A slip and fall accident can happen anywhere, and most accidents are avoidable results of the property owner’s negligence. Although some accidents can be minor, for many others they are serious and even life-altering events. Victims and their families need a law firm they can count on to demand the compensation they need after a slip and fall. That’s why they trust the Chicago personal injury attorneys of Hale & Monico.
Why Do Slip And Falls Happen?
Slip and fall accidents typically occur due to some condition on the property that poses an unreasonable risk to others. What makes these conditions unreasonable is that they are known (or should be known) to the property owner, who has failed to address it. Slip and falls happen in these and other situations:
- Accumulated snow or ice
- Wet floors and walkways
- Freshly mopped floors
- Oil and other slick substances
- Uneven or broken sidewalks or parking lots
- Uneven or broken stairs or steps
- Missing or broken handrails
- Poor lighting that obscures hazards
- Ripped, torn, folded, or bunched up rugs or mats
- Holes or other objects in the ground
Common Slip And Fall Injuries
You may only suffer a bruise along with other minor injuries if you slip and fall. But all too many victims suffer more serious problems such as:
- Head injuries, including traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord, neck, and back injuries
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Paralysis and disability
Not all injuries are readily apparent, or they may seem to be minor at first. But they can manifest themselves or become more severe with time. That’s why it’s vital that you seek immediate medical attention, even if you don’t believe you are seriously hurt. If you fail to do so, and your injuries worsen later, it could be more difficult to get the compensation you need.
What Do You Have To Prove In A Slip And Fall Case?
Slip and fall accidents raise the issue of premises liability. That refers to the property owner’s responsibility to maintain a safe premises that is free of unreasonable dangers. Like other premises liability cases, a slip and fall lawsuit can be brought against a number of different property owners: private homeowners, retail and other commercial establishments, and even state, local, and federal governments.
To prove your case, you have to show that the owner was negligent in some way. This starts with establishing the existence of the condition (like the ones listed above) that caused you to get hurt.
In some cases, these dangerous conditions are present because they were directly caused by the property owner. In other words, the owner took some action which made the property unreasonably hazardous. An example might be if the owner spilled something slick on the floor, didn’t bother to clean it up or put a “wet floor” sign, and then you get injured as a result if slipping on it.
But most of the time, the condition is there because the owner failed to maintain the property. Situations like these often involve the question of actual versus constructive notice. “Actual notice” means the owner either saw or created the hazard, while “constructive notice” means the owner should have seen or been aware of it.
Constructive notice cases can be tricky. An owner cannot simply turn a blind eye to hazardous conditions on the property. But the victim must still demonstrate that the owner should reasonably have known about the risk under the circumstances. In many cases, the amount of time that the hazard was allowed to be present will have a direct bearing on the question of constructive notice.
For example, let’s say it has snowed heavily in the property owner’s parking lot. If you walk onto the parking lot immediately after the storm stops, and you slip, it could be argued that the owner didn’t have enough time to reasonably know about and correct the problem. On the other hand, if the snow is allowed to sit for hours, freeze overnight, and then someone slips on it, the owner may be deemed to have had constructive notice of the danger.
The owner has to take reasonable steps to either correct the dangerous condition or put up adequate warning signs to visitors. Failure to do so may be considered negligence.
Possible Compensation For Your Accident
The primary goal of financial compensation is to get you back to the position you were in before your slip and fall accident. To that end, these are the possible types of compensation for which you may be eligible:
- Medical bills for past, present, and future treatments
- Prescription medication expenses
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy costs
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Expenses related to any temporary or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering and emotional distress
What To Do After A Slip And Fall
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, get medical attention right away. Next, to the extent you can, start gathering evidence about what happened. That could include:
- Photo or video evidence of the hazardous condition, which could be corrected if you wait too long
- The identities of any witnesses to your accident, including their names and contact information
- Copies of your medical bills
- Documentation of your lost wages and decreased earning capacity
- Any personal notes you took about the accident
Next, consult an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney.
Hale & Monico Can Help
It’s important to not wait too long to take legal action after your slip and fall accident. Illinois law sets a time limit of two years in most cases, after which you will be barred from filing a lawsuit. But the sooner you act, the easier it will be to preserve evidence and build a case.
Turn to Hale & Monico. We understand Illinois personal injury law and we know how to win the compensation our slip and fall clients deserve. Reach out to us today.