Property Managers and Premises Liability in New Jersey

When a tenant rents an apartment, home, or business property from a landlord or property manager, they expect to stay safe on the premises.

Property Managers and Premises Liability in New JerseyUnfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and accidents happen. When a tenant is injured due to the negligence of a property manager to keep the property up-to-date in structural and functional safety features, they have a right to seek damages in some cases. So what are the circumstances in which a property manager is liable for an injury that happens on their property, and when is the care and safe-keeping of a space the responsibility of the tenant? Read on to learn more about the obligations and liabilities of property managers in premises liability cases.

When is a property manager likely to be liable in New Jersey?

If a property has shared spaces, its maintenance and upkeep are the responsibility of the landlord or property owner. As such, if an injury occurs in a common area such as a lounge, pool area, or parking lot, a tenant can file a personal injury claim against the landlord and expect to receive compensation. Usually, such injuries that happen in a common area occur as a result of a landlord’s negligence. Unless there is regular upkeep, dangerous situations can exist, such as icy entrances, slippery stairways, and malfunctioning appliances such as communal cooking items or laundry machines. In all of these cases, it is the landlord’s legal responsibility to ensure that such fixtures are operating safely. While generally, landlords are off the hook when it comes to areas that are the exclusive domain of a tenant, common areas are definite liability centers. Yet common areas aren’t the only spaces in which landlords have a legal duty to maintain premises. Even a landlord’s own management of small but essential details, such as where and how they keep master keys,  can cause havoc that leads to a break-in or other accident, rendering them liable for failure to maintain the premises. Read on to learn about other areas in which premises liability falls in the court of a landlord or property management serving as their agent.

Smoke Alarms and Other NJ Emergency Equipment

Emergency equipment is one of the most essential fixtures in any private or business rental. Unfortunately, it is often overlooked by landlords and property managers, and tenants are left to find out that their preventive and emergency equipment is malfunctioning in highly inopportune and dangerous times. Things like smoke detectors and fire extinguishers have regular maintenance requirements that it is the duty of a landlord or property manager to schedule. If you are a tenant, take your safety into your own hands by inquiring as to the last time that the emergency equipment was serviced. If you are the victim of an accident that occurred due to malfunctioning equipment of this kind, contact our firm right away; you likely have the right to recover damages to your person and property caused by your landlord’s negligence.

Safety Features on Doors and Windows in NJ

Maintenance of Safety Devices Few things are more expected by a tenant than having a safely secured home or business environment, and few things are more terrifying than becoming aware that this is just not the case. It is the legal responsibility of a landlord to ensure that all exterior doors have proper locks and work well. If there is a common outer door shared by tenants, safety features must be in place to ensure that only invited guests enter the premises, and go where they are invited only. Having malfunctioning elements of a security system such as a buzzer that doesn’t work or worn locks and bolts create a scenario in which a person can break their way in; as such, regular maintenance and checks are necessary. Individual units must be checked regularly, at least at the beginning and end of a tenant’s tenure in the space – and more regularly if the tenant requests it – to ensure that doors, windows, and screens have locks that properly work and have not slipped out of place. A landlord is responsible for reviewing that any security features on doors or windows in accordance with municipal safety regulations, as well as things such as bars on doors and windows, are steadily attached while still ensuring that they are up to fire code, allowing for exit in the case of a fire or other emergency.

Did rental conditions jeopardize your and your family’s safety? Contact our Personal Injury Attorneys for a free confidential consultation at our Trenton office.

If you have been in an accident due to landlord or property management negligence, it’s essential that you have an attorney on your side. To recover damages due to your rental property accident, you’ll need the knowledge and requisite legal experience to successfully correlate your injuries with the negligence of the party responsible for maintaining property safety.

The attorneys at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, have handled numerous cases in successfully representing clients and making sure their rights are protected and guaranteed. Our firm has worked side by side with clients from Burlington, Ewing, Princeton, Willingboro, Mount Holly, and Surrounding places. It will be our pleasure to talk to you during an initial consultation.

Call 609-528-2596 as soon as you are able after an incident to discuss your options and what can be done on your behalf. We can help.

Who can be Liable in a Premises Liability Case?

A property owner can be held responsible for injuries or damages caused to a person on their property.

