As we have said in prior posts, it is difficult to recover damages in a personal injury case against a public entity due to the New Jersey Tort Claims Act, which sets a high threshold for plaintiffs to clear in negligence cases.
In a recent unreported decision, the Appellate Division upheld the trial court’s decision dismissing a lawsuit filed against New Jersey Transit, in which it was claimed that a commuter slipped and fell on black ice while walking on a train station platform. The plaintiff stated that he did not notice icy conditions prior to his fall. On the day before the fall, New Jersey Transit did salt the platform due to weather conditions, and on the day of the fall, four NJT employees inspected the platform for ice.
The court noted that the plaintiff had not obtained an expert’s opinion that New Jersey Transit was grossly negligent, and found that New Jersey Transit was not legally required to “attain the acme of perfection of ‘broom swept’ platforms”. Therefore, New Jersey Transit was held immune from liability. It should be noted that few property owners, whether public or private, would be held to a standard of perfection in any event. Rather, the owner must act with reasonable care.