Articles Posted in Slip and Fall Accidents

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Customers of a business who are injured by a hazardous condition while on the premises of a business may have a cause of action against the business or property owner if certain conditions are met. Business owners have a duty to prevent hazardous conditions that may injure their customers, and may be held accountable for negligence in the event someone is injured while on the property. The duty is not absolute, however, as demonstrated by a recent federal appellate court decision that prevented an Illinois premises liability lawsuit from going to trial, and ultimately precluded the plaintiff from obtaining relief.

The plaintiff in the recently decided case is a man who was injured when he tripped on a display sign while shopping at the defendant hardware store. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff was injured when he was moving large pieces of lumber from a pile in a lumberyard, and tripped on a display sign that was not in its proper place. The plaintiff filed an Illinois personal injury lawsuit against the defendant, claiming that the defendant was negligent by allowing the display to be placed in a dangerous position and creating a hazard that caused his injuries.

Before the case went to trial, the defendant filed a motion with the district court arguing that the hazardous condition presented by the sign was open and obvious, and that the plaintiff either saw it before he tripped or should have seen it, and that his case should not proceed to trial as a result. The district court ruled that under Illinois law, injuries caused by an open and obvious hazard do not qualify for a claim of damages, and ruled in favor of the defendant, resulting in the plaintiff’s appeal.

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Under Illinois premises liability law, landowners owe a general duty of care to those whom they invite onto their property. Illinois has abolished the common-law distinction between invitees and licensees, and as a result, regardless of the purpose of an invited guest’s visit, a landowner must “exercise reasonable care under the circumstances.” To establish that a landowner is legally responsible in a Chicago slip-and-fall accident Case, the accident victim must show that the defendant landowner breached this duty and that the defendant’s breach resulted in the victim’s injuries.

Building codes can help a plaintiff prove that a defendant landowner was negligent. Chicago building codes are enacted to ensure the safety of all residents, not just those who live in or frequent the area in question. Deficiencies in a building’s stairs and staircases are some of the most common violations of the municipal building codes. The specific requirements for a staircase can depend on several factors, most importantly, whether the building is used for institutional or residential use. The following are some of the municipal code requirements for Chicago staircases:

  • The maximum height of each stair, or riser, in institutional settings is 7.5 inches, with the minimum width of a staircase being 10 inches
  • The maximum height of each stair in other settings (including residential homes), is 7.5 inches
  • Winding staircases cannot be used for building exits except in residential homes
  • The maximum height of a flight of stairs in an institutional setting is nine feet
  • All staircases greater than 44 inches long must have handrails on both sides (and others must have a handrail on both sides)
  • Staircases must offer at least 6’8” in clearance
  • All staircases must be lighted

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Understanding if Your Slip and Fall Case was Caused by Negligent Actions

While a slip and fall may sound like a slapstick routine, these accidents are often extremely serious and can lead to significant injuries. Illinois property owners owe their visitors a duty of care that amounts to affording those visitors safe passage through the property in question. If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s in your best interest to retain legal counsel – such claims are often complicated, but your rights and your rightful compensation matter.

What is a premises liability claim?

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Millions of people slip and fall down each year in the United States. Slips and falls can happen anywhere and anytime, but retail stores are common locations for these types of accidents. Stores come in all shapes and sizes—from small boutiques to designer stores on Michigan Avenue to large “big box” stores such as Walmart or Target. No matter what the size or type of store, owners and management have the duty to keep the premises safe for their customers.

Store employees or managers can easily neglect their duties and forget to fully inspect their premises for hazards or address any dangerous conditions in timely ways. Unfortunately, this can lead unsuspecting customers to encounter a hazard and slip and fall down. In such cases, victims should hold the store fully liable for any losses and injuries stemming from the fall.

How the Holiday Rush Leads to Slips and Falls