Just about everyone knows that, if you slip and fall on private premises (such as a supermarket or movie theater) due to unsafe conditions, you can bring a lawsuit against the owner of the premises to try to recover compensation for your injuries. But do the same rules apply to the government? Can you sue the post office or a county building in a slip and fall case, for example?
The New Jersey legislature passed a statute that governs liability for intentional or negligent torts. This statute is called the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (NJTCA).
There is a section of the NJTCA that clarifies when a court can hold public entities liable in a premises liability lawsuit. Under the statute, your attorney must prove that there was a dangerous condition that a public employee caused, or that the public employees had constructive notice of the danger. Constructive notice means that they either knew about the danger, or should have known about the danger, but failed to do anything to correct it.
Proving a dangerous condition
In order to be successful in a premises liability action, your attorney will have to prove the existence of a dangerous condition. A premises liability case before the New Jersey Supreme Court clarified this requirement.
You stand a good chance of being successful in your suit if your attorney can prove that the dangerous condition existed, that it was a danger to everyone, and that you didn’t cause your injury yourself through your own negligence or recklessness.
Suffering injuries from a slip and fall accident can change your life for the worse. It can be comforting to know that you have the option of seeking compensation for your medical bills and other costs, even if your fall occurred on public premises instead of in a private business.