There are thousands of miles of sidewalks in New Jersey that help protect pedestrians. Instead of sharing the road with bicycles and motor vehicles, pedestrians can enjoy separate pathways. Sidewalks make cities accessible for those without vehicles and also for those with disabling medical conditions.
However, sidewalks can also be a reason why someone gets hurt. In many municipalities in New Jersey, property owners, especially businesses that own real estate, may be responsible for certain aspects of sidewalk maintenance throughout the year. The property owners may be the ones with financial and legal responsibility after an accident.
How do sidewalk maintenance mistakes contribute to premises liability claims?
Inadequate snow and ice removal
Once the temperature starts to drop, precipitation can freeze. Property owners and business managers should take great care to melt ice and clear snow that accumulates on their properties, especially on sidewalks. If people slip and fall and it has been some time since the precipitation fell, the property owner could be liable for any injuries that result.
Uneven or crumbling sidewalk
Although it is often the local municipality that initially installs sidewalks, property owners may have to repair or replace sections of cement when damage occurs. Tree roots, frost and soil settling can lead to sections of sidewalk cracking or sitting in an uneven position. Broken or uneven sidewalks could trip someone or lead to someone in a wheelchair rolling out into traffic.
Those hurt by negligence may have the right to hold a property owner responsible. Pursuing a premises liability or slip-and-fall claim could be an option for those hurt because of dangerous sidewalk conditions.