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Sidewalk Accidents In NJ: What to Know

Sidewalk accidents in New Jersey can happen to anyone at any time. Whether you’re walking to work, enjoying a stroll, or simply running errands, the safety of sidewalks is something we often take for granted.

However, when accidents happen, it’s crucial to know what steps to take and understand your rights.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from avoiding accidents to dealing with the aftermath, including legal considerations and insurance claims.

Sidewalk Accidents in NJ: What to Know

How to Avoid Sidewalk Accidents in New Jersey

To avoid sidewalk accidents in New Jersey, here are some easy tips, along with important numbers:

  1. Stay Alert: Always look where you’re going. Avoid distractions like using your phone while walking. Studies show that being distracted increases your chances of an accident by 30%.
  2. Wear Proper Shoes: Choose shoes with good traction, especially on slippery surfaces like those on Broad Street in Newark after rain. Slippery sidewalks cause about 25% of outdoor falls.
  3. Report Problems: If you see broken or uneven sidewalks, like the ones often found on Ocean Avenue in Jersey City, report them to local authorities. In New Jersey, about 20% of pedestrian injuries are due to poor sidewalk conditions.
  4. Careful in Bad Weather: Rain, snow, and ice can make sidewalks like those on Main Street in Paterson very slippery. Almost 15% of sidewalk falls happen during bad weather.
  5. Use Well-Lit Areas: At night, stick to well-lit paths, similar to the bright sidewalks of Market Street in Camden. Poor lighting contributes to around 10% of outdoor falls at night.

Is the Sidewalk Public Property in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, figuring out if sidewalks are public property is not always straightforward. Sidewalks are often public property, meaning they’re for everyone to use.

Who Takes Care?

The responsibility for keeping sidewalks safe and clean varies. In areas like Broad Street in Trenton, the city usually handles it. But for a sidewalk along Park Avenue in Hoboken, the adjacent property owner might be responsible.

Approximately 75% of sidewalks in New Jersey’s urban areas are maintained by local governments. In contrast, in suburban or residential areas, this number might be lower, with more responsibility on homeowners.

When You See a Problem

If there’s an issue, like a broken sidewalk on Washington Street in Morristown, report it. If it’s a city-maintained sidewalk, contact local authorities. For others, the property owner might need to be informed.

How to report broken sidewalks

Reporting broken sidewalks in New Jersey is a straightforward process, designed to ensure public safety and prompt repairs.

  1. Contact Local Municipal Offices: Most sidewalk repairs are handled by local municipal offices. You can find the contact details for your local municipality’s public works or streets department on their official website. For example, if the broken sidewalk is in Newark, you can contact the Newark Department of Public Works.
  2. Use Online Reporting Tools: Some cities and towns in New Jersey offer online reporting tools on their websites. These platforms allow you to submit a report and sometimes track its progress. For instance, Jersey City has an online request system called ‘SeeClickFix‘ for reporting non-emergency issues, including sidewalk repairs.
  3. Call or Email: If you prefer, you can call the public works department of your municipality. Phone numbers are typically listed on the municipality’s website. Emailing the department with details of the issue and the location can also be an effective way to report.

Legal Considerations and Cases

New Jersey Premises Liability Law:

Under this law, property owners (including municipalities for public sidewalks) must keep sidewalks reasonably safe. This is governed by New Jersey Statutes Annotated (N.J.S.A.) 2A:42A-4.

Case Example:

In the landmark case “Stewart v. 104 Wallace St., Inc.”, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that commercial property owners are responsible for maintaining the sidewalks abutting their property. This case set a precedent for sidewalk accident liability in NJ.

Comparative Negligence in NJ:

New Jersey follows a “modified comparative negligence” rule, as per N.J.S.A. 2A:15-5.1, which may reduce your compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident.

See also: What Are New Jersey’s Comparative Fault Laws?

Reporting Sidewalk Accidents in NJ

Reporting sidewalk accidents in New Jersey is important for safety and legal reasons. Here’s how you can do it simply and effectively:

Right After the Accident

  1. If you or someone else is hurt, call 911 immediately.
  2. Try to stay calm and check for injuries.

Document the Accident

  1. Take pictures of where the accident happened, like a cracked sidewalk on Market Street in Newark.
  2. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact details.

Report to Local Authorities

  1. Contact the local police or public works department. In Jersey City, for example, you can call the non-emergency police line.
  2. Give them all the details: where, when, and how the accident happened.

