Slip and Fall Injuries at Resorts and Hotels

Resort and hotel stays are normally events people look forward to, especially when they are planning well-earned vacations. Unfortunately, things do not always turn out as planned, especially when they fall victim to injuries occurring on the premises. Nothing can ruin that coveted time off more than getting hurt, and it can happen to guests who are there for business or pleasure. Although they entrust their safety to these properties, accidents do happen. Categories of accidents at resort and hotel properties include swimming pool drownings, burns, and food poisoning. One of the most common types, however, is a slip and fall accident.

Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Aside from worn carpeting, unfamiliar staircases, and debris, hotels can have additional hazards when there are restaurants and swimming pools. Spilled drinks and other slippery substances can reside in dining areas, and pools always pose additional risks. When the weather is poor, there are even more dangers from icy and snowy roads. Someone could also slip and fall in a shower, elsewhere in their room, or in the parking lot for several reasons.

Hotels are Obligated to Protect Guests

Hotel and resort guests have the right to be safe and secure during their stays. This protection also includes the rest of the grounds, such as the parking lot, banquet hall, meeting rooms, restaurants, restrooms, pool, fitness area, and the shuttle bus. The grounds must be maintained and inspected regularly and kept reasonably safe for the people staying there. Any hazardous conditions must be addressed and fixed quickly, such as cleaning up broken glass or repairing a broken pipe; otherwise the hotel is breaching its duty to guests.

Other ways to prevent slip and fall accidents in hotels include:

  • Keeping elevators, stairs, and parking lots maintained, well-lit, and clear from debris.
  • Ensuring that hotel rooms are maintained, with no slippery surfaces, broken furniture, or loose fixtures.
  • Hiring and training staff appropriately for all parts of the hotel, including restaurants, pools, and other areas.
  • Although most hotels are not required to have their own lifeguards at their pools, they must post rules and warnings. They are also responsible for keeping these areas safe, clean, and well maintained.
  • If there is construction going on or any other unusual circumstances, proper safety protocol must be followed. This includes warning signs and prohibiting entry into certain areas.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall

Slip and fall injuries can range from cuts and bruises to broken bones and head injuries, and it may be necessary to call 911 right away. Victims should alert staff about any injuries, and they may be subsequently asked to complete an official accident report. When filling this out, it is essential to stick to the facts. Obtaining contact information from employees who are present at the scene is also helpful, and victims should document any medical attention received from staff members.

Recording any evidence at the scene can also help a slip and fall case. Either victims, family members, or friends can take pictures of where the slip and fall occurred, noting lack of warning signs, glass on the floor, or debris in the area. If anyone witnessed the accident, they should be questioned as well. Afterwards, victims should keep all information pertaining to their medical treatment, expenses, follow-up care, and time missed from work carefully organized.

Understanding Premises Liability

Hotel and resort property owners are subject to premises liability laws, which hold owners responsible for maintaining safe environments for their guests and make the owners responsible when accidents and injuries occur on their properties. When someone does slip and fall, liability is not immediately assumed, and state laws apply. Responsibility depends on certain factors, including the property’s condition and the visitor’s and owner’s actions.

A general standard of care to exercise reasonable safety applies to hotel guests and property owners, unless the person is trespassing. This standard applies to how the property was used, and the predictability of the accident that occurred. The court will also discern the reasonableness of the owner attempting to correct the hazard, why the guest was on the property, and the area where the accident happened. They will also consider whether the dangerous condition was obvious, and if the employees and property owner had control over the situation.

Certain states categorize slip and fall victims when determining premises liability. These include invitees or customers, social guests or welcome visitors, licensees, and trespassers. Non-guests and trespassers who enter public properties have limited protections, and hotel guests are considered invitees. Special rules may apply if the injured person is a child, as children are less likely to realize dangerous situations. Both property owners and caregivers have a responsibility to protect this younger population from property hazards.

Proving Liability

To prove that a hotel breached its duty, injured guests need to show that there was negligence involved. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant should have known that their actions may have led to the injury. For example, if a waiter spilled grease on the dining room floor but the manager neglected to address this obvious safety hazard, the hotel could be held liable if a guest slipped and fell. The injured guest also needs to show that their injuries are a direct result of the slip and fall. Attempting to show a link between an old football injury and a recent slip and fall is ill-advised.

