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Lawsuit Involving Wal-Mart Clarifies Responsibilities When Worker is Injured

In a case reviewed by the Superior Court of New Jersey in 2013, the court addressed an appeal by Wal-Mart of a lower court opinion that found Wal-Mart responsible for injuries suffered by a worker outside of the grounds of the store. The court disagreed with Wal-Mart and rejected its appeal, finding the retailer liable for injuries sustained by an employee of a subcontractor.

Under New Jersey’s premises liability laws, the owner and any party leasing, managing or maintaining property has a duty to monitor the premises for any conditions that might pose a risk of injury to anyone legally on the premises. Any identified dangers must either be remedied, or persons who might be exposed to them must be reasonably warned.

In the Wal-Mart case, the retailer had hired a company called Eco-Lab to provide pest control services at its store in Princeton, New Jersey. The plaintiff, an employee of Eco-Lab, was assigned the duty of placing rodent traps at strategic points around the store’s perimeter. Wal-Mart specifically required that the plaintiff set the traps by walking around the exterior of the building, which required that he cross property not owned by Wal-Mart. In the course of setting the traps, he slipped and fell on loose gravel and suffered a serious knee injury. He filed suit against Wal-Mart, but did not name the actual owner of the property upon which he suffered his injury.

A jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, and Wal-Mart appealed, contending that it did not have responsibility to monitor and maintain property it did not own. The appeals court affirmed the jury verdict, finding that a property owner may be liable for injuries sustained outside of his or her property if the property owner directed the person to enter other property or knew or had reason to know that the injured party would enter other property

Contact the New Brunswick Personal Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr

At the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr, we have fought for the rights of personal injury victims in central New Jersey for more than four decades. We carefully choose the cases we handle, so that we can provide the highest levels of service and personal attention to each client. We are also happy to take over your case, if your first lawyer does not seem to have your best interests in mind.

To set us a free initial consultation, send us an e-mail or call our office at 732-537-8570.

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