In New Jersey, as in other states, a person or entity exercising control over residential or commercial property has a duty to reasonably monitor the premises and maintain them so as to prevent injury to anyone legally on the property. When you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property, you customarily file a legal claim alleging negligence, and must show that the property owner’s conduct fell short of the duty imposed.

There’s a legal doctrine, known as the “mode of operation” rule, however, that has been recognized in New Jersey, which creates a presumption of negligence in certain types of slip and fall cases. This doctrine applies in situations where the business has a certain “mode of operation” that would reasonably lead owners and managers to expect potential safety risks. Initially, the rule was applied to any type of business where it’s a common occurrence to have liquids, foods or other slippery substances fall on the floor on a regular basis. In its original application, it could be applied to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, cafeterias and similar establishments.

In 2015, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a ruling limiting the scope of the “mode of operation” doctrine. According to that decision, the mode of operation rule will only be appropriate when the business in question offers self-service options, and will only apply to those parts of the premises where the self-service takes place.


We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has suffered any type of loss or injury as a result of the carelessness or negligence of another person. To set up a meeting, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333(toll free at ) for an appointment. We have offices in Freehold, Toms River and Point Pleasant.