Personal Injury Attorney Keith Shindler On Slip & Fall Cases

slip and fall accidents




Slip & Fall Accident Cases In Illinois, Wisconsin, & Kentucky

Good afternoon, I am Keith Shindler coming to you for another edition of personal injury and Facebook Live, this one will cover slip & fall accidents. I do these sessions to try and bring to the community information about how you can help yourself recover damages and perfect your personal injury case. We welcome positive comments and questions. You can always call us at Claim Your Justice at 847-434-3555.

In our first episode, we discussed who pays for costs when a client is pursuing a personal injury case. In the second episode, we discuss what to do in the event of a car accident. In the third episode, we discussed chain reaction types of accidents.

Slip & Fall Accidents Are Common

Today I want to discuss slip & fall and trip and fall cases. Very basic, right? Someone is walking, they slip, fall, and injure themselves, or someone is walking, and trip and they fall and injure themselves. With the winter here, slip & fall accidents are prevalent. Even without the weather conditions, it could happen in a store. It could happen in a parking lot. It can occur when walking from a parking lot into a store.

This past week alone, I received three calls regarding slip & fall accidents. The first call was from a woman who fell at the Greyhound station in downtown Chicago. She had a severe injury where she broke her foot and required surgery. Another person tripped outside of the hospital. She fractured her hip and required surgery. Another prospective client slipped on ice coming out of the apartment building and fractured their leg.

Pictures Are Crucial To A Slip & Fall Accident Case

As you can see, these types of accidents frequently lead to severe injuries. If the victim properly documents and constructs the incident’s scene, the cases can succeed. However, the common element of the three cases that I just mentioned is that they had no pictures. Why do we need pictures? I’ll get to that in a second.

When I ask a person if they had pictures of an incident where they tripped and fell or slipped and fell, and they say no, I find it a little bit unusual because in our everyday lives if someone sees a fight, what’s the first thing they do? They whip out their phone. If someone sees a car accident, what’s the first thing they do? They whip out their phone. If someone sees anything that may be newsworthy or interesting to them from a social media perspective, they’re all over their phones.

They don’t even think of it when something happens personally, such as these three callers. I understand they were injured. They were in pain and needed help. But the fact of the matter is if you don’t get a picture of the area where you fell, send a family member back to get photos at the time of the fall. Or ask someone at the hospital, ask the ambulance driver. It’s a critically important part of building the case.

I, as your attorney, need to establish that there was some defective condition that the property owner or the company that takes care of the maintenance of the building did not properly address, and therefore it caused you to fall. It’s challenging and sometimes impossible for me to file a slip & fall lawsuit without this kind of evidence. Let’s look at the Greyhound station case. I go after the Greyhound station. I said my client fell in your facility. The first question is, where did they fall? Well, my client doesn’t have an exact location. She said it was on my way to the bathroom. Look at the other case, a person trips coming out of a hospital. There could be sidewalks that aren’t properly maintained. There could be sidewalks under construction, and there’s no proper signage—or cordoning off the construction site.

Those are all beneficial things that could help support a case, but I’m helpless without a picture. If it’s ice, those are complex cases. However, if there was what’s called in the law an ‘unnatural accumulation of ice, it helps me. I can help you recover substantial money with the correct facts.

In any personal injury case, you need a duty, a breach of the duty, a proximate cause, and damages. We’ll discuss duty and breach of duty in a later session. Damages are easy to understand. Someone’s injured, they fracture a bone, and they have surgery. Those are damages. Proximate cause. In law school, they taught us it’s called the “but for.”

But if the property owner had not properly maintained their property, this person would not have been injured. But for the company in charge of maintenance, the person wouldn’t have been injured. But the person wouldn’t have been injured if the construction company’s negligence in taking care of a repair job on a particular site. It’s called proximate cause. It’s a substantial element, a necessary element of a personal injury case.

How do we prove “but for”? Pictures, pictures, pictures. I had a recent case, we discussed it with you at the end of January, and I’ll touch on it again today. Our client was walking on a city street on a sidewalk that had something that’s called an uneven slabbing. So you have one high slab, another slab that is sunken down low. If they’re very close, it’s difficult to maintain a case, and this was not very close.