Shared Liability

In slip and fall cases, hotel and resort owners will likely attempt to show that the plaintiff was at least partially liable for the accident. Hotel guests have a duty to exercise reasonable care for their safety, so if they neglect to do so, they may be found partly responsible for their own injuries. Hotel property owners may argue that the hazardous area was clearly marked and should have been apparent to the hotel guest. They may also claim that the guest was wearing inappropriate footwear or was simply not paying attention to where they were going. Most states in the U.S., including New Jersey, follow a comparative fault system in premises liability lawsuits.

How New Jersey’s Comparative Fault System Works

In New Jersey hotel and resort slip and fall cases, the courts assign a percentage of liability to the injured party and property owner. If the plaintiff’s percentage is more than 50 percent, they may not be eligible to receive compensation. If it is less than this amount, they can still be entitled to damages, but this may be reduced. The hotel owner’s insurance company will want to protect their interests and may try to prove shared liability. This is the main reason why it is important for victims to gather evidence and keep accurate records of what happened.

Damages for Slip and Fall Cases

Hotel and resort guests injured in slip and fall accidents may be eligible for damages, or money awarded for compensation. This can include lost wages, short and long-term medical expenses, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Damages awarded can be significant, with some plaintiffs being awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars. In some cases, they receive additional compensation if there are complications from the injury that become apparent later.

It is also important to know that most states have statutes of limitations that apply to eligibility for slip and fall injury claims. In New Jersey, plaintiffs have two years to file cases of this nature. Plaintiffs who wish to file suits relating to property damage that occurred from a slip and fall accident have up to six years to do so.

Freehold Slip and Fall Lawyers at Ellis Law Provide Effective Legal Representation for Injured Hotel and Resort Guests

If you or someone you care for was injured in a hotel or resort slip and fall accident, an experienced Freehold slip and fall lawyer at Ellis Law is ready to help. We will analyze all the facts and help determine if your hotel or resort neglected their duty to keep you safe. For a free case evaluation, complete our online form or call us at 732-308-0200. Centrally located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.


Dangers of Distracted Driving

Multitasking while driving has become a common activity within our nation’s drivers. Distracted driving is extremely unsafe and can cause injuries and deaths. It only takes five seconds of distracted driving to cause potential fatalities. Putting yourself and others at risk is not worth the consequences. Practicing safe driving techniques will help prevent car crashes and protect your overall health and wellbeing. Distractions can be avoided if focusing on the road becomes the main priority.

Types of Driver Distractions

There are many different distractions that can cause drivers to divert their attention from the road and increase the potential for an accident. Vehicle distractions come from the following four sources and can danger everyone on the road:

  • Those that are associated with the vehicle, such as the controls, navigation systems, and displays
  • Those that are brought into the vehicle, such as cell phones, food, pets, makeup, and other passengers
  • Those that are external to the vehicle, such as signs, displays, and roadside stands
  • Those that are internal to the driver’s mind, such as daydreaming, ongoing thoughts, and zoning out

There are also different types of distractions that a driver can engage in. These distractions put drivers at risk for an accident and diverts their attention away from the road.

Visual Distractions: These cause drivers to look somewhere other than the road and can include the following:

  • Electronic devices, such as cell phones
  • Changing the music
  • Looking for an item that fell on the floor
  • Reading billboards
  • Looking in the mirror
  • Rubbernecking

Auditory Distractions: When a driver hears something that is not related to the task of driving, including:

  • Engine noises
  • Crying children
  • Outside noises

Manual Distractions: Controlling and touching something other than the steering wheel. Anything that removes your hands from the wheel is a manual distraction, which includes:

  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Personal grooming

Cognitive Distractions: Thinking about something other than driving that causes you to lose focus, such as:

  • Listening to the radio
  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking to a fellow passenger
  • Reprimanding children
  • Tiredness
  • Stress

Texting is the distraction that causes the most accidents to occur. Texting requires a driver to focus their visual, manual, and cognitive attention toward a phone rather than the road ahead. This makes texting while driving extremely dangerous and causes the most motor vehicle crashes. It only takes a few seconds of looking at your phone to end up in a scary situation. Many states passed laws that ban the use of a cell phone while driving to try and lower the accident rate. Texting has become a serious problem and will only continue to get worse if nothing is done to stop it.