Keep Records

  1. Write down everything about the accident as soon as you can.
  2. Keep any medical records or expenses related to the accident.

Who takes responsibility for an anonymous accident in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, understanding who is responsible for an anonymous accident involves a few key points:

Type of Accident

For a car accident without the other driver, like a hit-and-run on Route 1 in Edison, it’s a legal issue. Nearly 11% of car accidents in New Jersey are hit-and-runs.

If you slip or fall on a sidewalk, such as on Elm Street in Morristown, the property owner or the city might be responsible. About 30% of pedestrian accidents are due to poor sidewalk maintenance.

Reporting the Accident

Always inform the police, particularly for hit-and-runs or unknown causes. This helps in legal and insurance processes.

Provide all the details you can, like where and when it happened, and any witnesses.

Insurance Matters

Your insurance may cover you in hit-and-runs, especially if you have uninsured motorist coverage.

In slip and fall cases, the property owner’s insurance might be responsible.

Seek Legal Advice

An experienced lawyer can guide you, especially in complex situations where responsibility is unclear.

A legal firm Rosengard Law Group working in New Jersey takes responsibility for cases as they have experts who deal best with issues. They will help you seek consultants in sidewalk cases.

Statute of Limitations for Sidewalk Accidents in NJ

In New Jersey, the “Statute of Limitations” sets a strict time limit for suing after a sidewalk accident. Understanding this is key to protecting your rights:

  1. Time Limit: You have exactly two years from the accident date to file a lawsuit. For instance, if you trip on a raised sidewalk slab on Broad Street in Newark today, you must file your lawsuit by the same date two years later.
  2. Why It Matters: This deadline is crucial. If you wait too long, you lose the right to sue for injuries or damages. Statistically, many people miss this deadline and lose their chance for justice.
  3. Special Cases: Sometimes, this period might be extended. For example, if the person hurt is under 18 years old, the time limit might start when they turn 18.
  4. Legal Advice: If you’re thinking about a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer. They can help you understand your rights and make sure you act within the time limit.

More than 20% of pedestrian injuries in urban areas happen due to sidewalk issues, it’s important to act quickly if you’re hurt in a sidewalk accident in New Jersey.

Updated Statute of Limitations Information

The two-year statute of limitations is standard in New Jersey (N.J.S.A. 2A:14-2). However, in cases involving government entities, a Notice of Claim must be filed within 90 days of the accident as per the New Jersey Tort Claims Act (N.J.S.A. 59:1-1 et seq.).

Insurance Claims after Sidewalk Accidents

When you have a sidewalk accident, dealing with insurance claims is an important step. Here’s what you need to know in simple terms:

Inform Your Insurance Quickly: Right after the accident, if you trip on a sidewalk on Main Street in Newark, tell your insurance company. About 40% of people forget to report such accidents on time.

Collect All Details: Take photos of where you fell and any injuries you got. If people saw it happen, get their names and phone numbers.

Keep Your Medical Information: Save all doctor reports and bills. These papers are very important for your insurance claim. In New Jersey, more than half of sidewalk accident claims need detailed medical records.

When Someone Else is at Fault: Sometimes, the accident might be due to someone else not keeping the sidewalk safe. Their insurance might need to be paid.

Get Help if You Need It: Know what your policy says about accidents like falls. If you’re not sure about what to do, talking to a lawyer can be a good idea.

Additional Claim Consideration

As of recent updates, most insurance companies in New Jersey require detailed documentation for sidewalk accident claims, including photographs and medical reports, to process the claim effectively.


Are Sidewalk Accidents Considered Wrongful Death in NJ?

Yes, if someone dies as a result of the accident and it was caused by negligence, such as improper maintenance of the sidewalk. However, each case depends on specific circumstances and often requires legal evaluation.

Settling Sidewalk Accidents Without Court in New Jersey?

In New Jersey, you can settle sidewalk accidents without going to court by talking and agreeing with the other person involved or their insurance company. Another way is through mediation, where a neutral person helps both sides agree.


Sidewalk accidents in New Jersey are more than just unfortunate events; they can lead to serious injuries and complex legal situations.

By understanding your rights, knowing what steps to take immediately after an accident, and considering the benefits of legal consultation, you can navigate these challenging circumstances more effectively.

Stay aware, stay safe, and know that there are resources and professionals ready to help if an accident occurs.

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