The client fell and fractured her wrist. She had surgery, and she called us right away. The first perfect thing they did was to help us represent them properly. In the case they talked to me, I said, please get someone out there to take pictures, they sent a relative out, took pictures, and we were able to establish the depth of difference, which was approximately three and a half inches. The images helped me confirm that “but for” the negligence in maintaining that particular sidewalk, the person would not have fallen.

I don’t mean to be redundant. I apologize if you think you’ve heard this five times already in the eight minutes we talked. It’s necessary. Once you get pictures, I can use those pictures to establish where the accident happened, how the accident happened, etc.

Sometimes, if a facility has security cameras, those security cameras’ videos could have captured the actual fall. It’s hard to get video. If it’s a neighbor’s video from like a Ring doorbell, it may be possible. If it’s a video from the person who’s maintaining the store, the house, or the other type of structure, they’re never going to turn it over voluntarily. I can get through litigation to discovery. But it’s difficult to put together a case that way.

On the issue of a Ring Doorbell, we can go around to the houses that may be around the incident scene. Everyone seems to have a ring doorbell or other type of doorbell that records these things. We take the time to knock on the door of those houses or other businesses and say, “Hey, can we get a copy of the video? If I get the video, I can help you.

Call Slip & Fall Attorney Keith Schindler Now

So let’s sum it up. I know you’re injured. I know people can get seriously injured in these trips and falls. My sister-in-law was very seriously injured, and it’s critical to take the pictures, please. Remember if you’re injured in a slip & fall accident, car accident, trip, fall, medical malpractice, or wrongful death. Let Claim Your Justice help you. Call 847-434-3555. We’re here to help you. Thank you. This has been Keith Shindler. Have a successful rest of your week.

Are Slip and Fall Cases Hard to Win?

Slip and Fall

Slip and fall accidents are common, especially in inclement weather. Everyone can recall a time that they slipped on a slick surface, tripped, or perhaps even fell. Fortunately, most of the slip and fall accidents are relatively minor, and those involved don’t suffer from serious injuries.

In many cases, however, slip and fall accidents can be serious – a victim falls on an especially hard surface or at a dangerous angle, or perhaps falls from a great height or lands on something and is injured.

These accidents are sometimes the fault of dangerous conditions. At Claim Your Justice, our experienced slip and fall attorneys in Schaumburg, IL can help you if you’ve been injured because of a slip and fall accident. To learn more about how we can serve you, call our law firm directly today or send us a message at your convenience.

Property Owner’s Duty of Care and Slip and Fall Accidents

When a slip and fall occurs and someone else is to blame, the victim has the right to bring a personal injury claim for damages. Typically, this claim is brought against the property owner where the accident occurred. However, merely slipping and falling on someone’s property doesn’t mean that the property owner will be liable; instead, a slip and fall victim will need to prove that the property owner breached the duty of care owed to the person.

The duty of care of a property owner is to maintain a property in a safe condition and to correct any known hazards within a reasonable amount of time. If this duty is breached and someone is injured as a result, the property owner can be held liable for their damages (assuming that the victim was on the property lawfully).

Common causes of slip and falls that are the result of a property owner’s failure to maintain a property in a reasonably safe condition include:

  • Broken stairs
  • Broken elevators and escalators
  • Debris in walkways
  • Lack of handrails or defective handrails
  • Falling objects
  • Spills of food, drink, or other substances
  • Torn carpet
  • Depressions or holes in walking areas
  • Many others

What Does a “Reasonable” Amount of Time Mean?

Property owners aren’t expected to be in a position where hazards never exist on the property; after all, spills and other types of accidents and damages happen. But they are expected to repair any known hazards (or hazards that should have been known) within a reasonable amount of time.

What is “reasonable” can vary from situation to situation. For example, if an elevator is broken, it’s probably reasonable for a property owner to put up a sign warning of the hazard of using the elevator nearly immediately upon learning of the problem, but it may be a few days before a property owner is able to get a repair person to come out. On the other hand, if there is a spill in the grocery store, there’s no reason that it shouldn’t be corrected immediately upon a staff member or manager being given notice.

Different Duties Owed to Different People

Another thing to think about in slip and fall (and general premises liability) claims is the duty of care that’s owed to a person on the property. As mentioned above, a property owner owes a duty to those who are on the property to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition; however, this duty only extends to those who own the property lawfully as invitees or licensees.

