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How to Make a Claim for Slip and Fall Accidents

When you go to the doctor’s office, a restaurant, or a grocery store, the last thing you are thinking about is leaving with an injury you did not arrive with. Property owners are required to exercise a proper duty of care to those who are visiting their premises to conduct business.

Duty of care means should a property owner be aware of a hazard that can cause a slip and fall accident, they must take immediate steps to resolve the issue. They must act in the same manner that a reasonable person would act given the same set of facts. For example, if a grocery store employee spills liquid in an aisle and fails to clean it up as soon as possible or fails to post to sign indicating that there is a wet floor posing a slip and fall danger, this is not reasonable. Nor is it reasonable to allow the railing of a staircase to loosen, or the carpeting on its stairs to wear away and develop holes that can catch a shoe heel. If you fell and injured yourself in such a situation, you may have a legal case. For more specific information about your accident contact Abels & Annes to speak with a skilled slip and fall accident attorney today.

5 Steps to File a Claim

Regardless of how the accident occurred, there are instances where you need to understand the process of filing a slip and fall claim in Illinois. There are specific steps to take, including:

Step One: Notifying the property owner – Immediately notify either the property owner or property manager if you are injured in a building, driveway, or sidewalk.

Step Two: Document everything – You will want to carefully document anything that appears to be pertinent. First, take photographs when possible, make notes about the conditions that caused you to fall.

Step Three: Collect contact information – If there were any witnesses to the incident, you should collect their names and contact information. This will be important should you need to prove the conditions in the building, what you were doing at the time of the fall, or prove there were no warning signs.

Step Four: Seek medical attention – If you’ve been injured, even if you believe the injuries are not too serious, you should seek medical attention after a slip and fall. This is important, because the fall itself can be frightening; in such an event, your body will flood with adrenaline, which can mask injuries.

Step Five: Contact a premises liability attorney – Even if you do not believe you have a serious injury, it’s wise to contact an attorney who has experience dealing with slip and fall accidents.  The sooner the better. Depending on the situation, sometimes a lawyer might want to visit the scene of the accident, or have an architect inspect, before a dangerous condition has been repaired by the property owner or manager.

Contact a Slip and Fall Attorney

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David Abels, Slip & Fall Accident Lawyer

Once you have notified the property owner or manager, they will likely contact their insurance agent. This means one of the first telephone calls you will likely get is from the insurance adjuster. Remember, their job is to protect their client, the insurance company. They might ask you a host of questions, including, “How are you feeling?”

Their goal is to minimize the potential amount of claim they might pay. Never try to negotiate with an insurer on your own; a skilled premises liability attorney will work out the details of a final settlement when they have all the information they need, and will know how to prevent an insurer from taking advantage of you.

Slip and Fall Accident Claim Values

Every accident is different. When you start with that premise, you will understand that there is no one-size-fits-all calculator that can tell you how much you may be able to collect after a slip and fall accident. Some of the factors that will play a role in determining how much you can collect in damages include:

  • Extent of your injuries – Cuts and bruises are painful and can lead to an infection. However, a broken hip can cost you time from work, require surgery, and require follow-up care for rehabilitation purposes.
  • Lost time from work – If your injuries are serious enough to warrant losing time from work, your claim can increase. If you suffer merely from cuts and bruises and need to take a day or two off for medical care, you would be losing time from work to attend doctor visits.  However you could lose months of work if, for example, you had to undergo surgery to repair a fractured ankle.
  • Pain and suffering – Some slip and fall accidents can cause long-term pain, particularly with more significant injuries. Pain and suffering may be included in your settlement discussions.
  • Loss of enjoyment – If your injuries cause you to miss out on family vacations, birthday parties, etc. these are considered non-monetary damages and you may be able to make a claim.

Continue Recording Changes After a Slip and Fall Accident

You may think once you have contacted an attorney who has begun negotiating with an insurer, or has filed a lawsuit on your behalf, that you do not have to be concerned about changes in your physical or mental condition. Never assume that changes are irrelevant, even if negotiations have started, or you have a scheduled court date. Record any changes in your medical condition, your physical abilities, or your mental state as they can be used to strengthen your claim for damages.