Who can be Liable in a NJ Premises Liability Case?If you have ever heard of a slip and fall case, say, a 40-year-old woman sliding across a slick supermarket floor where another customer broke a pickle jar open, you probably think that the property owner is in big trouble. They are on the hook for any medical bills and lost wages the woman incurs because of the accident. That may or may not be accurate. Premises liability is not so cut and dried. Under common law rules and statutory laws, a property owner must make sure that no one gets hurt on their property; in other words, no dangerous condition exists on the property that would cause someone to get injured. But it depends on the property owner’s relationship to the person who gets hurt and what type of property to some extent. For instance, a business property owner is far more responsible to those injured because they invite people to their property by simply being open for business. On the other hand, private homeowners are not as obligated to make their property safe for others. And companies and private owners have even less obligation to a trespasser unless the trespasser is a child wandering onto the property.

Who is Liable for Injuries under Premises Liability Law in New Jersey?

The law of premises liability is complex and nuanced. Thus, it is not a matter of commercial property owners are liable to injured customers and residential owners are not. As such, a homeowner who knows about a broken step in their staircase must notify a guest of that danger. Even if they were unaware of the broken step, they may still be liable if the broken staircase is so apparent that anyone could reasonably see that they should repair the broken stair. In addition, if a trespasser enters private property, an owner formerly had no duty to the trespasser for their safety under common law by their status as a trespasser. However, the law gives special consideration to children who enter onto another’s property. At least one Supreme Court case has held a private property owner has some duty of reasonable care for a trespasser’s safety. So, if you have a six-foot deep ditch in your yard where a swimming pool is in construction, you may be liable for injuries to the neighbor’s kid who sneaks in your yard through an open gate and falls in the hole, especially if kids have trespassed in your yard before. Exceptional circumstances aside, however, most injuries occur on business premises, where a business owner is more likely to be responsible for damages to those entering their property.

How do you prove a premises liability claim in NJ?

To successfully sue a property owner for personal injury damages, a plaintiff must prove that a dangerous condition existed on the property that the owner should have reasonably known would probably cause someone injury and that the owner knew of the situation but did nothing about it. And if the property owner is a public entity, then New Jersey’s Tort Claims Act (N.J.S.A. 59-1 et seq.) applies. The Act requires that the injured party plaintiff prove that the public entity could reasonably foresee that the dangerous condition on their property could injure someone, that it did hurt someone, and that they did nothing about the condition despite knowing about or creating the danger.

Thus, a slip and fall liability provides a good illustration. Take the example of the broken pickle jar at the supermarket. A court would look at whether the business owner could have foreseen items on shelves would fall, break, and cause a risk of someone slipping and whether the owner should be liable for such an accident. A skilled attorney well-versed in premises liability law could argue that the supermarket owner should be accountable for their client’s injury. Customers knocking jars over into the aisle is common. A store owner should know that and be vigilant about spills, cleaning the area quickly and posting a visible warning of the danger, like a fluorescent cone marking the spot. In that way, the customer is aware that they should steer clear.

Holding Property Owners Liable for Personal Injury Compensation and Medical Bills in Trenton, NJ

Accidents happen everywhere, but a property owner should compensate you if your injury is their fault. You may have expensive medical bills that the responsible party should pay because they could have prevented your injury. By discussing your situation with a premises liability attorney, you might discover that you have a valid claim against the one who caused you injury. More importantly, your attorney can help you identify who is responsible for your damages. For example, someone other than the people who live at a private residence may own it. Your attorney would have to establish who created the dangerous condition and who, under the rental agreement, is responsible for ensuring that the property is safe.

Personal Injury Compensation in Trenton, NJFor example, a landlord may be responsible for landscaping and structural conditions, like trees, cement foundations, and swimming pools, while the tenant may be responsible for fixing appliances, plumbing, yard gates, and the like. It may matter where you were injured or by what to determine who is responsible. Both the landlord and the renter may be liable, and your attorney will probably advise including both in your personal injury claim. Likewise, a sole owner, a corporation, a partnership, or another business entity may own the location of your injury. In that case, your attorney would help you locate all responsible parties, including a public entity, if you were injured at a school or on government property, for example.

You would have to prove liability based on a different set of laws for a public entity than a private business or residence, so it is essential to know who owns the property where you were injured. Since premises liability injury matters can be complex, you will need guidance from an experienced attorney.

Need to File a Premises Liability Claim in New Jersey? Call KCR today

You are entitled to seek compensation if you were injured on someone else’s property. There are different avenues you can explore, but you do not have to do it on your own. When it comes to personal injury claims we strongly recommend consulting and eventually retaining a law firm that knows how to handle your case in a professional and strategic way.

If you or someone you love suffered injuries from a slip and fall accident or any other injuries suffered because of negligent behavior in towns such as Windsor, Lawrence, Groveville, Lambertville, Princeton, Florence, or Trenton give us at 609-528-2596 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation with the attorneys at Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson.

Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJ

Though businesses and life, in general, are opening up lately, COVID-19 will have long-lasting effects on the courts and all the entities involved in a personal injury claim.

