WOMAN SUES KMART FOR TRIP AND FALL ON CRACKED SIDEWALK
COURT RULES THAT KMART’S LANDLORD ALSO RESPONSIBLE.
Say you trip and fall on a cracked sidewalk in front of your neighbors’ house. Can you sue your neighbors? In New Jersey, you generally cannot. (There are a few exceptions. For example, you might have a claim against the municipality. So make sure you contact a trip and fall lawyer if this ever happens to you.)
Now say you trip and fall on a defective sidewalk in front of a store. Can you sue the business? In New Jersey, you generally can.
However, in such a case, you may also have a claim against other parties. Specifically, if the store or business is renting the premises, the landlord may also be responsible for the sidewalk defect.
This is important to know. If a trip and fall victim only sues the store itself, the store may not have enough insurance to pay for the victim’s medical damages, loss of income and pain and suffering. Adding the landlord to the lawsuit may thus help the victim gain full compensation for his injuries.
On September 21, 2015, a New Jersey appeals court issued a ruling in a trip and fall case. A woman allegedly tripped on a defective sidewalk next to a Kmart store.
The victim hired a lawyer. The lawyer apparently sued Kmart only.
Kmart itself then sued its landlord. Kmart claimed that, under its lease, the landlord was responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. Therefore, the landlord should have to contribute to any compensation that the victim might be awarded. The landlord denied that it was obligated to maintain the sidewalk.
To decide the issue, the court had to interpret a number of arcane terms in the lease. The court’s final ruling was that the landlord was indeed obligated to contribute to the trip and fall victim’s compensation.
In sum, a trip and fall victim’s attorney should make sure to sue all possible responsible parties. This will maximize the compensation available.
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