For those who have suffered a serious injury, such as a broken hip, back, or neck injuries, or a concussion after a slip and fall, physical changes often take place over time. Not all reactions are going to appear within 24 to 48 hours of an accident occurring. You should keep track of any doctor visits you make, changes to your normal routine as a result of your injuries, and the wages you are losing when you are recovering from your injuries or attending physician visits. Provide this information to your slip and fall lawyer who can maintain a complete record.

Slipping and falling in a place you believed to be safe is scary, and you probably do not understand what rights you have under Illinois law. You need to focus on recovering physically from any injuries you are suffering. When you contact an Illinois personal injury attorney, you can focus on getting healthy while they focus on getting you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

Whether at home, in an office, a parking lot, or a store, we don’t expect to suddenly slip and fall. But this can and does happen, and it happens frequently. In fact, falls account for over eight-million hospital visits annually in the United States.

If it seems that slipping and falling cause more embarrassment than physical injury, it’s shocking how serious the injuries that result can be. Falling can cause serious injuries, and if you or a loved one has slipped and fallen, you may face a long recovery and high medical bills. To give you the best chance of making a complete recovery without having to pay those bills out of your own pocket, you need to speak with a seasoned Illinois slip and fall accident lawyer.

Where Slip and Fall Accidents Happen

In short, slip and fall accidents happen anywhere. The most common locations for a slip and fall accident to occur are:

  • Faulty stairs and escalators
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets
  • Sidewalks, driveways, and parking lots
  • Restaurants
  • Homes
  • Gyms
  • Hotels
  • Work
  • Stores and malls

Many people are so embarrassed at falling, they want to get away as quickly as possible. Trying to walk away after an injury can cause further injury to you, however. More importantly, you cannot document the scene and understand what caused your fall.

Common Injuries

Slip-and-Fall-Accident-Injury-768x512Slipping and falling is a serious issue. Twenty percent of falls result in injuries of broken bones or worse. Common injuries resulting from a slip and fall accident include:

  • Cuts and bruises
  • Sprained ankles or wrists
  • Knee damage
  • Dislocated shoulder
  • Muscle strain
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries

Slipping and falling is not something to take lightly. It shouldn’t be ignored. There is real potential for serious and life-changing injuries. Understanding what happened can help you better discuss your injuries with your doctor to create a treatment plan which helps you recover.

Depending on the severity of your injuries, you could face multiple medical procedures and rehabilitation. This results in high medical bills. But you shouldn’t be on the hook to pay these bills, because you didn’t cause the accident. This is when it’s important to speak with a trusted personal injury lawyer in Illinois who can help you get back on your feet.

Steps to Take After a Slip and Fall

The steps you take immediately after your slip and fall can impact the success of your personal injury claim. To give yourself the best chance of a successful claim, follow these steps.

  1. Call 911. Even if you don’t think your injuries are severe, calling 911 will allow you the opportunity to be seen by a medical professional. It will also make sure the police document your accident scene. Was there liquid on the floor? Were there deep cracks on the sidewalk? Was there a sign warning of potential danger? All of these questions will be answered by the police report.
  2. Seek medical assistance. Calling 911 will get you immediate medical help. But follow up after your accident with your regular doctor who knows you best. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and determine if you need specialized help or identify late-manifesting issues like a torn meniscus or traumatic brain injuries.
  3. Take pictures. Besides a police report, one of the best ways to document your accident is to take pictures. Get images of any liquid or crack you may have tripped over. Take pictures of any warning signs or lack thereof. Get images of your injuries.
  4. Keep a journal. After your slip and fall, it’s important to keep a journal of your recovery. Writing in it daily will ensure you don’t forget how you’re doing from day to day. It’s easy to get better and not remember all of the pain and suffering you endured. Keeping a journal describing your daily condition and how you’re improving will help to show what you went through during your recovery.
  5. Speak with a personal injury lawyer. The right legal team can make a difference in your personal injury claim. Hiring a personal injury lawyer with documented results, helping clients just like you get better, is a great way to give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your physical recovery while we focus on getting you the compensation you deserve.