Impact of COVID-19 on Personal Injury Cases in NJIf you’ve been harmed in a car accident, in a slip and fall in a grocery store, or in any other circumstance where some other person or entity caused you injury on their property or anywhere else in New Jersey, you have the right to seek compensation for the medical bills, pain, and suffering that you endure by filing a personal injury claim.

There are some aspects of the courts, insurance companies, and businesses that have changed because of COVID-19, and that you need to be aware of under the unique circumstances. Know what to expect as you pursue your claim.

Is There a Limitation on When I Can File My Claim?

First and foremost, you need to be aware that the clock is ticking. You do not have unlimited time to file your claim.

Every state in the U.S. places a limit on how much time you can take to file a personal injury claim. The law that places this limit is known as a statute of limitations.

New Jersey’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases allows a person injured by a person or an entity two years to file a claim. Generally, the clock on that claim starts ticking on the day of the accident.

Though you may want to wait to collect all the doctor’s bills that accrue because of your injury, you must also keep in mind that if you don’t get your claim filed before two years is up, the courts will probably refuse to put your case on the docket. Your ability to gain compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost wages will, most likely, be lost unless there is an unusual circumstance that the court believes extends the deadline.

Don’t wait to file your claim because of COVID-19.

And don’t wait to file your claim because you feel that you don’t have enough money to pay legal fees. Remember that personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis. They only get paid if the case is won.

My Personal Injury Case

Even during the height of the pandemic, when people mostly stayed home, there were still car accidents and slips and falls at grocery stores. Now that the economy and businesses are opening up, it’s unfortunate but likely that even more of these incidents will occur.

Pandemic or not, if you’ve suffered an injury that is not your fault, there are a few principles that you should follow:

·        Take pictures early on and steadily thereafter.

·        Keep a pain log daily that will document all that you endured.

·        Get a medical evaluation immediately. Go to all your medical appointments.

·        Documentation is key. It greatly improves your odds of getting compensation.

·        Never speak with any person from the insurance company, including adjusters, before speaking to a personal injury lawyer.

How Does the Pandemic Affect My Case?

How Does the Pandemic Affect My Case?Even though restrictions have eased, COVID-19 is still having a profound effect on personal injury claims in four broad areas:

Insurance companies.

They are worried about lower profits because of the pandemic, and they are aggressive in reducing settlements. They may try to take advantage of the fact that people might be more desperate because of lost wages due to the pandemic, and they are likely to low-ball their first offer. People should not just leap at the first offer from an insurer because it probably won’t reimburse them for medical bills, pain and suffering. As both sides dig in, more personal injury cases may wind up before a judge than usual.

Businesses.

Due to COVID-19, more businesses than usual are filing for bankruptcy. This means that compensation you might have been able to gain from them will be reduced to pennies on the dollar.

Courts.

New Jersey courts shut down and moved all proceedings onto technology platforms like Zoom because of COVID-19. Courts in New Jersey began to open up on June 22, 2021, but many hearings and procedures are still being conducted online. This means that personal injury cases might not be settled as quickly as they would in normal circumstances. Most PI cases get settled before trial, but many cases get at least one hearing in court, at least before a settlement is reached. Expect delays in getting your case settled.

Uninsured drivers.

Due to financial hardship during COVID-19, some drivers may have stopped paying for car insurance. This may complicate things for the victim of a car accident since they can’t be compensated by the driver’s insurance company. The victim may need to pursue compensation via the uninsured/underinsured driver policy through their insurer. A victim needs to be mindful that, in this instance, their insurer becomes an adversary and will resist paying. This kind of claim may be highly contested; the help of an attorney may be essential.

Don´t hesitate in contacting our Personal Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

If you feel that you have the potential for a personal injury claim, please call Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson today. Our capable personal injury lawyers can fight for you with the insurance companies trying to take advantage of people in desperate straits because of COVID-19. You will need the guidance of experienced attorneys to get the best possible settlement for you and your family.

You can reach us at 609-528-2596 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.

How Long Will It Take to Get a Settlement Check After A Personal Injury Accident in NJ?

So you agreed to a personal injury settlement, now how long do you have to wait for the payment to actually come?

How Long Will It Take to Get a Settlement Check After A Personal Injury Accident in NJ?

If you or someone close to you were the victim of someone’s negligence or has suffered a traumatic personal injury, there is no doubt some anxiousness about when you can get your settlement check to get the compensation you deserve and move on with rebuilding your life. As you patiently await the finalization of your claim, your bills and related medical expenses may be causing additional stress and uncertainty, and you may be tempted to take the insurance company’s quick settlement offer. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney on your side who can protect your rights, negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf, and help expedite your compensation for losses and your pain and suffering, is invaluable.

