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.

Trips and Slips May Cause Falls with Serious Injuries

Experienced Attorneys Helping Clients on Personal Injury Cases in Hamilton, Trenton, Levittown, Ewing, and across Mercer County Area

Trips and Slips May Cause Falls with Serious InjuriesWe are all exposed to the dangers of trips and slips that can result in serious injuries. An unexpected fall can have a significant impact on our health. Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson has represented many people who have sustained life-altering injuries arising from falls due to the negligence of others. This has become even a greater problem with the downturn in the economy as people and businesses are doing less to maintain their property as required by law and common decency.

While businesses continue to invite you to their stores to shop, and while there, present you with advertising and displays designed to distract you, they are leaving you vulnerable to dangerous conditions when they fail to adequately maintain their property.

Some situations leading to injurious fall-downs that our firm has encountered are:

  1. Improperly constructed/maintained handicap ramps.
  2. Improperly constructed/maintained stairways.
  3. Poor lighting in dark areas.
  4. Holes, deep cracks, potholes and improperly designed walkways in parking lots, especially in high traffic areas where the public may be carrying packages blocking their view.
  5. Poorly maintained sidewalks, stairwells, and walkways in residential rental communities.
  6. Spills in stores
  7. Poor snow and ice removal in residential and commercial parking lots and walkways.

These are only a few of the many problems that are becoming more and more common as businesses and individuals fail to allocate their resources towards safety and precaution in tough economic times.

Trip, Slip, and Falls

Trip, Slip, and FallsKamensky, Cohen & Riechelson has represented people with injuries arising from trip/slip and falls ranging from broken bones to severely impaired vision, and even brain damage resulting in cognitive difficulties. If you fall and hurt yourself, the first thing to do, of course, is to get medical assistance to be certain that your injuries, if any, are properly attended to. If you think your fall may have been the consequence of the negligence of another in maintaining their property properly, you may have a reason to pursue damages for the injuries that you have suffered.

Should I look for legal counsel?

It is extremely important that you contact competent counsel as soon as possible so that photographs and measurements can be taken of the area that caused the problem. Even if you are uncertain of the nature and extent of your injuries, do not delay in seeking legal counsel as a delay in undertaking the proper investigation at the site where you fell can be damaging, if not devastating, to your any claims you may eventually have. If you wait too long and the problem area has been repaired by the time the investigation is conducted, there will be little evidence of the original negligence that precipitated your fall. Photographs and measurements, properly taken will be of great assistance in pursuing your claims should you decide to do so.

Consult our Trenton Personal Injury Staff of Attorneys

Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson knows and will take the necessary steps to conduct a proper investigation as soon as we are contacted for injuries sustained as a result of slip/trip and falls. With the right representation, you are assured of your rights!

Please contact us online or call our Mercer County NJ offices today at (215) 337-4915 for a free and confidential consultation.

Landlords and their Liability for Your Accident Injuries Mercer County, NJ

Whether Tenants can recover Compensation when injured on a Property in New Jersey Towns

Mercer County NJ Premises Liability AttorneysAny time a person is injured on public property or private property, depending on the circumstances of their accident they may be able to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost income, and emotional and physical pain and suffering through a premises liability claim.

However, if the party injured on private property is a tenant of that property, there is an added layer of proof and complication when it comes to potentially holding the landlord of that property liable for their injuries.

If you, as a tenant, have been injured on your property, be it an apartment complex, a commercial property, or a residential development, here is what you need to know about when and how you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries through a premises liability claim.

Mercer County Premises Liability Attorneys and Premises Liability Claims

In general, premises liability claims are filed when there was some kind of unsafe element on the property which caused the injury of another person. Things like uncleared ice or snow, potholes, insufficient lighting, loose flooring, exposed electrical wires, slippery floors, poor security, and many other elements can all cause injury to any person visiting the property.

However, in order for most premises liability claims to be successful, three key elements need to be proven by the injured party and their Mercer County premises liability attorneys. These three critical elements are:

  1. The Injured Party Exercised Reasonable Care – If whatever dangerous element of the property in question was readily apparent or marked as being hazardous, a court may find that the injured party should have exercised reasonable caution and avoided the hazard. However, if it can be proven that the hazard was hidden, this is the first step in securing compensation through a premises liability claim.
  2. The Landlord’s Knowledge of the Hazard – Next, you and your Mercer County premises liability attorney will need to be able to prove that the landlord of the property knew of the hazard, or should have known of the hazard if they were properly performing their duties.
  3. The Landlord’s Duty to Cure the Hazard – Finally, the courts will also examine whether or not the landlord knew or should have known about the hazard which caused injury on their property, and whether or not they took the steps, or were given a reasonable amount of time to take the steps necessary to curing the hazard.

Beyond these key elements, a successful premises liability claim will also require the injured party and their Mercer County premises liability attorney to show a clear link between the hazardous element of the property and how that element caused the injuries of the plaintiff, and further be able to clearly demonstrate the full extent of those injuries.

Tenants Securing Personal Injury Compensation from a Landlord, New Brunswick Premises Liability Lawyers

While these three elements form the basis of most premises liability claims, if the injured party was a tenant of the property where the injury occurred, and not a visitor, several additional elements of proof become necessary in order for the tenant to recover compensation through a premises liability claim.

This added complication is due to the fact that as a tenant, it is assumed that they would have much more knowledge of the property than a visitor, and may even be partially responsible for its maintenance as a part of their contract with the landlord. This means that in addition to the requirements normally associated with premises liability claims, a court will also examine questions such as:

  • Whether or not the tenant knew of the hazard
  • Whether or not the tenant notified the landlord about the hazard
  • Whether or not the tenant had the ability or the duty to repair the hazard in question

So for example, in the case that the tenant knew about the hazard but never notified the landlord about its existence, they may not be able to recover compensation through a premises liability claim. Or, in the case that the tenant had the ability to repair the hazard but did not do so, the court may reduce the landlord’s responsibility, and via comparative negligence laws, the compensation that the injured tenant ultimately receives.

Contact Our Trenton, Hamilton and Princeton NJ Accident and Injury Attorneys Today

At The Law Office of Kamensky, Cohen & Riechelson, our attorneys have been recovering compensation for accident and injury victims in towns across New Jersey including New Brunswick, Trenton, Lawrence, Hamilton, Princeton, and Mercer County since 1972.

Our firm has carefully earned a reputation for success and effective legal counsel among insurance companies, courts, and communities alike across the states of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and we are prepared to put our knowledgeable, effective, and compassionate legal service to work for you today.

If you have been injured on public or private property, or even on the property of your landlord, we are ready to help you recover the financial compensation you need and deserve for your injuries and damages. To speak with our attorney team today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential premises liability claim and how we can help you, please contact us online, or through our Trenton, NJ office at (609) 528-2596.