Taking these steps will help you on the path to recovery. Your injuries are limiting your ability to live your life. Your sole focus should be on your recovery. We help you do that by aggressively seeking the compensation you need to pay your medical bills.

Seeking Compensation

The most important thing to remember is that you didn’t cause your injuries, so you should play no part in paying the medical bills. You need to get better. You deserve to get better. And the way to do that is to seek compensation from the negligent party. As your slip and fall accident attorney, we can fight to get you compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs
  • Lost wages

While it’s true that fewer than two percent of cases go all the way to trial, you want a lawyer who is fully prepared to take your case to trial if that’s what is required to get you the compensation you deserve. Some insurance companies don’t want to settle your case for a fair amount. You need the compensation to pay your bills, but shouldn’t settle if it’s not right for you.

Experience matters in personal injury cases. When you have experienced and seasoned personal injury lawyers at your side, you show the insurance company you’re not messing around. Simply hiring a skilled and trusted firm can help push your case to a settlement that works for you.

Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help You?

If you’re unsure what to do following a slip and fall accident, an attorney can help you understand what to do next. An attorney can investigate your accident, review medical records and police reports, look at the pictures you took, negotiate with insurance companies, and protect your rights at trial, if necessary. If you have more questions regarding a slip and fall, consider contacting an attorney you trust to help you understand your options.

Appellate Court Affirms Ruling by District Judge in Illinois Premises Liability Case

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.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit took up the case, and after looking deeper into the facts of the case and relevant law, agreed with the district court’s ruling. Specifically, the appellate court noted that the plaintiff himself admitted to reading the display sign prior to selecting the lumber, and thus he must have seen its position before tripping over it and suffering the injuries. The court further ruled that the defendant had sufficient precautions in place to prevent tripping hazards and should not be required to constantly monitor the lumberyard to remove tripping hazards as soon as they occur. Relying on these two considerations, the appellate court found that the defendant owed the plaintiff no duty to prevent the sign from becoming a hazard to the plaintiff, and therefore affirmed the district court judgment.

Have You Been Injured?

If you or someone you know has been injured in an Illinois slip and fall or by any other hazard while frequenting a business or private dwelling, you may be entitled to compensation from the property owner. Illinois property owners owe a duty of care to prevent hazards on their property from endangering the public. The Chicago personal injury and premises liability attorneys at, Abels & Annes, P.C. are qualified, and have the experience necessary to handle your case with the diligence and care that you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to determine if you may be entitled to compensation for your loss. If you have been injured, call 312-924-7575 or contact us online to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.

Why Building Code Violations Can Be Crucial in a Chicago Slip-and-Fall Case

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

By establishing that a building code violation exists and was responsible for their accident, Chicago slip-and-fall victims can more easily prove that a landowner is legally responsible for their injuries through the doctrine of negligence per se. Negligence per se is a legal principle in which the defendant’s violation of a law, code, or regulation can be taken as evidence that the defendant was legally negligent. This prevents the need for the plaintiff to prove the “duty” and “breach” elements of a negligence claim. Thus, when negligence per se applies, a plaintiff must only prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of their injuries.

Have You Been Injured in a Chicago Staircase Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently fallen down the stairs or suffered another injury related to the use of a staircase or wheelchair ramp, the dedicated Chicago premise liability attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. can help. At Abels & Annes, we represent Illinois slip-and-fall victims in claims against negligent property owners, seeking full compensation for all of our clients’ injuries. We have decades of collective experience helping accident victims pursue claims for compensation and look forward to meeting with you to discuss your case. Call us at 312-924-7575, or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Because we work on a contingency basis, we will not get paid unless we can help you obtain compensation for your injuries.

Was Your Slip and Fall Caused by Negligence?