The personal injury lawyers at Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson will collect and organize all the available evidence to support your claim, including medical records of your injuries and necessary treatment, an analysis of the circumstances that preceded the event, and any photographic or video documentation of the incident. By constructing a compelling argument on your behalf, we diligently work towards obtaining just compensation for you or your loved one. No matter what personal injury case has negatively impacted you and those you love, costing you time, money, and the intangible emotional and physical trauma of the accident, you can place your trust in our talented team of personal injury lawyers who can help.

Contact our Trenton and Pennington, New Jersey offices at (609) 528-2596 to discuss your case with a member of our personal injury legal team at no cost. As always, we take the majority of cases on contingency. This means, if we don’t win, you don’t pay.

Four Steps You Can Expect Before You Receive Your Princeton, NJ Injury Settlement Check

Before any checks are issued:

  1. The defendant’s insurance company will ask you to sign a release stating you will not seek future legal action against them about this particular personal or accident injury case. This means that the settlement you accept (and decide not to pursue a trial of some kind) needs to fully and fairly cover all of your damages, both present, and future.
  2. Then there is the waiting period in which the insurance company processes the release form, which depending on the amount, can be fairly quick or a longer process intended to wear you down into accepting less than you deserve.
  3. After the insurance company issues a check, your attorney will deposit the check in an escrow or trust account and pay off any existing liens (i.e., child support), creditors, medical provider, or related unpaid expenses.
  4. Later, after the deduction of your legal fees (which may be a percentage of your settlement or an hourly fee plus expenses) and other costs such as for expert witnesses, investigators, depositions, court fees, or taxes, you can expect to receive a settlement check in the mail with a final legal fee statement and a copy of the final settlement agreement; which you signed after settlement negotiations.

Even if the liability seems straightforward, it can take up to six weeks or longer to receive an accident injury settlement check if the case is complex or the insurer tries to delay the process.

At Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson (KCR), our team of personal injury attorneys has both experienced trial attorneys and skilled negotiators who are committed to securing you the maximum compensation you need and deserve, while also remaining attuned to your immediate financial needs and concerns. We fight tirelessly throughout the legal process of your claim, while staying focused on the timeline so that we do everything we can to avoid unanticipated delays in you receiving payment from the negligent party or parties. We are prepared to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf and, if necessary, fight for you in court.

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Mercer County, NJ Personal Injury Settlement Is Delayed

Circumstances differ depending on the unique elements of your case. Although it’s fairly common for delays to occur if you’re waiting to receive your personal injury settlement, there are multiple reasons why this could be taking longer than expected.

It could be something as simple as the other party not signing off on their release form. If an estate or multiple parties are being sued for damages, sorting out the particulars could take longer, as it could require additional preparation or more paperwork.

Here are six (6) common reasons why your personal injury settlement may take longer:

  • legal or factual problems related to the case,
  • dispute determining liability,
  • severity of the injuries,
  • injury victim is still being treated for accident-related injuries,
  • the case involves a large sum of money, or
  • the case is going to trial.

Top 6 Reasons Why Your Mercer County, NJ Personal Injury Settlement Is DelayedSometimes choosing mediation, a less contentious and time-consuming option, might be more appropriate for finding a middle-ground resolution for your accident injury claim. In other situations, the insurer might offer you a pre-litigation settlement to avoid the risk of a large jury-awarded settlement. Either way, to properly prepare for the long haul, consult a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can advise you on what to expect, help navigate delays, and help accurately determine how much you should be seeking in terms of medical expenses, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering.

If you or someone you love has suffered an accident injury, or wrongful death and you suspect that another party is responsible, contact us online or at our offices in Trenton or Pennington at (609) 528-2596 today to schedule a cost-free initial consultation. We also provide representation for injured victims and families in Pennsylvania.

Contact Our Trenton, NJ Accident and Personal Injury Attorneys Today

Whether it’s a personal injury or workers’ compensation-related matter, Kamensky Cohen & Riechelson is here for you. Our accomplished team of attorneys has a proven record of success in helping injured people and their families obtain fair and just compensation for their losses as soon as possible.

We understand the hardships you face – medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, insurance companies that say “no” – and will work with you personally to help you through the legal process. We provide knowledgeable guidance and strong advocacy for clients throughout Mercer, Burlington, Middlesex, and Somerset counties and across all of New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We abide by a contingency model, which essentially means that we work for you for free until you receive compensation.

There are strict time deadlines or statutes of limitations on filing claims, so it is in your best interest to consult with and retain an attorney immediately to file your claim in a timely manner, or you will lose any right to recovery.

