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A city or local municipality owes a duty of care to ensure that its streets, sidewalks and public areas are safe for pedestrian traffic. Walkways connected to public property must be free of ice, snow and defects such as cracks or gaps. If you slip or trip and fall while on a public sidewalk, and suffer from injuries you may file a legal claim to recover damages.

With more New Jersey residents using mobile phone devices, legislators introduced laws that prohibit using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. Although discussed, there is no law enacted that bans the use of mobile phones while walking. If you suffer injuries on a public sidewalk while using your cell phone, you may sue the city for damages if the sidewalk presented a hazardous condition.

A study conducted by a surgeon at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School revealed that pedestrians sustained nearly half of the serious injuries associated with using a mobile phone. As reported by The Verge, the study found that individuals over the age of 50 faced the highest risk of injuries related to distracted walking. During the height of the popular smartphone game “Pokémon Go,” the surgeon also saw 90 head-and-neck injuries suffered by distracted gamers.

Generally, a city owes a duty to ensure the safety of its residents by preventing dangerous conditions. When there is a likelihood that individuals may suffer harm while using their cell phones in a particular area, local officials need to provide a warning or fix the hazard. By not fixing a known hazard or providing a warning, a city may be responsible for injuries.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and not intended as legal advice.