Slip and fall accidents happen often, especially when the weather is wet or icy in Schaumburg and the greater Chicago area. When you go on errands or to work, slipping and falling is not at the top of your mind, but it can happen, and sometimes it is not your fault.
If you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, it is not enough to say that the property owner caused it. Instead, you must prove that the property owner did not act reasonably and that failure led to your injuries. Learn more about how to win a slip and fall case in this post, then speak to our Schaumburg slip and fall lawyer at SJ Injury Law to file a claim.
Illinois Premises Liability Act
The Illinois Premises Liability Act describes property owners’ legal duties to invitees and licensees. Under this law, the property owner can be liable for a slippery surface and similar dangerous conditions on their property if they knew or should have known of the hazardous condition.
Also, the property owners are liable if they should have known the unsafe condition presented a risk of harm. Further, the property owners could be sued for damages if they did not exercise reasonable care to protect invitees from the condition.
For instance, suppose a grocery store customer knocks over a bottle of olive oil onto the floor. The grocery store has a legal responsibility to clean up the spill or otherwise “rope off” the spill area to prevent a customer from slipping and falling. Or, if a homeowner did not clear the ice in front of their house and the ice was the result on an unnatural accumulation, and you fell, you could file a claim against them or their homeowner’s insurance policy.
What Is A Slip And Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents are estimated to send over one million Americans to Emergency Rooms annually. Property owners and property operators know they are responsible for keeping their properties and sidewalks safe for consumers, guests, and passersby. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to recover damages when they do not meet their obligations.
However, where you slipped and fell makes a big difference. For example, slipping and falling in your house will probably not allow you to claim that someone else caused your injury. But, you could have a case if you are seriously injured and falling on a slippery floor at the bank or on a wet floor in a grocery store. In either situation, you were theoretically injured on their property, and if the business did not keep a safe environment and you were injured.
How To Prove A Slip And Fall Case
You can pursue a premises liability claim in Illinois when you fall on someone’s property and get seriously hurt. For you to prove that the property owner is responsible for your injuries, the following must be proven:
- Duty of care: The property owner had a duty of care to you. For example, if you were a business invitee at the grocery store, the store has a duty of care to ensure the property is safe and free of obvious hazards, such as a wet floor.
- Breach of duty: After you establish the owner had a duty of care, you must prove they breached their duty and were negligent. For example, if there was a wet floor at the grocery store’s entrance and there was no Wet Floor sign, this could be a breach of duty.
- Causation: After you prove the owner was negligent, your attorney must show their negligence caused your injuries.
How To Help Your Attorney Win The Case
You have the burden of proof in your slip and fall case, and there are things you can do to assist your attorney. You can help your lawyer prove hazard and fault by being completely honest about the circumstances surrounding the incident. ALSO, TAKE PICTURES OF WHERE YOU FELL.
Proving Hazard And Fault
Under Illinois law, you must prove that the condition that injured you was hazardous. Although, it might seem obvious to you that the wet floor at the convenience store was a hazard, convincing a judge or jury is another matter. A condition under the law is considered hazardous if it poses a potential risk of harm to you. For instance, a potentially dangerous condition could be a wet floor, uneven sidewalk, broken stairs, missing handrail on stairs, or an icy walkway. You also have to provide evidence that the hazard caused your injuries.
When you have shown that the situation was hazardous and led to your injuries, some issues could come up in the case to determine fault. Your attorney would need to know if there were any acts of yours that could have prevented you from noticing the wet floor. For example, were you talking to a friend or texting on your phone?
Next, were you legally allowed to be at the property when you slipped and fell, or were you a trespasser? For example, if you were at a place of business during business hours, you were allowed to be there. But if you were there after hours or without the owner’s permission, this could cause problems in your case.
Also, were there any signs that warned you of a hazardous condition? For example, was there a Wet Floor sign at the spot where the floor was slick, and you fell? Would a ‘reasonable person’ have acted in the same way you did in that situation?
All of these points regarding hazard and fault matter in your slip and fall case because you must be less than 51% at fault to recover compensation. This is the modified comparative negligence rule that is followed in Illinois. In addition, the property owner’s insurance company will likely look for a way to hold you at least partially at fault for the accident. So, remember to be honest with your lawyer about your role in the incident. The truth will come out eventually, so if there is a chance you were partially at fault, tell your attorney right away so they are prepared when that comes up.
Should You Sue For A Slip And Fall Injury?
Occasionally, the injuries suffered from slips and falls cause serious injuries. So, you should always consider whether the owner of the property or the store where you were injured was obligated to keep you safe. Some of the potentially responsible parties in a Schaumburg slip and fall accident might be:
- The local, state, or federal government
- A retail store chain
- The owner of an apartment building
- Shop owners and their workers
- Someone who owns private property, such as a home
The premises injury attorneys at SJ Injury Law can review your slip and fall case to determine if someone else might be liable. Remember, if someone had a duty to keep you safe, you could hold them responsible for your injuries and losses.
How Long Do You Have To File A Slip And Fall Claim?
In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a personal injury claim. However, this time can pass quickly, so you should speak to a premises liability attorney about your claim today. Call 847-434-3555 now.
How Much Can You Get For A Slip And Fall Case?
Every slip-and-fall case is different, but many slip-and-fall cases in Illinois settle for between $15,000 and $45,000. How much you receive largely depends on your degree of injury, your time out of work and pain and suffering.
You would probably get a smaller settlement if you suffer a strained back from your slip and fall that keeps you out of work for a week. However, if the slip and fall cause you to slip a disc and your back that requires surgery, you can expect a larger settlement for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.
Contact Our Schaumburg Slip And Fall Lawyer Today
Any time you were injured in a slip and fall on someone else’s property, have an attorney review the case. A slip-and-fall lawyer can help you get the best settlement if someone was negligent. First, your attorney will investigate the case to determine potentially liable parties, then they will send a demand letter to attempt to settle the case.
The property owner’s insurance company may not initially offer much money to settle the case. But your attorney will negotiate with them after determining what your claim is worth. Your attorney can take the case to trial if the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement. Most personal injury claims result in a settlement to avoid the cost and time of going to court, but if necessary, your lawyer can take the insurance company to court and win.,
Were you injured in a slip-and-fall accident? An attorney can help you determine if another party may be liable for your injuries. Speak to our Schaumburg slip and fall lawyer at SJ Injury Law at (847) 434-3555.
This information is not intended to be legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters, and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an Attorney-Client relationship. An Attorney-Client relationship is created when you sign a written agreement with our law firm. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an Attorney-Client relationship has been established.