Winter weather has arrived in New Jersey. While snow may provide a picturesque backdrop for the holiday season, it also signals the time of year when slip and fall accidents on slippery outdoor walkways, parking lots and sidewalks are most common.
No matter how careful you may be or the winter weather gear you wear, slip and falls can happen to anyone. While such accidents can seem minor, a fall due to wintry conditions can cause serious injuries. In fact, one in five falls causes a serious injury, including broken bones or traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Who is liable?
After a bad fall on private or commercial property, you may immediately fault the property owner. Unfortunately, outdoor slip and fall accidents can be challenging lawsuits to win. The law does not require all property owners to remove snow and ice from their premises. Even if required to do so, property owners are generally only vulnerable to liability if there is unreasonable snow or ice buildup on their property.
Steps to take following an accident
By taking immediate measures after a fall, you can strengthen your case to potentially hold the property owner accountable for the negligence that led to your accident:
- Take photos of the scene. The accident scene may look drastically different even just hours after your fall. Documenting how it looked can preserve the conditions that caused your fall.
- Collect contact information. Firsthand witness accounts of the state of the accident scene can help prove that the accident was not caused by your own behavior or actions.
- Take notes. Take notes of anything you can recall. Doing this while details are fresh can help maintain the order of events. It can also expose key details not conveyed in photographs.
- Retain medical documentation. Seeking medical attention should be a priority after a bad fall. Keep medical records of your visits to the doctor and any treatment or surgery you received.
Don't let the winter weather get you down
A slip or fall on the ice can happen when you least expect it. Maintaining a reasonable amount of vigilance can help avoid a bad fall. However, sometimes such accidents are out of your control. An attorney can assist after a slip and fall results in serious injuries to pursue damages for what you have suffered.