New Jersey law requires property owners and occupants to maintain a safe environment for people who visit them. Property owners and occupants who fail to uphold their legal duty face legal liability for harm that comes to visitors. Lawyers refer to this as premises liability, in the sense that owners/occupants have liability for injuries that happen on their premises.
If you, your child, or another loved one has suffered injuries in an Atlantic City premises liability incident, then you may have the right to take legal action seeking substantial compensation. Contact one of the Atlantic City premises liability lawyers at The Levin Firm today online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free consultation.
Our Atlantic City Premises Liability Law Practice
Since 2005, The Levin Firm has represented South Jersey residents, workers, and visitors in lawsuits seeking compensation for personal injuries. A core focus of our practice has always included pursuing payment for clients who suffered injuries in preventable incidents on someone else’s property.
Our team has the experience and know-how to obtain maximum compensation for victims of premises liability injuries in Atlantic City, including especially people who have suffered serious harm at one of AC’s many hotels, casinos, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Read our testimonials page to see what our clients have to say about our commitment to serving their interests and getting them the money they need and deserve.
Visitor Status in New Jersey Premises Liability Claims
Although property owners/occupants generally must maintain a safe environment for visitors, their exact duties towards an individual who comes onto their property hinges on the degree of permission the person has to be there. New Jersey, like most states, groups visitors into three categories of legal status that affects the level of duty an owner/occupant has to keep them safe.
Under New Jersey law, an invitee is someone who has permission to enter a property and remain on the premises for the benefit of the owner or occupant by express or implied invitation. Examples of invitees are movie-theater patrons, shoppers at the mall, diners at a restaurant, and guests at Atlantic City casinos. Property owners and occupants have a legal duty to care for an invitee's safety, to take steps to fix known hazards or dangerous conditions, and to warn invitees of any known dangers on their property.
New Jersey defines a licensee as a person who has the consent of a property owner to enter or remain on their land for a purpose other than the owner/occupant’s principal benefit. Examples of licensees can include salespeople, social/party guests, political canvassers, people who enter a building to get out of the rain, people searching for pets who have wandered into someone else’s backyard, and utility workers.
Property owners have a legal obligation to abstain from intentionally harming licensees and must warn them of known hazards that the licensee might not recognize.
Trespassers are people who enter or remain on a property without the owner/occupant's express or implied permission. Property owners and occupants only must refrain from doing willful harm to trespassers. They have no other legal duty to keep a trespasser safe unless the trespasser is a child. Property owners do not face automatic liability for injuries to child trespassers.
However, if what New Jersey law calls an artificial condition exists on a property that might attract a child to play on or around it, then New Jersey law holds property owners liable for injuries a child trespasser sustains if:
- The owner knows children will likely trespass, and
- The owner knows or should know, that the condition is dangerous for children, and
- The child(ren) do not discover the condition, realize risks of trespassing or engaging with the condition, and
- The burden of eliminating the danger is comparatively slight to the risk it poses to children, and
- The owner fails to take reasonable measures to eliminate the danger and protect children.
Common examples of an artificial condition include swimming pools, playground equipment, heavy machinery, and piles of dirt or construction materials. Contact The Levin Firm right away if your child suffered an injury because of an artificial condition at an Atlantic City property.
Premises Liability Claims Stem From a Variety of Incidents
People can suffer injuries that lead to an Atlantic City premises liability lawsuit in a wide variety of scenarios. Here are some of the most common situations that cause injuries to a visitor on someone else’s property:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Unintentional falls are the most common type of premises liability event. Lawyers refer to these incidents as slip and falls, although they encompass any series of events that lead to someone falling and getting hurt, whether that means slipping, tripping, losing balance, or making a misstep. (In other words, you might have a slip and fall case even if you did not technically slip.) Our firm helps people who fell and got hurt at an Atlantic City property, no matter what caused the fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20 percent of falls lead to severe injuries, which can include complex fractures, spinal cord damage, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Young children and older adults who sometimes struggle with balance face high risks of harmful falls.
The CDC also estimates that about 3,000,000 people receive emergency room treatment for fall-related injuries across the United States each year, including 800,000 hospital stays for at least one day.
Numerous dangerous conditions and hazards can lead to a dangerous slip and fall accident, including:
- Structures with worn, weak, or rotted floor coverings, handrails, and stairs
- Uncleared snow, ice, or trash from parking lots, storefronts, sidewalks, and driveways
- Falling items and debris from building sites
- Spillage and use of wet items like water, floor cleaners, floor wax, food, oil, and vehicle fluids
- Spillage and use of dry products such as soil, sand, dirt, sawdust, grains, and powders
- Uneven and poorly maintained boardwalks, sidewalks, trails, and other walking paths
If you visited a commercial or residential property in Atlantic City and suffered any kind of injury in a preventable fall, then contact The Levin Firm right away. Chances are you have rights to substantial compensation.
