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Slips and Falls Are Common at Busy Stores

Slip & Falls During Busy Store Hours

Residents enter stores to purchase items, which is usually an uneventful experience. You go to the store because you need something and not to suffer an injury. Unfortunately, when stores are busy, mistakes can happen, and you should not be left to deal with the consequences because stores have a duty to keep the premises safe. When you suffer a slip and fall injury, you must contact a local slip and fall lawyer.

Locations of Slip & Falls

Where are you most likely to suffer from a slip and fall accident? Anywhere, slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere.

You are more susceptible to suffering an injury at a big box or grocery store.

  • Big box stores: Walmart, Costco, and other retailers require extra care from employees because they are larger than other stores and have more potential hazards.
  • Grocery stores: there are thousands of items, and grocery stores are bustling, leading to many dangers.
  • Shopping malls have a range of retail stores and thousands of daily visitors. Property managers must have crews on constant alert to keep all public spaces free of debris.
  • Parking lots: All establishments have a parking lot, and depending on the ownership status, they must keep these areas well-lit and free from hazards. There are also weather conditions to be aware of that can affect the parking lot maintenance.
  • Convenience stores: While smaller and easier to access, these stores are also prone to accidents. Staffing is much smaller, and there is often only one person who manages the entire store during a shift. If there is a rush and a hazard, it is a recipe for disaster.

You can suffer a slip-and-fall accident at a hotel, stadium, and any public area, but today we will focus on busy stores, especially during the holiday season.

Busiest times of the year

Stores are busy year-round, especially grocery and big box retailers. However, there are times when these stores are even busier than the rest of the year. The holiday season is full of different celebrations, and people will visit many stores in one day to gather gifts and items for a feast. Millions of people across the country are doing the same thing, leading to crowds and causing chaos for everyone.

Shoppers are less aware of their surroundings because they try to get in and out as quickly as possible, and employees work double time to get people out. The rush combines and results in injury. It is no coincidence that slips and falls often happen during the holidays.

Causes of slips and falls

There are hazards throughout stores, and as a customer, you are not looking out for them because the establishment should have policies to detect and prevent these hazards. A typical example is a wet and slippery floor, but here are some of the more common causes of slip and fall accident.

Sticky floors

A liquid spill is very common, especially at convenience or grocery stores, and while you can slip on the liquid, it can also dry up, causing more issues. Oil, food, and other items can pool on the floor and become sticky. It causes shoppers’ shoes and shopping carts to pass over the spot and even get stuck. You can slip and hurt if your shoe gets stuck on the sticky goo.

Wet floors and congestion

During the busy season, there will be more customers than stores can handle, causing congestion. When there are too many shoppers, someone can slip and pummel into a crowd causing multiple injuries. Shoppers will walk slower and can even double up in the same area blocking other people from getting around. The flow of traffic will become chaotic.

Spilled soda and broken soda machines

There are soda machines at every register and throughout the store. When people grab these sodas, they can often leak or spill. These soda machines also have condensation, which can cause a puddle on the floor. An unsuspecting shopper can approach the soda machine and land on the floor within seconds.

Leaking pipes and broken sprinklers

While wet floors are common, there are reasons behind a wet floor you may not know. There are many pipes to keep coolers and merchandise within their required temperatures. The sprinkler system can also run amuck, causing water to go everywhere. If a pipe begins to leak, it can take some time for staff to notice, but in the meantime, shoppers are at risk of falling.

Inadequate lighting

The inside and outside of the store needs appropriate lighting, especially at night. It is critical that an employee or manager replace any burnt-out bulbs promptly so there are minimal dark spots. There should always be lights at entrances, exits, and in the parking lot. If the store is responsible for the parking lot, they must ensure the lights are in working order or contact the party responsible for that area of the premises.

Oily surface

Oil spills are hazardous for many reasons, but when it comes to stores, they can cause serious injury. Shoppers will walk on the greases and can end up with permanent injuries. There are also delis that can cause oil spills from cooking.

Worn out floors

Due to extensive shopper traffic, floors can become worn out, especially with no maintenance. A floor with a lot of wear and tear can make it difficult for shoppers to walk the store without harm. Walkways are also susceptible to wear and tear.

Obstructed view

Various displays around the store display merchandise and attempt to attract people to buy these items. They can be sale items or overstock, but they are just obstacles for shoppers. People cannot see above or around the display, and when maneuvering, they can bump into the display or slip on something on the floor.


The weather is unpredictable, and you can suffer from snow or rain hazards. While owners cannot control the weather, they can keep sidewalks and walkways free of snow and rain.

The injuries you will suffer

You will sustain more than a cut or bruise after a slip and fall; many injuries are permanent. All injuries require extensive medical care, which leads to medical bills and more.