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?

Slip and fall accidents come fall under an area of law known as premises liability, and every case is unique to its own set of circumstances. To bring a successful slip and fall claim, you must be able to prove negligence on the part of the property owner (or manager or occupant), like a store owner or the manager of a supermarket.

What is negligence in a slip and fall claim?

Slip and fall negligence consists of several distinct elements:

  • The property owner had a duty of care to you;
  • The property owner failed to live up to this duty of care;
  • You wouldn’t have sustained an injury if the property owner had lived up to this duty of care;
  • The property owner’s failure to live up to this duty of care – not something else – caused you to be injured; and
  • Your injuries have caused you to suffer actual damages (such as medical expenses and lost wages).

In other words, the property owner must have either created the dangerous condition or known about the dangerous condition that caused you to be injured but did not take the necessary steps to mitigate that danger or to warn you about that danger, or the property owner must not have exercised the reasonable amount of care it would have taken to know about the danger in the first place.

If you’ve been injured in a Chicago slip and fall accident, seek immediate medical attention and then consult with a slip and fall attorney. If someone else’s negligence has caused you to be injured, you’re entitled to just compensation. The slip and fall lawyers at the Law Firm of Abels and Annes are committed to fighting for your rights and for your rightful compensation, and we’re here to help.

How do slip and fall accidents occur?

When you enter a business or another property as a customer or welcome guest, you have the right to entertain a reasonable expectation that you won’t become injured by random hazards or dangerous conditions. There are, however, several property conditions that commonly contribute to slip and fall accidents:

  • Entryways, sidewalks, or walkways that are cracked, uneven, broken, slippery, or crooked;
  • Wet and slippery surfaces;
  • Common areas that incorporate hazardous or dangerous components;
  • Surfaces that are snow packed or icy;
  • Flooring or carpeting that is rough, torn, bunched, or loose;
  • Spills related to the business’s operation that go unchecked;
  • Unsafe merchandising displays; and
  • Insufficient lighting for allowing safe passage.

Any of these conditions can cause a slip and fall accident. If you’ve been injured under such circumstances, it’s very natural to want to blame your own clumsiness – out of misguided courtesy or embarrassment. Resist the urge to claim the blame. It’s your right to walk through a business or property unmolested by dangers that are attributable to negligence.

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident at a business or private property that was caused by the property owner’s negligence, you deserve to be compensated for your losses. Slip and fall accidents can lead to serious injuries that have overarching negative health, financial, and emotional consequences. Your rights matter.

Common Slip and Fall Injuries

Every slip and fall accident is unique and can lead to any number of physical injuries. There are, however, certain injuries that are most closely associated with such accidents:

Such injuries can lead to long-lasting negative consequences and expenses, including initial and ongoing medical costs, lost wages and earning potential, and other financial damages.

What should I do after a slip and fall to strengthen my claim?

If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you are no doubt overwhelmed and possibly at a loss regarding what to do next. Your most important first step is to seek necessary medical attention – your health and safety should always be your top priority. While slip and fall accidents are often harrowing, there are steps you can take at the scene to strengthen your claim (enlist someone at the scene to carry these steps out for you if you are unable to complete them):

  • File an accident report with the property owner or manager where you were injured and/or file a police report (as appropriate). Don’t forget to retain copies of these reports for your slip and fall attorney.
  • Use your phone to take photos and/or videos of where the accident happened, of how the accident happened, and of any factors that co>ntributed to the accident. Now that virtually everyone is packing a smartphone, there’s no reason not to take plenty of evidentiary photos.
  • Gather eyewitness statements in corroboration of your claim, and don’t forget to get your eyewitnesses’ contact details. It’s also a good idea to ask eyewitnesses for any photos or videos they may have taken at the scene.
  • Compile a comprehensive collection of the medical expenses that emanate from your slip and fall accident.
  • Each of these will help to corroborate your slip and fall case and allow your attorney to better defend your claim.

