Slip and fall accidents occur frequently in Illinois. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you could be overwhelmed with pain and unable to work, function, or enjoy your life. If another party’s negligence resulted in a condition that caused your slip and fall accident, documenting the incident will be critical to potentially receiving compensation.
This article teaches how to document your slip and fall accident for a potential claim or lawsuit. If you have legal questions, our experienced Hoffman Estates slip & fall accident lawyer at SJ Injury Law can answer them.
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An Illinois slip and fall accident is under premises liability law. Premise liability is a critical legal concept in personal injury law, alleging that the injury you sustained was caused by a defective or hazardous condition on another person’s property – such as a home or business. If the property owner or manager knew or should have known of the defective condition, they could be held liable for your injuries in a premises liability claim. The following elements must be proven in Illinois to win a premises liability case:
Your slip and fall personal injury case hinges on showing a hazardous condition on the property when the injury happened. This could be a wet or oily floor, a loose rug or floorboard, rotting steps, or another defective condition.
This element might be proven by showing evidence that the owner had a good reason to be aware of the dangerous condition. For example, if a spill in the store and a worker reported it to the manager, this is enough evidence to show the owner was aware of the hazard.
If the owner was or should have been aware of the defective condition, but did not take action to fix or warn others, the owner may be liable for the injured person’s damages. Using the example above, if the owner knew there was a hazardous spill in the store for 20 minutes and took no action, he did not take reasonable care to remedy the situation.
Last, you need to show that you suffered injuries and losses related to the hazardous conditions on the property. For example, if you broke your wrist when you fell, you can show that you have medical bills, pain, suffering, and lost work time.
Unless you have an underlying health condition, most people do not simply fall for no reason. Most slip and fall incidents happen because of a safety hazard on another person’s or business’s property. Common causes of slip and fall incidents in Illinois are:
Many slip and fall injuries can be severe and debilitating. They include:
Several state laws and rules will affect your claim or lawsuit in an Illinois slip and fall case. They are:
If you want to make a claim after a slip and fall on someone’s property, be ready for the insurance company to claim you were at least partially at fault. If the property owner or their insurance company can pin some of the blame on you, your compensation could be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Suppose you were hurt in a grocery store accident where you stepped into a puddle of oil. You suffered a back injury and fractured ankle; your total damages were $25,000. However, the grocery store had placed a wet floor sign three feet from the oil spill. The insurance company argues that you were partially responsible, and the jury agrees and says you were 25% at fault. Thus, your compensation could be reduced by $6,250, or 25% of the $25,000. Furthermore, if you are found to be more than 50% at fault in the accident, you cannot recover damages in the case.
This is how shared fault works in Illinois personal injury claims. Even if the case does not go to trial, the state’s comparative negligence claim may come into play. During settlement talks, the insurance company’s offer could reflect any partial liability you have for the incident. Your attorney, on the other hand, will argue for as little blame on you as possible to maximize your payout.
Be aware of the state’s statute of limitations for filing a personal injury lawsuit, which in Illinois is two years from the date of the injury. If you believe the property owner or manager is liable for your damages, you must initiate the lawsuit within two years of the incident. If you do not, you will be barred from ever bringing a lawsuit. Your attorney will want ample time to prepare the slip and fall lawsuit, so you should retain an attorney as soon as possible.
No one will take your word for it if you are injured in a slip and fall incident. You will need strong evidence to receive compensation in a claim or lawsuit. Essential steps to document your slip and fall incident include the following elements:
Not only is it vital to be evaluated by a doctor promptly to ensure your health and well-being. One of the most critical steps in documenting a slip and fall injury is getting medical treatment immediately. As well as treating your slip and fall injuries, your doctor will document the fact that you were injured in the incident. This will be critical evidence if you file a personal injury claim or lawsuit later. You could receive compensation for your medical bills from doctors, dentists, chiropractors, ER doctors, and more.
Even if you think you are not seriously injured after the slip and fall, you still should seek immediate medical attention. If the injury worsens after a few days, you will have the injury documented on your medical record to receive potential compensation. One of the first things your slip & fall accident lawyer in Hoffman Estates will do is obtain your medical records for medical proof of your injuries.
If you fall at a business like a grocery store, you should report the injury promptly to the manager. File an accident report with the company, and if the police arrive, ask for a copy of their report.
If the accident happened at work, report the slip and fall to the HR department or your manager. Reporting the accident promptly is essential for receiving workers’ compensation benefits for your injury.
Photographic and video evidence are essential documentation for your slip and fall personal injury case. For instance, if you fell in the baking aisle on an oil spill in the grocery store, get a wide shot of the accident scene showing the hazard. This wide-angle shot will show there were no warning signs for the spill. Make sure you take cell phone video and pictures before they clean the area. Then, take photos of your injuries, bandages, back or neck brace, and other signs of injury.
Save every document related to the slip and fall case. The case file should include medical bills, other out-of-pocket expenses related to your injury, and any correspondence from your doctors or insurance company about the injuries. Also, write down or take a video of what happened the day you fell and precisely what happened. Next, list any accident witnesses, including their names and contact information.
Many slip and fall injury victims do not realize they should retain the clothing and shoes they wore the day of the injury. Do not wash or clean them up; any dirt, damage, or blood on the clothing could be substantial evidence for your claim.
Remember that specific critical evidence could disappear fast after the accident. For example, the grocery store will quickly clean up any spill that caused your injury, so getting ample video and photos of the accident scene could be vital to your claim later. Any documentation and evidence you collect, turn it over to your attorney during the initial consultation.
Slip and fall accidents can cause debilitating pain and injuries, and you should not suffer out-of-pocket costs if someone else is responsible. Our Hoffman Estates slip & fall accident lawyer at SJ Injury Law could help you receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
Call us today at (847) 434-3555 for a confidential consultation. Remember, the big insurance companies rarely give you what you deserve immediately after a slip and fall accident. You need an aggressive, experienced litigator to get you the most compensation, and SJ Injury Law is ready to fight for you.
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