Contact us online or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596 today to speak with our legal team regarding your accident, injuries, and how we can help you and your family to recover fully and fairly compensation through a settlement or a trial verdict.

Not All Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in NJ

New Jersey´s workers’ compensation is a “no-fault” insurance scheme that pays for medical care, salary replacement, and long-term disability benefits to employees who are injured or sick on the job.

Not All Injuries are Covered by Workers’ Compensation in NJ Workers’ compensation also pays death benefits to the dependents of workers who died as a result of their work. Regardless of who was to blame, a wounded employee will be compensated. Except in circumstances of deliberate conduct, the worker does not have the right to sue the employer for pain and suffering or other damages in return for these promised benefits.

There is a common misconception that any injury sustained at work must be compensated by workers’ compensation. That, however, is not the case. There are various types of work-related injuries that are just not compensable. Workers’ compensation never includes injuries that are outside of work. An injury must not only occur at work, but it must also not occur outside of work. There are several important principles in every state that assist clarify and expand on the meaning of “not arising out of employment” for catastrophic injuries.

Personal Risk Claims and Idiopathic Claims

These two doctrines have a lot in common. When an employee has a prior medical condition that is the real cause of the damage, the term “idiopathic” is used. An employee with severe osteoarthritis, for example, is going down the hall at work when his knee locks, but he does not collapse. The doctor checks the patient and determines that the act of walking has caused more knee injury due to severe osteoarthritis. Because the injury was totally personal to the employee and not caused by employment, this is a classic idiopathic claim.

Consider an employee who has had previous shoulder dislocation troubles who puts on her coat to go home after work and has a fresh shoulder dislocation. Despite the fact that it occurred at work, it was not caused by it. The petitioner was simply doing what we all do when we leave work on a cold day: putting on our jackets. Shoulder dislocations are considered idiopathic, meaning they are not caused by work-related activities.

Abandonment of Employment

There are two key applications for this theory. The first is an activity that is either unrelated to work or so far removed from it that a reasonable person would never engage in it. For example, a lawyer standing outside his office phones a colleague sitting at his desk on his mobile phone, requesting him to come outside and assist him in carrying work files inside the office. Instead of walking down the stairs or taking the elevator, the colleague opens his window and leaps 20 feet to the ground, fracturing his leg. Jumping from a window is such a dangerous action that no sane person would undertake it. Although the injury occurred at work, it would not be considered a job-related incident. An employer should not be required to insure against acts that are intrinsically risky and that no rational person would engage in.

Intentional Self-Injury

This is a type of self-injury when employees who harm themselves on purpose are nearly invariably refused compensation. If an enraged employee punches a wall at work and breaks her hand, the damage would not be compensable since striking a wall is extremely likely to result in self-harm. Similarly, if Employee A assaults Employee B and is hurt as a result, courts will nearly invariably rule that the injury was self-inflicted and not compensable. Employee B’s injuries would, of course, be covered as an assault victim.

Sports and Recreational Activities

Let’s say an employee chooses to bring out some rope during his morning break, go away from his desk, and jump rope for a few minutes, only to get her foot twisted up in the rope, resulting in an injury. Is this anything that would be covered by workers’ compensation? Isn’t it true that that happened at work? Recreational activities that only benefit the employee’s health are not covered under New Jersey law, thus this would not be compensable. To be covered, a recreational activity must provide a benefit to the employer that is higher than health and morale, and it must be a regular occurrence at work. Few leisure activities can claim to provide a bigger value to the employer than improved health and morale. The same may be said for social activities.

Personal Risk Claims and Idiopathic Claims NJ However, if two employees are joking around at work and one throws a pencil at the other as a joke, but the pencil hits the other employee in the eye, the court would likely see this conduct as horseplay – – not recreational. Horseplay is not a defense in New Jersey, unlike in many other states. Horseplay is always compensable for the victim and occasionally for the initiator. There is a distinction to be made between horseplay and assaults/altercations, and the results may vary depending on whether that distinction is crossed.

Workers’ compensation rules are intended to establish a fair process for getting benefits after being injured or sick at work. These statutes are frequently difficult to comprehend. If you miss a deadline or fail to complete the proper papers, you may be denied the benefits you are entitled to.

Retain our Trenton NJ  Workers Compensation Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, we represent clients with workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in Princeton, Trenton, and the greater Mercer County area. So whether you have yet to decide your next steps fully or are ready to move forward immediately, our knowledgeable team of attorneys is only a phone call away.

You can call us at 609.528.2596 or contact us through our online contact form for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your individual needs and concerns.