Shopping malls have become an integral part of American life and culture. Nowadays, New Jersey residents can do just about everything at a mall: shop, dine, watch a movie and even get a makeover. However, despite providing a lot of services, mall owners and operators should always look after the safety of their patrons; not only as a service for those frequenting the mall itself, but simply because malls are legally obligated to keep their premises safe. Otherwise, even a simple stroll at a mall can result in injuries.

This is what happened last month when three people were injured after glass fell from a Bergen County mall’s balcony. According to a Paramus police report, the incident occurred at 3:20 p.m. at the Bergen Town Center Mall, which is less than 20 miles north of Newark. The mall was packed with weekend shoppers when glass from the barrier of the mall’s “The Outlets” balcony suddenly fell and shattered on the mall floor. Two juveniles and an elderly man sustained injuries.

The 67-year-old man was treated in the mall. His injury was bandaged but he refused further treatment. Meanwhile, the two boys were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, along with their relatives. It was reported that their injuries were not life-threatening. The cause of the falling glass has not been determined. However, the initial findings by police indicate that it was possible that someone had knocked it over. In the meantime, mall officials filled the gap left by the glass with plywood, but eventually replaced it with a new glass pane. Mall owners and managers did not comment on the accident.

New Jersey residents injured in similar circumstances may choose to file a premises liability lawsuit against a property owner if they suspect negligence. Property owners can be held liable if the hazardous conditions of their establishments or residences injure or cause a person’s death.

Source: North Jersey, “Falling glass injures 3 at Bergen Town Center mall in Paramus,” Christopher Maag, Sept. 20, 2014