March Is Often the Most Dangerous Time of Year
The deep of winter is just about over. You can feel the temperatures starting to climb just a little. You might even think of putting away your winter boots. But don’t count on putting winter behind you just yet. Many of the heaviest snows of the year come in late February, March, and even early April, when temperature fluctuations create optimal conditions for precipitation. The temperature can rise well above freezing, causing a massive melt, only to be followed by a cold snap that turns everything into a sheet of ice.
In New Jersey, owners of residential and commercial property have a duty to reasonably monitor and maintain the premises so as to minimize risk of injury to visitors on the property. The duty is not absolute; it requires only that the owner (or other person with control over the property) act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
When snowfall is unexpected, or uncharacteristically heavy, it may not be reasonable to expect a property owner to keep sidewalks, steps, and other thoroughfares clean. However, in a state like New Jersey, where snow is common and late winter weather is variable, it may be reasonable fora property owner to anticipate dangerous conditions and take appropriate measures to minimizethe risk of injury. For example, property owners might reasonably be expected to apply salt to sidewalks and other places where people walk in order to prevent melting snow from freezing at night.
Another common occurrence in sloppy late-winter weather is snow getting tracked into a building and melting on the floor, creating a slip hazard. It may be reasonable for a property owner to anticipate that will happen and take appropriate measures, such as placement of mats at entrances and regular cleanup of wet floors.
Contact Attorney Howard N. Sobel
At the office of Howard N. Sobel, we work closely with people who have questions or concerns about potential personal injury claims. Contact our office online or call us at 856-424-6400 to set up a free initial consultation (on selected cases). Evening and weekend appointments can be arranged upon request. We accept all major credit cards.
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