Drunk driving is also a dangerous distraction that is responsible for car accidents and fatalities. A drivers visual, manual, and cognitive skills are decreased due to intoxication and the ability to make split-second decisions is significantly reduced. Driving while intoxicated is never the right decision as it puts many lives at risk.

Hands-Free Devices

Cell phone use quadruples the risk of accidents and places a safety concern for drivers on the road. Many drivers believe that hands-free devices are safe to use while driving; this assumption is incorrect. Hands-free devices are not risk free and are no safer than handheld devices. Anything that takes your attention away from driving is a distraction.

Consequences of Distractions

Distraction is hard to manage and becomes more of a habit than a spontaneous act. Driving while distracted can cause accidents, injuries, and death. Driving distracted is a dangerous act that most drivers participate in. Some consequences of distracted driving include:

  • Being involved in an accident
  • Traffic tickets
  • Car repair bills
  • Criminal sentences
  • Increased insurance
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Serious injury or death

The task of driving should always have your full attention to ensure safety on the roads. Any non-driving activity that you participate in while operating a vehicle puts you and everyone else at a risk.

Distraction Prevention Tips

Accidents, injuries, and fatalities caused by distracted driving are devastating, but there are ways to prevent these situations from happening in the future. If you need to send a text or make a phone call, find a safe place to pull over. This will reduce the likelihood of becoming distracted and maintain safety on the roads. Always concentrate on your driving and plan your route in advance to avoid having to look for road signs and exits. Also, recognize what makes you distracted while in the car and think about how you would feel if you saw another driver doing the same thing. If you are triggered by this thought, then that distraction should not be something you participate in.

Teenagers are the future of driving and need to understand the dangers of driving distracted. Teens are encouraged to speak up when they see a peer driving while distracted and be vocal on social media about how dangerous distracted driving is. It is also important for parents to lead by example and never drive distracted. Talk with your teenage drivers about the consequences of driving distracted.

Car companies are also doing their part to help prevent distracted driving. Attention assist has been placed in vehicles to monitor drowsiness in drivers based on their steering wheel movement. This system will emit audible and visual warnings to the driver. Car companies have also implemented a safety system where infotainment systems will read your texts out loud when they come through the phone. This allows the driver to continue safe driving habits.

Phone Applications Help Prevent Distracted Driving

In addition to the strives being made by car companies and future drivers, there are also phone applications that have been created to help prevent distracted driving and phone use. Some of these applications include:

  • AT&T Drive Mode: Available for both iOS and Android, this application detects when your car starts moving and automatically replies to texts that come through during your trip. These replies will state that you are driving and will answer once it is safe to do so. This is great for young drivers as parents can be notified if their child has turned off the application.
  • Down for the Count: This application is a great way to promote safe driving between your friends and family. The app allows drivers to set up a safe driving goal and will track your phone use behind the wheel. Incentives are given if you hit your goal and you can team up with other people to help them set a goal as well.
  • LifeSaver: Once you start driving, this application turns on and shows a lock screen on your phone, preventing you from using it. Once you arrived safely, you are free to use your phone again. Drivers will still be able to receive calls and set certain necessary exceptions.

Laws

Laws have been passed in the recent decade that attempt to prevent distracted driving. In 2012, then Governor Chris Christie signed the Kulesh, Kubert, Bolis’ Law that specifies clear penalties for drivers who cause severe injury or death because of cell phone use. The state of New Jersey also initiated the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign in April 2019 to spread awareness of National Distracted Driving Month and its consequences.

Freehold Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Fight for the Rights of Distracted Driving Victims

Distracted driving is a deadly problem and needs to be rectified before more lives are taken. If you were injured in a car accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver, contact the Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law for a free consultation. Our dedicated team of accident lawyers will help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 732-308-0200 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.

Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.


How Can I Minimize My Pain After a Car Accident?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions of Americans are injured in car accidents each year. Three out of four adults report having been in a car accident at some point in their lives. Knowing what to do after a car crash can go a long way toward minimizing your pain in the aftermath, including physical suffering, emotional distress, financial difficulties, and legal hassles.

Stay Calm

It may be difficult to think clearly after an accident, especially if you are injured. Turn off your vehicle and turn on your hazard lights. Next, pause to collect your thoughts and do not panic. If you feel angry at the driver who hit you, stop yourself from expressing your anger at the scene of the accident. If you believe the accident may have been your fault, refrain from saying so. Anything you say can be used against you to prove you were at-fault or diminish the value of your potential claim.

Call 911

Never leave the scene of an accident. In New Jersey, you must call the police if the accident results in death, injury, or at least $500 worth of damage. When the police arrive, you can minimize future legal hassles by cooperating fully and providing your name, address, car registration, license, and insurance card. If the officer issues you a traffic ticket; do not argue about it. Signing the citation is not an admission of guilt. However, you are under no legal obligation to answer questions about driving under the influence or any other action which may result in a criminal charge. You have the right to ask for attorney if an officer asks additional questions.

Move to a Safe Spot

If your accident is minor, move your car out of traffic. Otherwise, wait for the police to arrive. Be mindful that you may run the risk of getting hit again by other moving vehicles if you are on a highway. If it is safe to do so, walk over beyond the shoulder of the road until help arrives.

Document Everything

If you are not badly injured and you have your phone, take photos of the entire accident scene, if it is safe to do so. Include traffic lights, signs, and road conditions, such as a pothole. This information may prove vital to your personal injury claim and directly affect the amount of money you may receive. At some point, all vehicles involved will be towed away and you will lose the opportunity to collect critical evidence.

Speak calmly to the other drivers to obtain contact information, license plate numbers, drivers’ license numbers, and insurance information. Limit your conversation and do not say anything about the cause of the accident. Take note of the current weather conditions, the time of day, and the directions in which vehicles were headed. If other drivers exhibit signs of intoxication or admit fault, make notes.

Talk to Witnesses

If any one nearby saw the accident and you can speak with them, ask them for their contact information. Do not say anything to them about who may be at fault; just obtain their name and phone number and thank them for their help. While they are not legally obligated to help you, they may be more than willing to write out a simple statement about what they saw and heard, and sign and date it. This can be invaluable for supporting a personal injury claim.

Seek Medical Attention

When the police arrive, make a note of the officers’ names and badge numbers. If paramedics arrive and want to take you to the hospital, do not refuse. If you are not transported directly to a hospital, make an appointment to see your primary care physician as soon as possible. This is the best way to document your medical condition for potential injury claims. Injuries caused by the accident may not surface until later.

Contact Your Insurance Company

After you leave the scene of the crash, contact your insurance company and provide details about the accident. They may give you directions on filing a claim, however, you should not accept a settlement without speaking to a lawyer, or you may end up with less money than you deserve. If you do not contact your insurance company, they may consider it a breach of your policy. At that point, they might raise your rates or cancel your policy, creating additional financial distress.

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

Unless your accident was a minor fender bender with less than $500 damage, you probably need a lawyer. When insurance companies are involved, it is important to keep in mind that their goal is to minimize the amount of compensation they pay to claimants. Insurance companies are represented by lawyers and if you attempt to negotiate a settlement without professional legal help, you are at a significant disadvantage. A qualified lawyer can advocate for your rights and seek maximum compensation for your claim.

Take Care of Yourself

Muscle pain is common after a car accident. The sudden trauma of impact can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system, and the effects often take days to appear. Staying hydrated is the first step in minimizing muscle pain and soreness after an accident. Your muscles will need extra fluid to heal after an accident, and they may cramp if you are dehydrated. Massage therapy, physical therapy, and stretching may also help. Speak with your physician about obtaining a prescription for physical therapy and get plenty of rest so your body has a chance to heal.

How Can a Lawyer Help Minimize My Pain After a Car Accident?