Bone fractures

Serious falls can result in broken bones, such as pelvic, hand, and foot injuries. Recovery times will vary depending on the severity of the break. Minor fractures will heal quickly, while a large broken bone will lead to other complications.

Spinal cord trauma

The spine is very sensitive, and it can suffer damage from a fall in many ways. You can experience fractured vertebrae, nerve damage, a severed spinal cord, or a herniated disc.

Back and neck injuries

The force of a fall can cause whiplash , sprains, strains, and muscle tears in the back and neck.

Traumatic brain injury

When you fall in a busy store, you can hit your head and suffer a traumatic brain injury that can cause torn tissues, bruising, medical complications, and death. These injuries are permanent, and you will suffer lifelong chronic pain.

Facial and dental damage

Debris on the floor can cause damage to your face, such as a cut on your face from broken glass. You can also suffer a broken nose, jaw, or loose teeth. In facial trauma, the scars will remain while the wounds can heal.

Cuts and lacerations

If there is glass or other debris on the floor, you will suffer abrasions and lacerations, leading to significant blood loss and infections. Deep cuts can cause damage to the nerves and muscles.

Why are slips and falls so common in grocery stores?

Grocery stores have items that we all need to live: food. So it is a place that everyone will visit at some point for essentials. Since there is so much traffic and a lot of commotion, it is easy for employees to ignore or miss out on dangerous conditions. Understaffing and other scheduling issues are also reasons why dangerous conditions go unnoticed and unresolved.

8. Steps store owners should take to prevent slips and falls

All store owners have a duty to keep the premises safe for visitors. Safety is of the utmost importance, and property owners must take actionable steps and issue policies that put customer safety at the forefront of their employees’ tasks. Steps that store owners must take to avoid slips and falls are:

1. Keep the aisles clear

As a general rule, customers should have two feet ahead of them to see and maneuver. High and wide displays will block the shopper’s view and hide what is on the floor.

2. Ensure the floor is clean

Property owners must clean the floor at night after closing or before the store opens. They must also inspect the premises for damaged flooring, leaks, or other hazards.

3. Look at the entrance and exit

Since adequate lighting is necessary for the safety of shoppers, owners must check the entrance, exits, and entire store for low lighting or dark spots. While walking, the store owners and managers can also address other potential hazards.

4. Place wet floor signs

If there is a spill or other hazards on the sales floor, employees must place wet floor signs until someone has cleaned the hazard up. Even after they mop up the spill, they should keep the sign present until the area is dry.

5. Adequate training

Business owners and managers are responsible for the actions of their employees and must ensure they have adequate training. Employees are responsible for cleaning up spills and need to know the right products to use.

6. Improper merchandise storage

Workers should appropriately place merchandise on sturdy shelves and stable surfaces. If merchandise is unstable, it can fall, causing a spill or even falling on top of a customer.

7. Improper cleaning storage

After using a mop, broom, bucket, and other cleaning products, employees must lock these items away so they are not in the way of shoppers.

8. Company Policies

Store owners must issue company policies that outline handling snow and ice removal, spill cleanup, rainy weather procedures, and more.

Proving negligence

Negligence is vital to every case; without proving it, you cannot obtain compensation. There are four legal elements to proving negligence: duty of care, breach, injury, and causation. You must prove the store owed you a responsibility to keep the premises safe, and they breached that duty. You will need to prove to the insurance company that you suffered an injury from their negligence, usually done through medical records correlating the injury to the slip and fall. From this injury, you also suffer damages that will become apparent during the investigation phase.

The best way to prove negligence and liability is to contact a slip and fall lawyer immediately after you get emergency medical treatment. There are statutes that all cases must adhere to, and you cannot hesitate to get legal representation.

Compensation for busy store slips and falls

You can recover compensation for a slip and fall through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit for losses you suffer.

Economic damages cover:

  • In-home healthcare
  • Future medical expenses
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Medical devices
  • Loss of income and future lost income
  • All medical expenses from the accident

Non-economic damages you can recover include:

You will need to discuss your compensation options with a slip and fall injury lawyer to obtain a comprehensive settlement.

Working with a slip and fall lawyer

Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Gary Annes
Chicago Slip & Fall Accident Lawyer, Gary Annes

Slip and fall injuries can haunt you for years and what should have been a routine grocery store trip turns into a life-altering event. Many victims require extensive medical care and are left unable to work. You will also have chronic pain that doesn’t have any relief.

You are not the cause of your injury and, therefore, should not be the one to pay for your financial losses. Slips and falls at a busy store are the results of negligence by the property owner. You can hold them liable and recover monetarily through a personal injury lawsuit. You must discuss your options with a slip and fall lawyer to get started.

