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What to Do When You Have an Accident on Someone Else’s Property

injury on someoneAccidents that occur on someone else’s property are occasionally the fault of the property owner for allowing a dangerous or defective condition to exist on the property. Premises liability is a legal concept whereby a property owner can be held responsible for damages caused by their failure to keep the property in a safe condition.

While slip and fall cases are the most common type of premises liability claim, they are not the only one. Inadequate lighting in parking lots can pose a risk at night and can expose a premises owner to liability. Additionally, unsafe chemicals or hidden dangers on a property can provide a basis for a premises liability claim.

All of these types of cases share one common factor: the person responsible for the property failed to keep it in a safe condition, and that caused someone to be hurt.

What Should You Do If You Are Injured on Someone Else’s Property?

No matter where you are or what kind of injury you sustain, first get the medical care you need. Go to the emergency room or doctor immediately to begin your care and recovery.

Once you have taken the necessary steps to get medical care, if possible take some pictures of the dangerous property and condition. If there are witnesses, get their names and phone numbers for future contact. You can also ask witnesses to take photos of your surroundings if you are unable to do so yourself.

Attempt to document the cause of your accident, like piled up snow and ice, exposed tree roots, uneven pavement, poor lighting, etc. Property owners are expected to take reasonable measures to detect and fix any dangers on their property. Note the address of your accident, as well as the date, time of day and weather conditions.  Also, take pictures of yourself and the injured body part(s) after the accident. Evidence tends to disappear with the passage of time.  Thus, the more information you can gather and preserve at the outset, the better for a lawsuit or claim later on.

Know the statute of limitations for premises liability lawsuits. In New Jersey, it is generally two (2) years from the date of the accident. It is a good idea to call an experienced personal injury lawyer who will know the specific limitations period and law applicable to your case. The Reinartz Law Firm handles all types of New Jersey premises liability cases and offers free consultations to accident victims.

Three Things NOT to do After an Accident on Someone Else’s Property

Do NOT admit fault to anyone, including the property owner.  Whether it is someone’s private property or a public space like a business, refrain from accepting responsibility for the injuries until you have an opportunity to review all the facts surrounding the accident.

Do NOT sign anything.  In some cases, you may be asked to fill out an accident report of what happened.  Be aware that many of these forms look innocent enough.  However, what you say or write could later be used against you to misconstrue the facts of what occurred or prevent you from seeking compensation for your injuries.

Do NOT assume that you are fine or only have minor injuries. Go to a doctor and tell them about your accident so your doctor can properly document the reason for your visit and examine you for any injuries. Concussions, small fractures and whiplash are some injuries that aren’t always immediately apparent after an accident.

Contact an Attorney

If you have any questions about what to do after an accident on someone else’s property, contact an experienced personal injury law firm like The Reinartz Law Firm in New Jersey. An attorney can give you peace of mind about your rights and how to proceed.