NJ Condo Management Company Not Liable for Sidewalk Slip-and-Fall
Three days after a 27-inch snowfall in 2006, Richard Luchejko slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk outside The Skyline Condominiums in Hoboken, injuring his leg and ankle. He sued the condo’s property management company, the condo’s snow removal company, and the City of Hoboken, seeking compensation for his injuries.
When a Hudson Country superior court judge dismissed his claims against all of the defendants except the snow removal company, Mr. Luchejko appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court, which has previously held that commercial landowners were responsible for injuries to pedestrians on the sidewalks alongside their premises.
However, in a recent decision the state Supreme Court distinguished between residential and commercial property and found that because the condo was a non-profit residential building it was similar to a single family home and that Mr. Luchejko could not maintain his case against the condo management company.
Falls are the leading cause of injury accidents, and account for more than a million injuries each year in the US.
Although slipping is the most common cause for a fall, accidents can also be caused by tripping over a foreign object, catching a foot on a sticky or damaged surface, or tripping in a hole or on an uneven surface.
For a property owner to be legally responsible for a slip-and-fall accident, the owner must have caused the spill, hole, or other dangerous condition that led to the fall or knew about the dangerous surface but did nothing to correct it, or should have known about the dangerous condition because a “reasonable person” should have discovered and remedied the dangerous condition.
A property owner faced with a slip-and-fall claim has two basic defenses:
- The owner may assert that there was no negligence, because the dangerous condition – for example, a spill caused by another customer – occurred only minutes before the accident, and the owner didn’t have time to discover it or clean it up.
- The owner may also claim that the injured person was at fault, and should have noticed the dangerous condition and taken care to avoid slipping.
If you or a family member have been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, contact the New Jersey Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Hasson, P.C. to discuss your options.