Who Is Liable in a Slip and Fall Accident?

No matter where you walk, you may end up at the mercy of someone else who is responsible for providing you with safe premises. While you can control your actions, you cannot control whether others act with the care required under the law. If someone has control of a property, and they invite you onto it, they assume certain obligations to you. It does not matter whether they know you or what their relationship is to you. If they violate these duties, you can hold them liable in a slip-and-fall claim or lawsuit.

Slip and fall accidents are the most common example of premises liability cases. Every year, over eight million people require some form of treatment in a hospital from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of hospital visits in the country. One in every five people who seek treatment at a hospital suffered an injury in a fall. Although Americans over the age of 65 are at the highest risk of falls, anyone can suffer an injury when someone else’s carelessness has made things needlessly dangerous.

In every slip and fall case, you are trying to find the responsible party, so you can file a claim against their liability insurance policy or a lawsuit against them. The responsible party will be the person who opened their property up to you, inviting you onto the premises.

The Duty of Care That Property Owners Owe to You

In a slip-and-fall case, the entity that owns the company that controls the property is the one that is legally responsible when something happens to a visitor. There are three categories of people who enter the property of another.

For each category, the property owner owes them a different duty of care.

  • Invitees are on the property for the benefit of the owner. This is most often a customer at a store or restaurant. The owner owes them the duty to make the property reasonably safe and to warn invitees of concealed danger that the property owner knows or should know about.
  • Licensees have received an implied or express invitation to visit the property. These are most often social guests. The owner owes them the duty to warn them about actual dangers that the owner knows of on the property.
  • Trespassers enter a property without any legal right to do so. The property owner owes next to no legal duty. All they must do is avoid deliberately harming them.

Filing a Lawsuit Means Knowing the Liable Party

Figuring out the correct entity to sue in a slip and fall case is not always easy. The first thing that an attorney may do is conduct a records search to see who owns the property. Sometimes, owners have properties titled in the name of an LLC. Finding the owner can present difficulties. However, that does not always tell the entire story.

The owner of the property does not always have control over it. If they rent the property to someone else, the owner cedes most day-to-day control over the conditions to the person renting the property. For example, a shopping mall owner may not be legally responsible for the conditions in the actual store, even though they will still be liable for what happens in common areas.

The general rule is that a landlord is not responsible for their tenant’s negligence. For instance, if a tenant invites a guest, who falls inside the tenant’s apartment, the landlord may not be legally responsible. However, if the landlord’s negligence injured the tenant, they can sue the landlord. An example is a tenant slipping and falling in the common area of an apartment building. An owner of leased premises will only be responsible for injuries to the extent that it maintained control over the property.

Who You Can Sue in a Slip and Fall Case

Here are some possible entities that you may sue in slip and fall lawsuits:

  • Store owners
  • Landlords
  • Condominium associations
  • Local governments
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Homeowners
  • Recreational facility owners
  • Schools

In most of these cases, you will be filing a suit against a business or an organization for damages. Most times, the only way that you will file a lawsuit against a person is if you suffered an injury in someone’s home. If an individual employee was responsible for the dangerous condition, you will sue the company for which they worked. This is the entity that has the insurance coverage and assets necessary to pay for your injuries. Companies often have large liability insurance policies to protect their assets from a lawsuit.

Negligence Determines Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

The test for liability is the same negligence analysis that most attorneys use in every other type of premises liability and personal injury case. In a slip and fall, you must prove that the owner or person in control of the property breached their duty to you by acting unreasonably under the circumstances.

You have the burden of proof to show that your allegations are more likely than not to have happened. If you cannot prove your case, you will not be in a position to receive a settlement check.

Before you even get to the issue of the defendant’s actions, you will need to establish that they were in control of the area at the time of the injury. Then, you must prove that a dangerous condition existed.

When a Defendant Bears Liability for Your Injuries

Here, there are two ways that the defendant can be held liable for your injuries:

  • They created the dangerous condition themselves – in this case, the property owner will always be liable if you were injured. It does not matter how long the danger remains.
  • Someone else created the dangerous condition, and the property owner did not fix it or warn the public within a reasonable amount of time after they knew or should have known about it.

In the latter situation, the classic example is the spill in the supermarket aisle. Nobody expects the store owner to take action the second that it happens. Yet, they cannot simply let the dangerous condition remain indefinitely. Store employees must spot the spill and either clean it up or place a warning in the area to keep customers away from the wetness. If too much time passes, it is not unreasonable to say the store should have known about the spill, even if nobody physically saw it.

