently represent you in obtaining compensation for your Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners. Contact Mark Law Firm, about your Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners today about any injuries you may have sustained due to an Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners. Contact Mark Law Firm, and speak to our Accident and/or Injury against Private and Commercial Property Owners team today by calling 908-460-8996.