Elevator and Escalator Accidents
Atlantic City is chock-full of hotels and high rises containing elevators and escalators. We tend to think of these building features as welcome conveniences, which they are so long as property owners maintain them properly. Unfortunately, not all property owners and occupants in AC spend the time and money necessary to keep elevators and escalators in safe working condition.
Visitors who use under-maintained elevators and escalators unwittingly face extreme risk of serious, even fatal, injury if, for example:
- Escalators suddenly stop or lurch;
- Elevators suddenly drop;
- Elevator doors do not open or open between floors;
- Elevator doors open into an empty elevator shaft; or
- Escalators trap riders’ fingers, feet, or belongings.
Atlantic City property owners and occupants have no excuse for allowing the public to use an unsafe elevator or escalator. Contact The Levin Firm immediately if you or a loved one suffered an injury on one.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Summer in Atlantic City means enjoying time at the beach and the pool to escape the heat and soak up some rays. Yet, hotels, water parks, and other businesses that operate pools put swimmers – especially children – at risk for injury or death if they fail to maintain and monitor their pools safely.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), about 150 children under age 14 drown across the United States in swimming pools each year between Memorial Day and Labor Day; and that tragic toll does not even include non-fatal pool injuries or harm to adults around pools.
To keep swimmers and sunbathers safe, owners and occupants of properties that feature swimming pools should:
- Inspect and maintain all pool features, including ladders, handrails, steps, pumps, filters, diving boards, and slides;
- Clean, maintain, and fix concrete and tiles in and around a pool;
- Limit the number of people using a pool to reduce risks of crowding;
- Install fences or walls around a pool to keep small children away at odd hours; and
- Make lifesaving equipment readily available, with or without the presence of a lifeguard.
The Levin Firm holds property owners and occupants accountable for failing to keep swimmers safe around Atlantic City pools. Contact us today.
Inadequate Building Security
Atlantic City caters to tourists, and most visit its casinos, venues, and boardwalk without incident. Still, tourist-heavy destinations also unfortunately serve as a magnet for criminals. Thieves and predators sometimes hide among the City's beachgoers and gamblers, looking to take advantage of a distracted, inebriated, or careless visitor.
No one can prevent crime altogether, of course. However, owners and occupants of Atlantic City properties do have an obligation to take reasonable steps to keep visitors safe from criminal activity. Each property differs, so what may constitute adequate security measures varies.
However, some of the steps owners/occupants may need to take to keep themselves free of liability include:
- Poor lighting in parking garages, parking lots, and other areas;
- Improper locks on hotel doors or apartment doors;
- Improper security alarms;
- Failure to monitor security cameras; and
- Poor hiring and training practices of security personnel.
If you fell victim to a crime while visiting Atlantic City, and it happened on someone else’s property, then call The Levin Firm today to explore your legal rights.
Many hazardous conditions, substances, and scenarios cause deadly fires and explosions. Some examples include electrical shorts, lit cigars and cigarettes, and flammable substances. A New Jersey court might hold a property owner or occupant liable for injuries from a fire or explosion that occurred because of the owner/occupant’s negligence. At a minimum, property owners and occupants in Atlantic City must maintain their premises in accordance with local fire regulations, and must operate their premises in a manner that does not create an unreasonable risk of fire or explosion that could harm visitors.
Contact The Levin Firm right away if you or a loved one suffered a burn injury in an Atlantic City fire or explosion.
Seeking Damages in Atlantic City Premises Liability Cases
Victims of a preventable injury at an Atlantic City commercial or residential property may have the right under New Jersey law to take legal action seeking compensation from property owners or occupants to pay for:
- Medical treatment costs including ambulance and emergency response services, emergency room visit, hospitalization, surgery, x-rays, followup visits, and travel to and from the hospital and doctor
- Estimated future medical expenses when a premises liability accident leads to a severe injury requiring extensive recovery or a permanent condition or disability requiring ongoing care and treatment
- Lost wages when injuries force someone to use all their paid time off and miss a significant amount of work, sometimes months
- Estimated future lost wages when a premises liability accident leads to a catastrophic injury that prevents one from returning to work or seeking gainful employment in the future
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Reduced quality of life
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Punitive damages when injuries occur as a result of intentional harm or gross negligence
New Jersey law also permits the survivors of a person who tragically dies in an Atlantic City premises liability incident to take legal action for wrongful death. Speak to the experienced attorneys at The Levin Firm today to learn about your and your family’s rights to compensation after a tragedy in Atlantic City.