Other Dangerous Conditions that Cause Slip and Falls

Slip and falls go beyond just spills. There are numerous other circumstances in which a property owner can be liable, including:

  • Frayed carpet in a public area, and someone trips on a loose string
  • Someone leaves work equipment or debris on a sidewalk
  • A store fails to put a floor mat out in a rainstorm when the floors can become slippery
  • A landlord does not inspect and find a defective staircase or railing
  • A local government does not repair a cracked or broken sidewalk

Proving Liability for Slip and Fall Injuries

To prove the liability for the foreign substance on the floor, you will need to show:

  • The business had actual knowledge that there was a dangerous condition
  • The dangerous condition existed for long enough that the business should have known of it
  • The business should have discovered and cleaned up the substance

The above things are other ways of saying that the defendant did not use the reasonable caution society expects of a property owner. A reasonable property owner keeps things out of the way of people walking by, and they frequently inspect the property to check for dangers. If they find that something is wrong, they fix it promptly.

Evidence will determine the defendant’s liability in your slip and fall case. A plaintiff will need more than just the fact that they fell to get a check for their injuries. A slip and fall case is all about showing what the defendant knew and what they should have known. Your focus is on them and what they did or did not do.

Defenses to Liability That the Defendant May Use

However, there are some cases when the owner may not be responsible. Ironically, the bigger the hazard, the more the owner can argue that the accident victim should have seen it. For example, if a contractor left a large piece of equipment in the middle of a pathway, they may avoid responsibility under the theory that someone else should have seen it. A defendant can avoid liability when the danger is open and obvious. This is often an argument that a defendant will make those plaintiffs need to overcome.

Another key factor in whether someone is liable for your slip and fall injury is whether their actions were the cause of your injury. Not only must you prove that there was a dangerous condition, but you must also show that your fall was a “natural consequence” of that condition.

Even if someone else can be liable for your slip and fall accident, it will not stop them from pointing the finger at you. They can argue that you were fully or partially responsible for your injuries. Their claim can be that you were careless yourself and were not acting reasonably when your accident happened. You may end up needing to defend your actions at the time of the fall, even if you did nothing wrong.

Evidence that Can Help Prove Your Claim

In any slip and fall case, you must prove someone else liable for your injuries. If all you come armed with is your word, you may not be in a position to win your case. A plaintiff must show exactly how the defendant acted unreasonably and how it caused your injuries.

Some helpful evidence can include:

  • Security camera footage of the area before your fall
  • Maintenance logs that can show when they inspected the property
  • Witness testimony from people who saw your fall or were aware of the conditions in the area at the time that you fell
  • Photographs of the scene at the time of the accident

This evidence can be lost very quickly after your accident if you do not move fast to obtain it. An experienced lawyer knows the evidence that you need and the most effective way to obtain it.

You Need an Experienced Slip and Fall Lawyer for Your Case

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

Do not let the defendant bully you out of filing a claim if you believe they were responsible for your injuries. Even if you share in the responsibility for the accident, it may not keep you from receiving some financial compensation. You should always contact an attorney no matter what happens. If the attorney does not believe you have a viable claim, they may not take your case. It costs you nothing to make the call. Not only that, but you will not even need to pay an attorney at all unless you win your case.

Businesses and their insurance companies like to take advantage of their power to make your life harder and keep you from getting the money that you need after you have suffered an injury in an accident. The best way to level the playing field is to hire an attorney.

Slip-and-fall cases are not always the easiest ones to prove. Because they are so common, insurance companies often take a dim and skeptical view of them. While your case may be an uphill climb, it is one that you must make if you suffer an injury in a fall. Otherwise, the people responsible for your injuries get away with their carelessness, and you will have to bear the brunt of their actions.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

How Long Do You Have To Go to the Doctor After a Slip and Fall Accident?

When Should You See a Doctor After Slip and Fall?

It is an unfortunate incident that occurs much too often: A visitor at a business slips on an unmarked hazard, falls, and finds themselves injured.

If you fell due to someone else’s negligence, you can ensure your health and recovery from your injuries—but you must act quickly by seeing a doctor right away and following up by consulting a Chicago slip and fall lawyer.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention

Falls are serious—they cause more than eight million emergency room visits a year, making them the leading cause of emergency room visits.

Thus, securing medical attention is one of the first things you should do after a slip and fall accident. Even if you don’t believe you were injured or feel that your injuries were minor, get a thorough medical evaluation. The stress of the fall may cause a surge of adrenaline, masking pain from injuries. You may have injuries without immediate symptoms that will only worsen with time. An experienced doctor can help you determine whether you sustained a slip and fall injury.

Besides properly taking care of your health, seeking prompt medical attention may improve your ability to recover your damages. The defendant or their insurance company may argue that your failure to get a medical evaluation may have exacerbated your injuries, or that a subsequent event caused them. No matter how you feel, get checked out.

