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What You Need To Know About Premises Liability in New Jersey

If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may be considering filing a personal injury lawsuit. If that injury occurred on someone else’s property, you may file a “premises liability” claim. Learn what you need to know about premises liability in New Jersey.

Definition of Premises Liability

Premises liability deals with injuries on someone else’s property due to dangerous conditions. Business owners, landlords, and homeowners have a legal responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors. When they do not, a court can hold them liable for any injuries, damages, and other losses that occur to others.

Common categories of premises liability cases include the following.

  • Slips, trips, and falls: The prevailing type of premise liability accident, these cases include falling down broken stairs, slipping on wet floors, or tripping over torn carpets, loose tile, or other debris.
  • Inadequate security: Property owners may have a duty to provide security — especially if someone has already been injured on the premises by violent or criminal activity.
  • Dog bites: Owners are strictly liable for dog bite injuries in New Jersey, even if their pet didn’t have a history of aggression.
  • Child injuries: Property owners should ensure that their properties are reasonably safe for children.

New Jersey Premises Liability Laws

new jersey in map

To qualify for compensation, premises liability in New Jersey requires you to prove the following four elements:

  1. Duty of care: The property owner had a duty to prevent your injuries.
  2. Breach of duty: The owner (or someone else in control of the property) failed to maintain reasonably safe conditions.
  3. Causation: The breach of duty caused your injury.
  4. Damages: The accident caused you physical injury or property damage.

Sometimes a safety hazard exists, but it is not the property owner’s fault. For that reason, premises liability claims also require you to prove the property owner did one of the following:

  • Created the hazard
  • Failed to inspect the property to find the hazard
  • Didn’t remove or repair the hazard
  • Neglected to warn visitors about the hazard

Classification of Visitors

How do you know if the property owner owed you a duty of care? The answer hinges on your relationship with them. Your legal degree of protection depends partly on which of the following categories you belong to.


The law extends the highest duty of care to invitees. Also called business invitees, these visitors include customers shopping at a business, patrons eating at a restaurant, fans at a professional sporting event, or patients at a healthcare facility. The New Jersey Supreme Court has stated that the standard of care requires landowners to inspect their property to ensure safe conditions for invitees.


If you are on the property for a personal or social reason (with no business purpose), the law considers you a “licensee.” In this case, property owners must warn you of dangerous conditions they knew about or should have known about.


Injured parties hurt while trespassing are unlikely to win lawsuits. If you are on the premises without the owner’s permission, they typically have no duty to protect you. There are some exceptions, however, such as child injuries that occur because of an attractive nuisance (like water features or construction materials) on the property.

Role of Insurance in Premises Liability

umbrella on miniature people car and house insurance concept

Individuals and organizations that rent or own property can seek premises liability insurance coverage. It is often included in homeowner’s insurance policies and commercial general liability insurance policies. Even if the accident is not the property owner’s fault, premises liability insurance can cover their legal costs.

When the homeowner or business is liable for the accident, their insurance company may pay the victim for personal injuries and property damage. Homeowner policies often carry from $100,000 to $500,000 in personal liability protection, while companies may have general liability coverage of $1 million.

However, insurance policies don’t cover all types of accidents. The insurer may argue that you were responsible for your injuries. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you defend yourself against negligence claims. Even if you were partly to blame, you may still qualify for compensation.

Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability in New Jersey

As an injured person, New Jersey gives you two years to file a claim. However, if your injury occurred on public property, you must file a “notice of claim” within 90 days of your accident. For damage to personal property in New Jersey, the statute of limitations is six years.

There are limited exceptions for minors, mentally incompetent people, or injured parties who didn’t discover their injury (or its cause) until later. In the majority of cases, if you fail to meet the filing deadline, you forfeit your right to seek compensation. A premises liability attorney can help you understand the statute of limitations in your case.

Compensation for Premises Liability Claims

In any New Jersey personal injury case, including premises liability claims, you can typically seek two kinds of compensation.

Economic Damages

Economic damages compensate injured people for the direct monetary costs of their accident. You can prove economic damages with receipts, bills, pay stubs, tax returns, and other financial documentation.

You may qualify for compensation for the following economic damages:

  • Medical treatment
  • Prescription medications
  • Medical devices
  • Lost past and future income if you are unable to work
  • Lost earning capacity if you cannot work in the same position (or at all)

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages compensate accident victims for their intangible losses. These can be harder to quantify but may play a key role in your case. Non-economic damages include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

If one of your close family members died in a premises liability accident, you may qualify to sue for wrongful death.

Premises Liability and Weather-Related Accidents

broken tree because of storm

Weather conditions like ice, snow, and rain often play a role in New Jersey premises liability cases. However, the weather alone is not usually sufficient for a premises liability claim. Instead, you must show that the owner knew the weather could create dangerous conditions on the property but failed to address the hazard.

For example, if you were randomly struck by lightning in a store parking lot, you would not likely have a claim. However, you may have a case if you slipped on snow in a parking lot that the business failed to clear after a storm. Similarly, a store owner may be liable if they knew the roof was leaking into the middle of a shopping aisle but didn’t repair it, causing you to slip and fall.

Premises Liability in Public Spaces

If you suffered an injury on public property, you will likely sue a government entity. Just as with a private owner, you must prove the elements of liability against a public entity. In both types of cases, your legal protections vary depending on whether you were an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.

However, there are some differences between suing public and private entities. You must formally notify the government entity within 90 days of your injury and a minimum of six months before filing a lawsuit. State law also limits the type of damages (such as pain and suffering) you can claim from public entities and employees.

Preventative Measures for Property Owners

Businesses and homeowners in New Jersey must make a reasonable effort to keep their properties safe for visitors. To lower the chances of an injury (and a resulting premises liability claim), property owners can take the following steps:

  • Regularly inspect for hazards like wet floors, torn carpet, cluttered walkways, and leaky ceilings
  • Schedule routine cleaning and regular maintenance on electrical systems, plumbing fixtures, escalators and elevators, and other key areas
  • Promptly fix broken sidewalks, pavement, flooring, stairways, handrails, etc.
  • Ensure proper lighting to reduce the risk of accidents
  • Use signs and barricades to warn visitors of temporary hazards like spills
  • Promptly address weather-related hazards like ice and snow
  • Take adequate security measures, including installing cameras and hiring guards if needed

Finding the Right Attorney for Your Premises Liability Case

client in a legal office

Having the right premises liability attorney can make a huge difference in the outcome of your case. But how do you find the right one? When consulting with an attorney, ask questions like the following to understand their experience level and communication style.

  • What percentage of your cases are premises liability claims?
  • How many ended in insurance settlements?
  • Have you represented premises liability clients in trial? How did those work out?
  • Have you handled cases with similar facts to mine?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of my claim?
  • Who will I be working with on my case?
  • How long do you think it will take to resolve my case?
  • Do you have any references from previous clients?
  • What is your fee structure? Do I owe anything upfront or only if my claim is successful?

Contact a New Jersey Premises Liability Attorney Today

If you have more questions about premises liability in New Jersey, call Sadaka Law at (800) 810-3457. We have over 30 years of combined experience and have recovered over $100 million for our clients. Contact us today for a consultation!



Principal & Founder
This article was written by Mark Sadaka, a seasoned trial lawyer in nationally significant cases. He fearlessly champions clients impacted by fatal or severe injuries caused by others or corporations. Renowned for his expertise in complex litigation, he's featured in books, sought after by media for interviews, and a highly sought speaker. Notably, he exclusively represents individuals facing life-changing injuries or substantial financial losses.

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