Slip and fall accidents can happen at any time of year; however, specific outdoor slip and falls increase in the summer. Weather-related hazards and outdoor recreation pursuits contributes to the problem.
When someone is injured in a slip and fall accident, the injured person may have a case against the owner of the property. Determining liability can be tricky, so it is advisable to contact a lawyer immediately after a slip and fall.
Why are Rainstorms Dangerous in the Summer Months?
Summer weather conditions can present hazards that are just as dangerous as wintertime. Summer weather means that sudden rain showers can contribute to slippery conditions, making walking surfaces dangerous, especially for people who are running for cover from the unexpected rain. While the property owner is not responsible for the rainstorm, he or she may be held liable for the improper use of building materials on walking surfaces, such as wood, tile, or stone that becomes slippery when wet.
What Recreational Activities Cause Slip and Falls?
Certain recreation activities, such as swimming and boating, involve water and wet surfaces. People tracking water with their wet feet can create a slippery surface on surrounding decks or walkways. Businesses that cater to these recreationalists have a duty to keep their premises free from slip and fall hazards. If a property owner fails to maintain the property, the injured party may be able to pursue a premises liability lawsuit.
Puddles and wet poolside tiles pose risks for swimmers, this is why swimming pool accidents are common in summer. Pool bathrooms and dressing rooms can have wet floors because of swimmers using the facilities, increasing the risk for a slip and fall. Diving boards and pool slides can be sites for accidents if they are not properly constructed and maintained.
Dry rotted decks or stairs cause many injuries and accidents each year. Boat ramps and other entry points may be covered in algae or other organisms that cause surfaces to become dangerously slippery.
Outdoor Summer Safety Issues
Another cause for slip and falls in the summer has to do with the fact that people tend to spend more time outdoors during the warm weather months. As warm weather brings people outdoors, people are presented with various tripping hazards, such as uneven trails or tree roots. Flip-flops and sandals are more common in summer too, creating dangerous situations.
People watering their lawns or washing their cars can create slippery walkways that can cause problems for people on or near the property. Seasonal toys, sporting equipment, and gardening tools can present tripping hazards as well.
How Can Summer Hazards be Prevented?
Property owners should stay vigilant about safety issues, like providing sufficient outdoor lighting, installing handrails where necessary, maintaining parking lots and walkways, and removing debris that can cause falls. Property owners should also be careful to adequately mark areas of concern to provide warnings if the conditions cannot be immediately addressed. Warning signs can help prevent accidents from happening.
When is a Property Owner Considered Negligent?
People who have been injured in a slip and fall accident may have a case against the property owner for negligence. A personal injury claim can be filed in order to collect damages. This lawsuit would need to be filed within two years after the incident. In order to be successful, the injured party would have to prove that the property owner did not take reasonable precautions to prevent the accident from happening.
It is likely that the property owner will refute your claim and attempt to present evidence that you were at least partially responsible for your accident. A property owner can argue that the unsafe condition should have been obvious enough to be avoided by the injured party. If the hazard was indicated by caution tape, cones, or signage, the property owner can claim that you were partially responsible for your accident.
What is Comparative Negligence?
If the property owner can convince the court that at least some of the blame for the accident lies with the injured party, the concept of comparative negligence comes into play. In New Jersey, comparative negligence establishes that the damages in a personal injury case can be adjusted to fit the percentage of fault. In other words, the court must determine a percentage of fault to each side and use that to figure out what amount the injured party may receive in damages. For example, a person with injuries that led to $20,000 in damages may be told by the court that he or she is 25 percent liable for his or her accident. In this case, the property owner would be responsible for the other 75 percent of the damages, or $15,000.
According to the law, the percentage of liability will affect the ability to collect damages. If the injured person’s liability exceeds 50 percent, he or she will not be able to collect damages from the property owner.
Should I Seek Legal Counsel?
Damages that can be collected as part of a personal injury case include medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, as well as other damages. Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious and catastrophic injuries that are costly. This is why it is important to obtain legal representation immediately. A determined lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and help you obtain compensation for your injuries.
Passaic Slip and Fall Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Assist Those Injured in Summer Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall injuries are some of the most common personal injury claims. Our experienced Passaic slip and fall lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr help their clients collect damages for injuries. Contact us online or call us at 732-249-4600 for a free consultation. Located in Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.