Understand Which Party Is at Fault

Gary Annes Lawyer
Slip & Fall Accident Attorney, Gary Annes

Even if you received a timely and thorough medical evaluation, you can’t recover for your damages without establishing the fault of another party. Property owners have a duty of care to visitors on their properties. This duty of care requires the owners to properly maintain the property free of hazards.

The owner must warn the visitor of any known defects or hazards such as a broken rail, slippery floor, or broken walkway. If the property owner failed to live up to this duty and a danger caused your fall, you should seek a premises liability lawyer for help in obtaining compensation from the property owner.

Determining whether a property owner is at fault for a fall is more complicated than it appears, it could include looking into building codes and assessing the maintenance of the building. An experienced attorney can help you evaluate the facts of your cause and the best path for pursuing a recovery.

Stay Organized

While seeking medical attention and analyzing the responsibility of the property owner establish a strong case for recovery, your premises liability lawyer may take these actions to support your case:

  • Document the accident. The scene of the accident will form a critical point of evaluation for liability. If possible, take pictures of the hazard that caused your fall to demonstrate that the owner failed to mark or maintain it. If witnesses saw you fall, get their contact information. An attorney can help you secure additional evidence of an accident, like security footage.
  • Mind your words. Take care before you speak or write about the accident. Insurance companies will take an interest in your account of the accident. They may twist your words and imply that you were at fault for the accident, limiting your ability to recover damages. You will be much better off not speaking directly to the insurance adjuster. In fact, don’t discuss or post anything about your accident. Let your lawyer speak for you.
  • Keep documents in order. Your case will depend, in large part, on documentation from the accident. Medical bills and documentation of time off work will influence the damages you can recover. Communication from insurance companies provides insight into the other party’s position. Don’t discard any piece of paper; you don’t know when it will prove important.
  • Read before you sign. Don’t sign any document before reading it thoroughly and discussing it with your attorney. Certain documents may waive your ability to make certain claims or to file a lawsuit.

The above steps seem daunting in the face of managing injuries and returning to normal life. An experienced slip and fall attorney can work with you to develop a comprehensive strategy for recovery and manage each of the steps above.

Calculate Your Damages

Injuries can cause massive disruptions to your life, and your lawyer can help make the party who caused your fall take responsibility for your damages.

The following damages are common after a fall:

  • Medical expenses: Recovery for medical expenses includes doctor’s bills and the cost of hospital stays but can also include the costs of future care, like physical therapy.
  • Loss of income: If your injuries forced you to miss work or limited your future work options, you deserve compensation for your lost wages and future earning potential.
  • Property damage: If the fall damages your property, such as a smashed electronic device, include repair or replacement in your damage request.
  • Emotional distress: If the fall or the disruption it has caused to your life has caused emotional distress, like anxiety or depression. If you seek treatment, you may be entitled to recovery for this.
  • Loss of enjoyment: Many injuries make long-term impacts, limiting your ability to participate in activities you enjoy. Compensation for these injuries can play a role in any damages demand.
  • Punitive damages: Punitive damages punish a defendant rather than compensate the plaintiff. In Illinois, a plaintiff can only recover punitive damages when the defendant acts with evil intent or reckless and outrageous indifference to the risk of harm.

Speak With an Attorney

If you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you don’t need to pursue recovery alone. An experienced Chicago premises liability attorney can handle the details of your case, while you focus on what’s really important: getting better, and getting back to normal. While you do that, look for a law firm with deep experience with assisting victims of slip and fall accidents.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

Chicago Code Violations Could Cause Your Injury

The law requires Chicago property owners to keep their buildings up to code. While this can confuse property owners and cost them a lot of money, the goal is to keep building visitors and occupants safe and free from injury.

Unfortunately, many property owners cut corners and do not follow Chicago’s building code. This often results in serious injuries to visitors where the property owner can face liability for those injuries and medical bills.

If you or a loved one suffered an injury in a commercial building in Chicago, you could be entitled to compensation under the law. Speak with a Chicago premises liability lawyer today to help you get every dollar you deserve.

Common Code Violations

Many commercial property owners fail to understand what they need to do to keep visitors safe under Chicago’s complex and confusing building code, and many willfully ignore the code’s requirements.

Common violations include:

  • Defective or damaged stairways
  • Broken or defective handrails
  • Inadequate lighting
  • Bad wiring
  • Faulty plumbing
  • Unsafe balconies

Violations of these Chicago building codes can cause serious injuries to you or a loved one when you trip and fall. Because of improper lighting or defective stairs, you could tumble down the steps, leading to many injuries that might require long term care.