If You’ve Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident, Consult with a Chicago Slip and Fall Lawyer Today

Slip and falls are far more serious than their name would imply. If you’ve suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. At the Law Firm of Abels & Annes, we understand how difficult such accidents can be and we’ll aggressively fight for your just compensation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Slip & Fall Accident

Slips and Falls Are Common at Busy Stores

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

With the holiday season upon us, many people will go shopping. Whether you are shopping for groceries to prepare the perfect Thanksgiving feast for your family or checking off your holiday gift list, the holidays can involve numerous trips to various stores. The crowds increase in almost every store, which can often cause busy and almost chaotic conditions.

Stores often increase their inventories for the holidays, which requires employees to focus on constantly stocking and restocking shelves. Lines are much longer, which means stores need more cashiers to decrease wait times. In the meantime, other duties—such as ensuring that stores are in neat and safe conditions—may fall by the wayside.

When crowds increase in stores, things can get messy. This is especially true on peak shopping days such as Black Friday. Customers may act in horrible ways in stores just to get good sale prices—and merchandise is often left strewn about throughout the day. With larger crowds and preoccupied employees, common hazards may develop.

Conditions that may cause slips and falls in stores include:

  • Items out of place and on the floor
  • Debris left on the floor
  • Floor mats, runners, or carpets left askew
  • Dirt or oily substances on the floor
  • Liquid spills
  • Wet floors with no warning signs
  • Obstacles in walkways

For example, imagine a customer goes to put back a shirt at Target. The shirt falls off the hanger and onto the floor and the customer leaves it there. No store employee comes by that area of the store for quite some time, so the shirt remains on the floor. Later, a customer walks by—not looking at the floor—and slips on the material of the shirt. The customer falls backward, cracking a tailbone and incurring a back injury.

In the above example, the store should have regularly inspected the premises for potential hazards to customers and eliminated them. Because someone should have noticed the shirt and picked it up, a slip and fall accident victim can hold the store liable for negligence and all of the losses incurred as a result. The combination of bustling crowds and distracted employees during the holidays commonly results in such negligence cases.

How a Slip and Fall Injury Can Hurt You

Some people slip and fall, laugh about it, get up, and continue shopping. However, many slip and fall victims are not so fortunate. Instead, they suffer injuries that can significantly damage their lives. Common slip and fall injuries can have the following impacts:

  • Neck and back injuries – When people fall, they often twist or wrench their backs or necks. The neck and back are both integral to movement, and injuries can make any movement extremely painful. Many people with back or neck injuries experienced severe pain and restrictions on lifting items or even getting up and walking.
  • Concussion and TBI – Fall victims can easily hit their heads on floors, shelves, or other items. Any bump to the head can result in a concussion, and a serious blow can cause a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions and TBIs can cause many physical, cognitive, and behavioral problems and may prevent you from working or attending school.
  • Broken bones – While a broken bone may seem like a run-of-the-mill injury to some, it can keep you from participating regular activities for some time and requires medical care. Compound fractures can also require surgeries and can take as long as a year to finally heal. Some patients never fully regain their movement abilities.
  • Soft tissue injuries – Even if you do not fracture a bone, your muscles, ligaments, or tendons can stretch or twist, resulting in strains, sprains, or even tears. These extremely painful injuries may require a long course of physical therapy to regain movement. Tears may need surgical repairs.

No matter what type of injury you suffer in a slip and fall, always report the fall to the store and go to the emergency department or doctor as soon as possible for a diagnosis. If you incur any bills or losses due to your injury, discuss what happened with an attorney who has experience handling premises liability claims against stores. A lawyer can file a claim with the store’s insurance company or can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company if necessary.

Discuss a Possible Claim With Our Chicago Slip and Fall Attorneys

The legal team at Abels & Annes hopes you have a safe and injury-free holiday season. However, if you are involved in any type of accident, discuss your injuries and your rights with one of our lawyers as soon as possible. We will evaluate your case for free, so please call our Chicago office at (312) 924-7575 or contact us online for more information today.