Atlantic City Premises Liability FAQ
Something is happening in Atlantic City at all hours of the day or night, and the commercial offerings in this area are second to none. However, there is something that every business owner has in common, regardless of the type of service they provide. Each one of them, along with governmental agencies and private property owners, are required to ensure that their guests are safe from hazardous property features.
If you were injured due to a hazard on public, private, or commercial property, here are some answers to the questions our Atlantic City clients ask most frequently about premises liability.
What is premises liability in Atlantic City?
Premises liability is an area of the law that falls under the umbrella of personal injury. The concept behind this area of the law is that property owners have a duty to protect their guests from hazardous features by promptly repairing or remedying these hazards or making their guests aware of the hazard through the placement of warning signs. Failing to mitigate the hazard can cause the property owner to be liable for the injuries their guests incur.
How do I prove that an Atlantic City property owner is liable for my injuries?
To prove that a property owner is liable for your injuries, you must establish the following elements:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care as an invited social or business guest to the property. This duty of care included ensuring that the property was free from hazards that he or she knew about or should have reasonably discovered through routine inspection of the property.
- There was a breach in this duty of care. A hazard existed that was neither repaired nor otherwise mitigated and the property owner failed to warn you of the hazard.
- This breach resulted in the accident which caused your injuries and subsequent expenses and impacts on your life.
What are the damages I can recover through an Atlantic City premises liability lawsuit?
New Jersey allows those who were injured as a result of the reckless or careless actions of someone else to recover both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are out-of-pocket expenses you have paid as a result of your injury.
Economic damages include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- The cost of household services that you previously performed but no longer can as a result of your injury
- Property damage relating to the hazard
Non-economic damages relate to the impacts that being injured has had on your life, and include such things as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
- Public humiliation
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage collected on behalf of the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that often occurs after a serious injury.
What are the types of accidents involved in Atlantic City premises liability lawsuits?
Several types of accidents can constitute premises liability, including:
- Slip and fall/ trip and fall: Falls account for more than 8 million emergency department visits each year in the U.S. More than 2 million fall injuries each year occur as the result of worn or damaged flooring materials. Other causes of falls include floors that are wet or freshly waxed; obstacles or debris in walkways; poorly lit areas, particularly staircases; potholes in parking lots; broken or damaged sidewalks; or poorly maintained or improperly constructed staircases.
- Negligent security: Property owners have the duty to protect their guests not only from property hazards, but from dangerous or criminal actions, as well. Some of the ways this is accomplished is through providing security guards for parking lots located in dangerous areas; security personnel that patrols places of business, such as casinos, to prevent assaults, robberies, and other criminal actions; the use of surveillance cameras; the provision of locking doors for apartment units or hotel rooms; and the provision of police officers or security guards at schools to prevent bullying or other violent actions that could result in an injured teacher or student.
- Swimming pool accidents: Unintentional drowning is the fifth leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. Public and private swimming pool owners are required to take reasonable precautions to safeguard children and others from drowning by providing safety measures such as a fenced enclosure around the pool and a lifeguard on duty or a warning sign that there is no lifeguard available. Drowning isn’t the only cause of swimming pool accidents that could result in premises liability, however. Other swimming pool hazards include damaged electrical systems that can lead to electrocution; improperly maintained filters and drains that can cause disembowelment; and slip and fall accidents that result from slippery surfaces near the pool.
- Elevator and escalator accidents: A 25-year-old man was killed in Atlantic City recently when the elevator he was attempting to fix began moving as he was working on it. The elevator was located in a 15-story building that contains 150 apartments for elderly and disabled adults. A resident of the building noted that the elevators have had problems for at least six years and that the property manager had been saying that they would be fixed for quite some time. Property owners who have elevators and escalators on their property must regularly maintain them and ensure that they are in proper working order for visitors and residents.
- Dog bites: Dog owners are required to protect visitors from being bitten by their dog. This includes ensuring that dogs who are known to be aggressive are kept appropriately kenneled or muzzled when there are guests, placing warning signs on the enclosure where a dangerous dog is located, and making sure that the dog is not off the property without a leash.
- Fires: While not all building fires can be avoided, property owners are required to take measures to ensure that their electrical systems are up to code and that their property is outfitted with smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and—in some cases—sprinkler systems that can quickly extinguish the fire so that it does not cause injury to guests.
