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A slip and fall might not be the most dramatic of accidents, but it can cause significant injuries and involve great expense. You might injure your wrist after slipping on an icy Chicago store entrance, or break a leg falling down your Evanston neighbor’s poorly-kept steps. In Illinois, what happens next is based on the rules on slip and fall accidents. They explain when a property owner is liable for damages, and the compensation that a victim could claim.
It is important to document as much as possible about the circumstances of a slip and fall accident. Taking photos of the scene and the hazard which caused the fall is very helpful. Finding out the details of any witnesses who saw the accident is also useful. You should also make a note of anything the property owner or their employees say about the accident.
A slip and fall victim should keep a record of all medical treatment and expenses, as well as any relevant documents on, for example, missed work due to the accident, or emotional suffering caused by the fall.
When a person injures themselves in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, they might be able to make a claim for damages. To do this, they will need to show that the property owner was at fault for the accident. This means showing that the accident was the result of a dangerous condition that:
For example, a person who slips on a newly-cleaned floor in a grocery store could claim damages if the hazard was not cordoned off or marked, and wasn’t obviously dangerous to a reasonable person. The store owner has been negligent in not foreseeing the danger of the condition.
In many slip and fall accidents, the person injured will share responsibility for the accident happening. They may have ignored an obvious danger, or not been paying attention to their surroundings. In these situations, Illinois law applies a concept of "contributory fault". This means that a court will work out, as a percentage, how far the victim has contributed to the accident happening.
For example, a victim who is found to be 30 percent at fault could claim damages for their injuries, but overall compensation will be reduced by 30 percent.
The Illinois statute of limitations says that a slip and fall case must be filed within two years of the accident happening. A personal injury attorney will be able to advise on whether a claim should be delayed to ensure the full extent of a victim’s injury and expenses are known before claiming damages.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified slip and fall lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local slip and fall attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.