Physical pain, emotional distress, and financial difficulties are common after an accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you obtain financial compensation to pay for treatments needed to ease physical pain and heal faster. A strong legal advocate can also reduce emotional stress by handling interactions with insurance companies, as well as litigation, if that is required.

A skilled lawyer can help you file a personal injury claim seeking financial compensation for the following:

  • Medical and dental bills
  • Cost of physical and psychological therapy
  • Prescriptions
  • Prosthetics, wheelchairs, and crutches
  • Lost wages
  • Pain, suffering, and emotional duress

A personal injury claim will be subject to the laws of your state; these laws can be complex and are always subject to change. A qualified car accident lawyer will be familiar with current law and is best positioned to help you file a successful claim.

Auto insurance in the state of New Jersey is no-fault. As a result, after a car accident, you may need to file a claim under your own personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to pay for medical bills, regardless of who caused the accident. To bring a claim against the at-fault driver, your injury claim must meet certain pre-requisites.

What to Do Before an Accident Happens

No one wants to get into a car accident, but it is best to be prepared for the worst. Your pre-accident checklist should include the following:

  • Make sure your driver’s license, insurance card, and car registration is in your car.
  • Put emergency supplies in your vehicle, including water, a first aid kit, and a blanket.
  • Place a checklist of what to do after an accident in your glove compartment
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • Take photos of your car periodically so you have a record of what it looks like prior to an accident.
  • When you are driving on a highway, always be aware of mile markers and the last exit you passed so you can report your location in case of an emergency.

Freehold Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Clients with Personal Injury Claims

If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, do not hesitate to contact the Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law. We will review your case and fight to hold the negligent party responsible for your injuries accountable. For a free consultation, call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online. We provide aggressive legal representation for residents of Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.


What Should I Know About Slip and Fall Claims?

Slip and falls are a common type of accident people experience every day.  Unfortunately, when an individual slips and falls under the wrong conditions and suffers significant injuries, this ordinary occurrence can change their life forever. Understanding the basics of slip and fall claims can help injured individuals recognize when they may be entitled to compensation for these types of injuries.

Slip and fall claims result when businesses fail to take simple actions to prevent accidents. Common examples of preventable slip and fall causes include wet flooring, improperly lit walkways, worn out carpeting, and improper transitions between floor surfaces, such as going from tile to carpet. Courts will determine whether a property or business owner acted reasonably to determine if their actions caused or contributed to the slip and fall. If it is reasonable that the owner should have known about the unsafe condition and did nothing to address the situation, the owner can face liability for the resulting injuries.

High Risk Areas

Any place with a high level of pedestrian foot traffic poses an increased risk for a slip and fall accident. Hospitality locations, such as hotels and resorts, are frequent sites of slip and fall accidents. Businesses open to the public, including retail stores, restaurants, and medical facilities, are other locations where slip and fall accidents frequently take place.

Document Everything for Your Case

Injured individuals can take certain steps to help preserve their right to bring a legal claim later. Some of the important information to document includes:

  • Physical injuries
  • Location of the accident
  • Names and telephone numbers of witnesses
  • Condition of the area immediately prior to and after the slip and fall
  • Types of shoes worn by the injured individual
  • Any statements made by employees of the business

The above information should be recorded through writing and photographs or videos when possible. If the location has video surveillance, such videos become important pieces of evidence. If an incident or police report is made following the accident, injured individuals should request their own copy for future reference.

Filing a Slip and Fall Claim

Individuals injured in slip and fall accidents have a legal right to seek compensation for their injuries. Holding reckless or careless parties responsible for the injuries they caused is important. Property owners and businesses who lease office space often share liability in these cases. The first step in filing a slip and fall claim in civil court is to contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer who can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Freehold Slip and Fall Lawyers at Ellis Law Protect the Rights of Slip and Fall Victims

If you or your loved one suffered injuries resulting from a slip and fall on public property, compensation may be available to help pay for the costs of medical treatment and lost wages. The experienced Freehold slip and fall lawyers at Ellis Law will protect your rights to bring a slip and fall claim against all responsible parties. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 732-308-0200 or contact us online.

Centrally located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.