Slip & Fall Attorneys Explore Slipping and Falling on Public Icy Sidewalks In New Jersey

Slip & Fall Attorneys Explore Slipping and Falling on Public Icy Sidewalks In New JerseySlipping and falling on an icy sidewalk can be extremely painful. Depending on where you fall, you may ask, who is liable, or responsible, for your injuries? Rules for maintaining sidewalks vary around the US. For example, in New Jersey, liability for the fall may attach to the abutting owner of the property. If the property owner is an individual, there is no responsibility to remove the snow or ice. But if suddenly the private landowner decides to clear the snow or ice, they may face liability if the snow or ice was negligently removed. For commercial owners, the law is clear that they must take measures to remove snow or ice. As for sidewalks owned by a municipality and whether they may be liable for a slip and fall accident, it depends whether they negligently maintained the property and whether that negligence was the cause of the injury.

A recent case decision from the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division, dated October 22, 2014, shows how challenging it can be for a victim of a slip and fall case to bring a case against a municipality for negligence:

On March 2, 2010, Mr. Zachary Kavanaugh, a student at Camden County College slipped and fell on an sidewalk, next to the campus parking lot, which resulted in an ankle fracture. Even the campus police slipped a few times in the process of helping him. The college’s grounds department salted and sanded the icy accumulation after Mr. Kavanugh’s slip and fall accident. After the college was sued, it claimed that employees were on duty between 7AM to 9AM that morning but did not have any records showing whether they treated the icy accumulations on campus or whether the college snow plan was followed that day. The snow plan detailed how to clear overnight snow between 4 to 6 inches but did not address how to handle icy conditions from accumulated snow melting and refreezing as ice.

The college moved for summary judgment and dismissal of the complaint arguing that it was immune from liability, it had no notice of hazardous conditions on the property, its actions in maintaining the property was not palpably unreasonable, plaintiff’s injuries were not permanent, and he was not entitled to pain and suffering. The Superior Court Judge agreed with the college that its actions in maintaining the campus was not palpably unreasonable, and inferred it took measures to clear the icy patches, but did not address the college’s other arguments.

Mr. Kavanaugh appealed the lower court’s decision that there were disputes of material facts regarding whether the college’s actions were palpably unreasonable. The Appellate Court agreed with him and sent the case back to down to be tried. The Appellate Court was troubled by the lack of records from a groundskeeper that they cleaned the icy areas, which could be interpreted by a jury that the college did not reasonably address the icy conditions.

Lundy Law: Multistate Advocates of Representing Victims Who’ve Slipped and Fallen On Ice and Snow

If you or your loved one slips and falls on icy sidewalks or roads this winter season in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, or Delaware, please contact Lundy Law at 1 (800) LUNDYLAW®. We can immediately have one of our Personal Injury Attorneys speak with you regarding, the particulars of when, where, and how you fell in order to assess the liability of the property owner. With over 50 years of experience we can effectively represent slip and fall accident victims to recover compensation for damages.