FAQ: I was dropping off a package at a client’s office in Cherry Hill, NJ and fell down a flight of stairs because the step was broken. Can I sue?
Answer: Yes, you may sue. The theory of liability in NJ fall accident and injury cases is negligence, i.e., if a dangerous condition causes an individual to fall and sustain injuries, then the injured individual may recover from the responsible party. In this case, the dangerous condition would be the broken step which caused you to fall. Therefore, you may sue for your injuries and damages stemming from your stairway fall accident.
There could be multiple responsible parties:
- the client,
- an outside contractor, and/or
- the landlord/building maintenance company, if the office was rented.
Theory of Liability Against Client
If the client maintains the stairway, then the client would be liable for your injuries. However, you also have to prove that they had notice of the dangerous, broken step. For instance, if they knew that the step was broken a couple of weeks before your fall but failed to fix it, then they had ample notice and will be held liable for your accident.
Theory of Liability Against Outside Contractor
Using the above example except this time, the landlord called an outside contractor to come and fix the step. If the contractor negligently fixed the step which caused you to fall, then the contractor would be liable for your injuries.
Theory of Liability Against Landlord/Building Maintenance Company
If the client rents the office space from a landlord and it is the landlord’s responsibility to fix the broken step, then the landlord may be liable for your injuries.
Again, using the same example above, after the client knew that the step was broken, he called the landlord who sent building maintenance to come fix the step. If the maintenance employee negligently fixed the step that caused you to fall, then the landlord would be liable for your injuries.
NJ Workers’ Compensation Claim
Since you were injured while working, it is important that you report your fall accident to your employer. Per NJ workers’ comp law, you are eligible to receive medical and loss income benefits because you were injured while working. Therefore, your medical expenses would be covered by workers’ comp. If you lost any time from work, you may also receive a portion of your lost wages.
For more information about NJ workers’ comp benefits, see NJ Workers’ Compensation Law – What To Do After A Workplace Injury.
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