For nearly 50 years, Levin & Malkin has been protecting innocent New Jersey victims from injuries caused by the negligence of others. One common accident we handle is slip and falls on poorly maintained sidewalks. If you have been seriously injured by falling on a raised, cracked, or otherwise uneven sidewalk, you may be entitled to substantial compensation. If your sidewalk fall has occurred in New Jersey, however, you will need a skilled personal injury attorney because the state laws concerning such accidents are more varied and complicated than in many other states.
Without experienced legal representation, you may not be able to collect any damages at all. Contacting the talented lawyers at Levin & Malkin, where we have a proven record of successful outcomes even in difficult cases, is the best way to protect your right to just compensation.
What Levin & Malkin Will Do to Help
Our wide-ranging experience dealing with individuals, commercial enterprises, insurance companies, and government entities as adversaries will give you the edge you need during negotiations and litigation. Our attorneys are well-prepared to:
- Listen carefully to your account of the event
- Investigate and photograph the site of the accident
- Examine any police, ambulance, and medical records
- Interview witnesses
- Confer with any necessary medical or other experts
Once you become our client, we will dedicate ourselves to fighting aggressively for your best interests and we will charge you no attorneys’ fees until we win your case.
Reasons Sidewalks May Be Hazardous
Sidewalks are typically made of concrete slabs. In some cases, they may have been constructed poorly to begin with, but more frequently they become dangerous to pedestrians because:
- Concrete has deteriorated over time, crumbling, breaking, or become pitted
- Tree roots have raised slabs, resulting in an uneven surface
- Ice and snow have made them slippery or caused further deterioration
- Pieces of concrete have broken off, leaving crevices and holes
- Debris, dirt, or construction materials have made safe passage impossible
- Puddles or flooding have resulted from defective sprinklers or poor drainage
- A slippery substance has spilled and not been properly cleared away
As you may have discovered, a fall on an unyielding concrete surface is inherently serious. You or a loved one may have suffered a serious, severe, or even catastrophic injury requiring urgent intervention, hospitalization, surgery, or long-term care. A sidewalk slip and fall may even result in a wrongful death.
Types of Injuries Suffered by Victims of Falls on an Uneven Sidewalk
Depending on which part of your body is directly impacted by your sidewalk fall, you may suffer one or more of the following:
- Fracture of the wrist, ankle, knee, hip, elbow, or shoulder
- Facial injury, such as a broken nose
- Herniated disc
- Head or neck injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Neuromuscular damage
It is important to note that, in addition to physical harm, you will no doubt endure emotional trauma at the time of the accident and in its aftermath, and that your incapacitation, whether temporary, long-term or permanent, will take its toll on your finances and your family.
Who is Responsible for Your New Jersey Uneven Sidewalk Injury?
This is where things become challenging. In any state, you must prove that another’s proven negligence caused your fall (e.g. not a pre-existing medical condition). In New Jersey, much will depend on who owns the sidewalk on which you fell. The following facts make verdicts and settlements harder to come by after New Jersey sidewalk accidents.
- While commercial property owners must maintain the public sidewalk, keeping it clear of all defects and hazards, including snow and ice, residential property owners are not responsible for maintaining and repairing sidewalks. Even if a particular municipality stipulates that private citizens must clear their sidewalks of ice and snow, and is permitted to fine them if they fail, the property owners are not held liable if you fall on a sidewalk in front of a private home. Therefore, in most cases, you will not be able to sue an individual.
There is, however, an exception to this rule. If the residential property owner has caused the damage to the sidewalk that has resulted in the fall, that owner can be held liable. For example, if the roots that lifted the sidewalk were the roots of a tree planted by the homeowner, the owner would be considered legally negligent.
- Government property owned by cities and towns is protected by the Tort Claims Act and requires that a special claim notice be filed within 90 days. Additional defenses available to public entities make such cases even more complex.
- Charitable property, schools, and churches are protected by “charitable immunity.” Unless their failure to maintain their sidewalks is deemed to be “gross negligence,” these entities will be protected by tort law.
The complex laws surrounding liability for sidewalk slip and falls on New Jersey sidewalks, and the possible need to file a claim quickly, make it imperative that you engage the services of the sharp premises liability attorneys at Levin & Malkin as soon as possible.
Contact Us to Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Uneven Sidewalk Case
Our slip and fall attorneys are well aware of the financial woes you may be enduring in addition to your physical problems. We will leverage our well-honed skills and extensive experience to fight for the damages you need — medical and rehabilitation costs, lost income, replacement services, pain and suffering, and possible permanent disability. Our goal is to take care of you and your family now and to provide you with the secure future you deserve. Contact our Hackensack uneven sidewalk accident attorney today for a free consultation.