I was injured in a city park. Can I file an Atlantic City premises liability claim against the city government?
Yes, but speak to an attorney about your case as soon as possible, as claims against governmental agencies in New Jersey have very short time limits. The statute of limitations in claims against the state government is only 90 days after the accident occurred.
If someone is injured while trespassing, can they file an Atlantic City premises liability claim?
Not usually. The duty of care owed to a trespasser by a property owner is minimal: the property owner must not set a trap or otherwise intentionally cause injury to a trespasser. However, the property owner does not have the duty to remedy property hazards to keep trespassers safe and usually will not be liable for injuries suffered by an individual who entered their property without permission.
What defenses does an Atlantic City property owner have against a premises liability claim?
There are a few common defenses used by property owners to avoid liability for injuries caused to their guests.
- The hazard was open and obvious: The open and obvious doctrine—which is practiced in New Jersey—states that a property owner is not required to warn guests of dangerous conditions that were open and obvious and should have been noticed by the guest.
- The claimant assumed risk: Many businesses—such as trampoline parks and public swimming pools—require individuals to sign a document stating that they assume all risk of the known hazards associated with the activity being offered. Even those who don’t require guests to sign a liability waiver will often use this defense, noting that the guest should have understood the hazards involved in participating in the activity.
- The claimant was liable for the accident that caused his or her own injury: Insurance companies who provide policies to property owners often attempt to reduce or remove liability by stating that the claimant was responsible for his or her own injury. Common claims along this vein include stating that the injured person fell because he or she was wearing the wrong shoes, or he or she was distracted by a cell phone and not paying attention.
One of the many benefits of having an experienced premises liability lawyer at the Levin Firm to assist you with the recovery of damages is that they have heard these defenses before, along with many others, and know-how to counter them.
I was offered a quick settlement by the Atlantic City property owner’s insurer. Should I accept it?
Never accept a settlement offer without first speaking to an attorney who can properly value your case. The reason for this is that insurance companies are in the business to make money. Part of making money is avoiding large payouts for injuries caused by their insured.
Most quick settlement offers are ridiculously low, as they do not represent the full picture of the injury, the expenses it will result in, or the impacts it will cause to the injured person’s life. These settlements are simply thrown out there in the hopes that the injured person will be lured by the money offered and the opportunity to be done with the case.
However, settlements are a one-shot deal. If you fail to demand enough money to cover your expenses, you cannot go back to the insurer after you settle the case and ask for more, and you could pay for thousands of dollars of expenses out-of-pocket.
I was injured as a result of a dangerous condition on my job site. Can I file an Atlantic City premises liability claim?
Generally, workplace injuries are compensated through a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are some exceptions and premises liability is one of the areas where exceptions exist. The property owner is responsible for ensuring that the property is free from hazards, whether the property owner is your employer or is someone who is having work performed on his or her property.
The property owner is responsible for injuries caused by hazards he or she knew about or should have known about to an individual on the property working as a business guest.
What if an Atlantic City premises liability property owner doesn’t have insurance? Can I still file a claim?
Insurance is one of the most critical factors involved in premises liability claims, as it is how most premises liability settlements and awards are paid. While it is possible to file a lawsuit against an uninsured property owner and to even obtain a judgment against that property owner, it will likely be very difficult to collect your award as most people don’t have the financial ability to cover the costs associated with an injury out-of-pocket.
Your attorney needs to know about this so he or she can help you explore legal options for obtaining compensation.
Do I need an attorney to file an Atlantic City premises liability lawsuit?
Yes, you need an attorney with experience in premises liability cases to assist you with recovering damages related to your accident. Complex premises liability cases require extensive knowledge of property law, as well as knowledge of the medical issues and emotional impacts that those who were injured because of a hazardous property.
Your attorney can provide valuable services, including determination of liable parties; the timely filing of court required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction; skilled negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance provider; an accurate valuation of your case; litigation in court; and assistance with collecting your settlement or award.
If you were injured as a result of a dangerous property condition in Atlantic City, let us help you make sense of your legal options. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at the Levin Firm today.
Your Atlantic City Premises Liability Lawyers
People who suffer injuries as a result of an unreasonably dangerous condition at an Atlantic City residential or commercial property deserve compensation. The skilled legal team at The Levin Firm understands the challenges you face in the wake of a serious injury, and we are here to help.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in Atlantic City while visiting a residential or commercial property, contact us online or at (215) 825-5183 for a free case evaluation.
The Levin Firm | Atlantic City Office
2 Convention Blvd, Atlantic City, NJ 08401