When this happens, make your sole focus on your recovery and not worrying about how you will pay your bills—the property owner should have to do that. Let a Chicago premises liability lawyer help you hold the property owner liable for your injuries and responsible for paying your medical bills.

Inspection by a Licensed Architect

The premises liability lawyers at Abels & Annes often work on cases with serious injuries. When we first started the process, one of the first steps we might take is retaining a licensed architect.

Many times we have had an architect on scene within days or even hours of taking a case. When architect performs an inspection, they typically will:

  • Visually inspect the alleged defect or defects
  • Take measurements and photographs
  • Determine what if any code violations exist
  • Write a thorough report detailing his or her findings

An architect’s report with a description of code violations can often move an insurance carrier towards trying to settle a claim. Without the report, that same insurance adjuster might dispute liability.

Contact Code Enforcement

After your trip and fall injury caused by a potential code violation, you and your premises liability lawyer can consider alerting Chicago building code enforcement by calling 311 or filing a complaint online on the city’s 311 website.

If you call 311, you can speak with someone who can take your information and file a complaint. You can describe the code violation to the city employee that takes the call.

Your Chicago premises liability attorney can also help you file the complaint online and follow up on it. As you can imagine, code violation complaints happen frequently in Chicago and enforcement officers constantly find themselves underwater. Keeping tabs on the enforcement officer’s progress may help augment your premises liability claim.

If the enforcement officer issues a citation, your lawyer will know about it by reviewing Chicago’s code enforcement website. Your premises liability lawyer can use this information against the property owner to show they were at fault for your injuries and should be on the hook for your medical bills. It is especially helpful if the property owner admits guilt or pays a fine.

Code enforcement violations and subsequent premises liability claims present unique challenges. This is not something you should try alone. Lean on the experience of a Chicago premises liability lawyer to help you recover for your injuries—someone who can dedicate time to you and your loved ones so you can put all of your effort and energy into getting back on your feet. Without a lawyer at your side, you are vulnerable to the preying tactics of big insurance companies. Your premises liability lawyer can help you battle them and maximize your recovery.

Holding the Property Owner Liable

To hold the property owner liable for your injuries, it’s not as simple as saying you were injured while visiting their property—or by getting the city to issue a citation or fine for a building code violation. It involves a complex legal process to show the property owner is liable for your injuries and your medical bills.

You must show:

  1. The property owner owed you a duty of care to provide a safe property for you to visit.
  2. The property owner breached the duty of care by violating one or more of Chicago’s building codes.
  3. The violation of the building code caused your injury.
  4. Because of your injury, you have suffered damages.

Once you can prove these facts, then you can begin the process of holding the property owner accountable for your medical bills. Working with an experienced premises liability lawyer in Chicago will give you the best chance of getting the compensation you deserve.

Importance of Compensation

Two-thirds of all Americans who file bankruptcy do so because of medical bills. This scary statistic shows just how high medical expenses can get. When you suffer an injury in a commercial property in Chicago, you may face extremely high medical bills to help you recover.

In fact, you could face:

  • Extended hospital stays
  • Multiple surgeries
  • Extended time out of work
  • Frequent doctor visits
  • High prescription medication costs

All of these could quickly cause serious financial hardships. Remember, however: If you did not cause your injuries, you should bear none of the responsibility for paying the medical bills.

A premises liability lawyer can try to get you compensation for:

  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Present and future medical bills
  • Rehabilitation costs

The person or company who caused your suffering should pay the medical bills you face. You should make your physical recovery your only worry. Working with a trusted Chicago premises liability lawyer can give you the peace of mind you need to let go of the legal stress.

Lawyers Can Help With an Injury Claim Due to Code Violations

Gary Annes Lawyer
Premises Liability Lawyer, Gary Annes

The right lawyer can make a difference in your Chicago premises liability case. A building code violation is not always clearcut, and might require extensive investigation. Moreover, you don’t want to try to understand the code and its ramifications for your premises liability case without the trained eye of a lawyer.

You do not want to put your case in the hands of just any lawyer. You need a lawyer with experience in Chicago premises liability cases who can help you recover every dollar you deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial building in Chicago, you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney today.

Abels & Annes
100 N LaSalle St #1710
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 924-7575

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

David Abels, Sexual Abuse Attorney
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

Did You Fall Down Dangerous Stairs?

Slips and falls are consistently among the most common causes of injuries in the Chicago area. When serious, the injuries caused by falls can often require emergency medical treatment. The injuries may even leave victims with long-term medical problems and life-altering disabilities. When injury-causing falls occur on dangerous stairs, victims may recover compensation for any losses they sustain as a result of their accidents.

