Dump Truck Stuck in Sinkhole is Premises Liability Nightmare

The last thing you expect when you drive onto a strip mall parking lot is to wind up in a sink hole. The driver of a dump truck on a Hillsdale, NJ construction site in early October must have been equally as confused when, while pouring tar into a new section on the parking lot, his right tire sunk into the ground. Thankfully, he wasn’t injured. The incident does, however, raise questions of general premises liability. What if that sinkhole opened up while you were driving through that strip mall parking lot?

Property owners have a legal responsibility to keep their premises safe so visitors don’t get in harm’s way. On a rainy day, slick floors must be mopped to prevent slip & falls; same goes for icy sidewalks. Equipment such as elevators or stairway handrails must be kept in good working order. Parking lots must be well-lit and property security precautions must be in place to protect passersby.

Any accidents or injuries that occur on a property can lead to a premises liability lawsuit. That being said, determining fault for a premises accident isn’t always cut and dried. In legal terms, there are three types of visitors to a property: a licensee, an invitee or a trespasser. A licensee enters a property for their own reason, or as a social guest. An invitee enters a property with the understanding that he or she is welcome, such as a customer at a store. A trespasser is someone who enters a property uninvited.

When determining premises liability in a lawsuit, there are a multitude of conditions that must be met. These conditions include any of the following:

  • The circumstances in which the visitor entered the property
  • The use of the property
  • Ability to foresee the accident occurring
  • The reasonableness of the property owner to repair an issue on the property or to warn any visitors to the property

A Cherry Hill, NJ property owner must do his or her due diligence when it comes to keeping trespassers at bay. In other words, post signs and make it clear that uninvited visitors are not welcome.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a supermarket, a drug store, a shopping mall, a parking lot or anywhere else, contact an experienced attorney today to discuss your legal options and to protect your rights as a victim. The law firm of Graziano & Flynn will fight for your rights and work tirelessly to get you maximum compensation for your injuries.

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