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Rent in New Jersey? What You Need to Know About Premises Liability Law

By Greg Kohn

Renters and landlords could find themselves in legal entanglements in New Jersey if there are injuries on the leased premises because of slip and fall accidents, personal injury claims, and other premises liability cases. If you rent in New Jersey, this blog will explain what you need to know about premises liability law for tenants and landlords.

You do not have to face this situation alone. A New Jersey premises liability attorney could help you navigate these claims and protect your legal rights.

The Landlord’s Obligation Under New Jersey Law

You might think that a landlord’s only duties and a tenant’s only protections are those enumerated in the written lease agreement, but our state requires landlords to keep their rental property decent and safe, even if there is no written lease or there is merely a “bare bones” written form. For purposes of injuries, the property should not have any hazards that could cause a tenant or guest to get hurt.

Some examples of unsafe conditions that could give rise to a premises liability lawsuit if someone gets injured include the following:

  • Inadequate lighting at the entry or on a stairwell.
  • Broken treads or loose handrails at stairs.
  • Debris that can pose a tripping hazard.
  • Fire hazards.
  • Icy or slippery conditions.
  • Substandard flooring that causes a slip- or trip-and-fall accident.

If the landlord knew or should have known about the hazard and failed to take corrective action within a reasonable time, the landlord could be negligent. If a tenant gets injured because of this negligence on the part of the landlord, the tenant might be able to sue the landlord for monetary damages for their injuries and other losses.

Damages in Premises Liability Claims in New Jersey

If successful, the plaintiff could recover financial compensation from the owner of the leased property. Every premises liability case is different, so there is no fixed amount of economic recovery in these claims. The amount of damages a person can win will depend on their unique facts.

Some of the common money damages in premises liability cases in our state include:

  • Medical expenses like the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, doctors, surgery, diagnostic procedures, physical therapy, and prescription drugs.
  • Lost wages during the time when the plaintiff could not work while recuperating from their injuries and medical treatments.
  • Pain and suffering for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the injury.

Some plaintiffs have additional damages like long-term impairment and future lost wages. Severe wounds can change a person’s life, depending on how well the injuries heal.

Pitfalls for Injured Tenants

When a tenant gets injured because of a dangerous condition on the property, they might make an honest mistake that could end up costing them a great deal of money. Here are some of the pitfalls that could decrease the financial compensation you could collect:

  • Accepting the first offer from the landlord’s insurance company. The first offer is usually a lowball amount, far less than the injured person deserves.
  • Signing or agreeing to a settlement without having your own attorney read the terms of the papers. You might sign away more rights than you realize.
  • Assuming that the claims adjuster has your best interests in mind. The claims adjuster works for the insurance company, not you. Their profits depend on settling claims for less than they are worth.

You can talk to a New Jersey personal injury attorney about your premises liability case. We offer a free initial consultation with no obligation. Contact our office today for help with your case.

About the Author
Greg Kohn is a partner at Nagel Rice and specializes in complex civil litigation cases, including professional malpractice, personal injury, class actions, wrongful death, products liability, and commercial litigation.  He has extensive experience representing clients in both state and federal court. Greg has tried many jury trials to verdict and has recovered over $50 million in settlements and verdicts in all types of personal injury matters including automobile accidents, wrongful death cases, slip and falls, and other catastrophic injury cases. Greg also handles medical malpractice cases, involving misdiagnoses, wrongful birth, and delayed cancer diagnosis. If you have questions regarding this article, you can contact Greg here.