At Abels & Annes, P.C., we understand how profoundly a serious fall down the stairs can damage a person’s life, and we are committed to helping victims obtain the compensation to which Illinois law entitles them. To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys, contact us online or call our office at (312) 924-7575.

When Can People Recover Compensation for Falls on Stairs?

Just as with other accidents, you are entitled to compensation for a fall on dangerous stairs. However, you must establish that your accident was the result of someone else’s negligence.

Property owners have duties to take reasonable steps to keep their properties in a safe conditions. This is especially pertinent when they have invited the general public to it. For instance, with places where people shop, eat, drink, or otherwise engage in commercial activity.

What Do I Have to Prove If I Fall Down Stairs?

Property owners have a duty of care to take reasonable care to ensure their property is safe, as stated under Illinois’ Premises Liability Act.

Property owners and anyone in charge of their property must ensure that it is safe for individuals who live there and who visit. This extends to areas that people frequent, such as entrances, bathrooms, and stairwells.

If you were injured while on another person’s property and you believe that their negligence caused your injuries, you may be able to seek compensation for your damages. In order to do this, you must be able to prove that:

  1. A condition on the property presented an unreasonable risk of harm to those living at or visiting the property.
  2. The property owner was aware, or should have been aware, that the condition existed and that it was a hazard.
  3. The property owner was negligent because of something they did or did not do.
  4. The incident you were involved in resulted in an injury or injuries.
  5. The property owner’s negligence was the leading cause of your injury.

Hazards that Cause Falls Down Stairs

Dangerous conditions, with respect to stairwells, that could indicate negligence on the part of a property owner or leaseholder include:

Missing or broken handrails

Staircases having more than four steps (or risers) are typically legally required to have something to hold onto while you go up and down. If legally required handrails are missing, broken, or damaged, it prevents a serious risk of falling.

Inadequate lighting

Some stairwells have no lighting at all. Others have dim lighting or broken/burnt-out lightbulbs. Or perhaps a light switch that isn’t present at both the top and bottom of the staircase. All of these poor lighting conditions could cause a person to fall on a staircase due to decreased visibility.

Uneven stairs

Crooked steps or uneven stairs can cause a person to miss their next step or to trip in a way that results in a dangerous fall.

Liquid spills

There are a few different types of spills on stairs that can cause a hazard. This may include a spill caused by a customer or employee or something from a maintenance issue. Depending on the specific circumstances, you may be able to hold the property owner responsible in these situations.

Accumulations of snow or ice

Uncleared ice or snow on exterior stairs can be hazardous since it makes the walking surface slippery and can cause a slip and fall. In some cases, unremoved snow or ice could be the responsibility of the property owner or caretaker. Snow removal cases have become much more difficult to prove under Illinois law. So it is best to speak to a lawyer as soon as practicable.

Torn carpets

Carpets naturally break down over time because of high traffic. If carpets aren’t well maintained and replaced when necessary, it can present a hazard that could cause a fall down a flight of stairs.

Uneven risers

A fall can occur if the spaces between the steps are uneven. This can cause someone to over- or underestimate the distance to the next step. This a fundamental design problem that may pose a safety hazard.

Inadequate non-slip tread

Rubber treading helps to prevent slip and falls from occurring by providing extra traction. However, these treads are only helpful when they’re present and in good condition. Torn up tread can all prevent a fall hazard.

No stair markings

Some stairs require hazard markings to ensure that they’re safe. For example, if the top of a staircase is around the corner or hidden in some way, it is the property owner’s responsibility to inform people on their property.

Damaged stairs

Stairs that are damaged can obviously create a tripping hazard. Some of the most common types of damage include chipped concrete, broken tiles, and rotted wood.

Code violation

If the condition or construction of the stairs violates local or state building codes, it could be noncompliant with safety regulations that prevent dangerous hazards leading to a fall. Depending on what code was violated and how, it may be the owner, designer, construction company, or installer, that is responsible for the damages.

How Design Can Make Stairs Dangerous

It’s not just the condition of the stairs that create slip and fall problems. The way that a stairwell was designed possibly makes it inherently dangerous for everyone who uses it. In such a case, you could possibly hold the person or party who designed the stairs liable for any resulting injuries.

Similarly, if stairs were poorly manufactured or made with substandard materials, accident victims may initiate legal action against the party responsible for the construction of the stairs or the manufacturing of the materials.