The only duty that a property owner owes to a trespasser is to refrain from causing the trespasser willful or wanton harm. This law is found in the Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 740 ILCS 130.

Frequently Asked Questions About Slip and Fall Claims 

We know that when you or a loved one has been harmed in a slip and fall accident, you want answers to the questions that you have about your rights and what to do. Consider some of the following answers to many of the frequently asked questions that we receive from clients, and feel free to reach out to us directly to schedule a free consultation if you are ready to learn more. 

  1. How do You Prove Negligence in a Slip and Fall?

To win a slip and fall claim against a property owner, you’ll need to prove the following:

  • A hazardous condition existed on a property
  • The hazardous condition was the proximate cause of your injuries (i.e. you slipped on unremoved ice, resulting in a tailbone fracture)
  • The property owner knew or should have known of the condition
  • The property owner failed to remedy the condition in a reasonable amount of time or post any notice or warning about the condition

To prove this, you’ll need to collect evidence that shows that the condition existed for a certain amount of time and the property owner knew of the condition. Maintenance request forms, complaint forms, and even statements from eyewitnesses may help you to prove this.

This is usually the most difficult element of a slip and fall claim – our lawyers will open an investigation on your behalf and be responsible for collecting all the evidence you need.

  1. Who is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?

So far we have focused on the role of a property owner in a slip and fall claim, a property owner is not the only part who might be to blame. Other parties who may be responsible include.

  • The victim themselves. If the victim’s own negligence or clumsiness caused the slip and fall, then there is no one to blame but themselves. Sometimes, the victim may be partially to blame. For example, consider a slip and fall case in which the victim slips on ice. Surely, the accident would not have happened had the property owner removed the ice. Similarly, though, the property owner argues that the fall would not have happened had the victim not been wearing heels instead of boots or running when they should have been walking. If fault is shared, then a victim’s damages may be diminished in proportion to their degree of fault.
  • A product manufacturer. Some slip and fall accidents are the result of defective products. For example, consider an incident in which a shelf collapses in a grocery store, resulting in spilled produce that leads to guests falling. Had the shelf not been defectively manufactured or designed, perhaps the spill – and the subsequent injuries – would not have happened.
  • Another third party. Some slip and falls are the result of the actions of other third parties, such as a rowdy Black Friday shopper who pushes over another to rush the store. Again, our lawyers can investigate your case to determine who’s to blame.
  1. How Much Time do you Have to Sue After a Slip and Fall?

The statute of limitations in Illinois is two years and in Wisconsin, it is three years. This means that you have two years in Illinois and three years in Wisconsin from the date of your slip and fall to file a lawsuit for damages. However, while you have time to file a lawsuit, you should certainly initiate the claims process earlier than that. Not only do you want to make sure that any evidence relevant to your claim is preserved, but you also want to begin the claims process and settlement negotiations processes early so you have as much time as possible to reach a settlement before being forced to file a lawsuit to not breach the statute of limitations.

  1. How are Slip and Fall Settlements Calculated?

If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident and you can prove that someone else was to blame for the accident, then you can seek compensation for the full value of your damages. This includes compensation for your economic costs, such as medical expenses and lost wages; non-economic costs, such as pain and suffering damages and diminished quality of life; and even punitive damages if the slip and fall was the result of the reckless and outrageous actions of the defendant.

Punitive damages are possible in certain cases. Economic damages are calculated based on their actual value – i.e. if you suffer $100,000 in medical bills, you can seek $100,000 in compensation for your medical bills. Noneconomic damages are calculated based on the degree of your injuries, the amount of suffering you’re likely to experience, for how long the suffering is expected to continue, and other factors.

  1. What is a Typical Pain and Suffering Settlement?

The amount of damages a person will recover in a pain and suffering settlement varies dramatically from case-to-case. You should consult with an attorney who can give you a more accurate idea of how much you can expect after the attorney has thoroughly reviewed your case.

Call Our Schaumburg, IL and Milwaukee, WI Slip and Fall Lawyers Today

If you have been in a slip and fall accident in Schaumburg, IL, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced law firm today for your free consultation.