Property owners in East Orange, New Jersey, have a responsibility to keep their premises safe and guard against slip-and-fall accidents. This becomes especially important in the winter when ice and snow can accumulate on sidewalks. Following a winter weather event, the owner of your apartment building has 12 hours of daylight in which to remove snow and ice from the full width of the sidewalk abutting the premises.
There are penalties if your landlord fails in his or her duties. However, there can also be consequences for you if you slip and fall. Accidents resulting from snow and ice tend to result in certain injuries more often than others. Here are three of the most common.
1. Herniated disk
This type of injury can occur when you slip on the ice and fall onto your back. The disks of the spine are between your vertebrae to provide cushioning. They consist of a softer inner layer and a tougher outer layer. The outer layer can tear due to impact, allowing part of the inner layer to leak out.
2. Separated shoulder
The shoulder has the most range of motion of any joint of the body. However, the trade-off is that it is also the least stable. A sudden impact to the shoulder can cause the ligaments holding the bones together to stretch and/or tear. When this happens, the bones of the shoulder can separate.
3. Broken wrist
Most people instinctively put out their hands to catch themselves when they slip and fall. However, this means that the wrists usually take the full force of the impact. This often results in a break of one of the bones of the forearm, called the radius. When this bone breaks near the hand, it is a distal radius fracture. It may require surgery to repair, although if the fracture is not serious, nonsurgical treatments of casting or splinting may be sufficient.
The city can impose fines on your landlord for not removing snow and ice in a timely manner. Additionally, you may be able to bring a lawsuit if your landlord’s negligence results in an injury.