Falls on Dangerous Stairs Can Cause Extremely Serious Injuries

Stairs are a particularly dangerous place to lose your footing. The force of gravity can cause you to fall down multiple stairs, potentially causing injuries with each impact. As a result, many people who fall on dangerous stairs sustain injuries that require medical treatment. They can cause issues for significant periods of time after their accidents actually took place. Serious injuries that people can sustain in stairwell falls include:

Traumatic brain injuries

Traumatic brain injuries, which are sometimes referred to simply as “TBIs,” can occur during stairwell falls if a person’s head hits a stair, the wall, a handrail, or another object with sufficient force. Mild TBIs such as concussions can leave victims with headaches, dizziness, and sensitivity to light or sounds that can last for months. More serious brain injuries have the potential to result in long-term disabilities that can destroy a person’s ability to earn a living or perform daily tasks without significant assistance.

Broken bones

Many victims of falls on stairs suffer broken bones that are extremely painful and even disfiguring. In many cases, broken bones require weeks or months to heal and can result in victims requiring surgeries and rehabilitative treatments.

Spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries can cause muscle weakness, numbness, loss of range of motion, and even paralysis below the site of the injury. These injuries can dramatically affect a person’s life and create lasting problems and financial strain.

Neck and back Injuries

Another common injury that occurs when a person falls down a set of stairs is a neck or back injury. This refers to injuries that do not directly affect the spinal cord. For example, this grouping of injuries can include a herniated disc, fracture, or muscle sprain. Neck and back injuries can require surgery, physical therapy, expensive medications, and other expenses that can put a financial strain on an individual and their family. Additionally, you may also be left without a paycheck while you recover or attend necessary medical appointments.

Soft tissue injuries

Soft tissue injuries include bruises, torn muscle fibers (contusions), and torn ligaments (strains). A person can usually fully recover from a soft tissue injury. However, the injury can still cause damages related to medical bills, medication costs, rehabilitation fees, and pain and suffering.

Facial and dental injuries

Slip and falls that occur on stairs have a greater chance of causing facial and dental injuries. This is especially true when the fall occurs as a person goes down the stairs. Facial and dental injuries include a broken nose, fractured or dislocated jaw, broken cheekbone, and broken teeth. These injuries are extremely painful. But they can create lasting scars and cause impairments like blindness. Additionally, they can leave a person with substantial financial damages.


Paralysis is caused by damage to the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is torn or damaged (either partially or completely), it impacts how the brain communicates with the rest of the body. This damage can result in a victim losing certain abilities. For example, the ability to control their arm(s), their ability to walk, or both. Obviously, paralysis is a serious, catastrophic injury that causes a victim to suffer severe pain, financial strain, and life-changing challenges. When a person is paralyzed because of a negligent property owner, they have the right to seek compensation from the individual or company who caused or contributed to their injuries.

Your injuries do not have to be as severe as the ones listed above to entitle you to compensation. People who sustain injuries like bruises, dislocations, sprains, cuts, or strains are often able to obtain a significant settlement or award. So don’t make the mistake of thinking that your injuries are too minor to warrant speaking to an attorney.

Protect Your Rights After a Fall Down the Stairs

Unfortunately for victims, compensation after serious accidents does not happen automatically, and you should take steps to protect your rights after you fall down dangerous stairs. These include:

  • Make note of the hazardous condition that caused your fall and take pictures of it if possible
  • Try and get contact information from anyone who may have seen your accident
  • If your accident occurred on commercial property, notify management and make sure that someone creates an official incident report
  • Refrain from posting about your accident on social media
  • Do not provide someone else’s insurance company with a written or recorded statement
  • Undergo a thorough medical evaluation and do everything your doctor recommends
  • Contact an experienced slip and fall lawyer as soon as possible.

In addition, keep in mind that all personal injury claims in Illinois are subject to a statute of limitations, which means that waiting too long to file a claim could result in an inability to recover compensation at all.

How an Attorney Can Help Your Slip and Fall Injury Case

An attorney who has experience with slip and fall cases involving stairs will be able to help you build a strong case so that you can recover compensation for the various damages you have suffered. Hiring an attorney will give you access to their experience, knowledge, and resources.

Slip and fall attorneys can send out investigators, hire architects and structural engineers, contact medical experts, and gather other important evidence like video in order to create a full picture of what happened and who was responsible. Most people have never handled anything like this on their own before. That is okay, since no one wants to be in this situation. So hiring an attorney gives you the best possible chance of recovering compensation by using their experience and resources to advocate for compensation for your injuries.

[Read: Timeline of a Personal Injury Case]

Call Abels & Annes Today to Speak With a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

If you were injured in a serious accident involving dangerous or defective stairs, contact a lawyer as soon as you can. The lawyers of Abels & Annes, P.C., will review the facts of your case at no cost to you and let you know whether we believe you have a claim. Furthermore, we take all of our personal injury cases on a contingent-fee basis. This means you won’t owe us anything for legal representation unless we recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with one of our Chicago personal injury attorneys, call our office today at (312) 924-7575 or send us an email through our online contact form.