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Have You Been Injured in a Slip and Fall Accident?
Slip and fall accidents are fairly common in Chicago and across Illinois. Sometimes the injuries are minor, a few bruises perhaps. But other times the injuries from a slip and fall can be serious.
Read on to learn more from our experienced Chicago slip and fall accident lawyers.
Common Injuries from a Chicago Slip & Fall
It is common for fall victims to suffer:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones that require surgical repair
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
These injuries can cause serious consequences for the person who fell, physically, mentally, and financially. That is why it is so important to seek immediate medical attention and to contact an attorney as soon as possible to help you with your case.
Damages from Slip and Falls
Serious slip and fall injuries can:
- Create costly medical bills
- Force you to take time off from work
- Make it harder to take care of your family
- Cause pain and suffering
A slip and fall injury can be a life-changing event. Serious injuries and costly medical bills can stress you out and make you feel like you can’t recover from your injuries. However, this is not the case. While it may take some time to fully recover from your injuries or adjust to a disability, compensation shouldn’t have to be something that you’re stressed out about. With an experienced attorney, you can receive the compensation that you deserve for your slip and fall injuries.
Economic damages are associated with direct costs that your injuries have created. Most commonly this includes medical bills, such as hospital visits, ambulance rides, doctor visits, surgery costs, therapy, and more.
Economic damages can also include any wages you lost while you were in the hospital or while recovering from your injuries. You may also claim damages for any in-home care you may have needed while recovering, for example child care. Any costs directly related to your injuries are generally claimable, so make sure you’re keeping a record of your bills.
Non-economic damages refers to pain and suffering compensation, as well as compensation for permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of consortium, and loss of earning capacity. This compensation is calculated by looking at the change in quality of life that you experienced before and after your accident. For example, if you were an avid runner before your injury and now you’re paralyzed, or you can no longer pick up your own children to carry them, you would be a good candidate for pain and suffering compensation.
Punitive damages are meant to be issued as a form of punishment for the at-fault party. This type of compensation is rare, but is used on occasion to prevent the same party (or similar parties) from causing a similar harmful situation in the future.
When a costly injury occurs as a result of an unsafe condition on someone else’s property, you may have a valid damage claim for negligence. The Chicago personal injury lawyers at Abels & Annes can help you understand your rights and options. You can contact us online or by calling us at (312) 924-7575.
What Are Conditions that Cause Slip and Falls?
Slip and fall injuries can result from various situations. Sometimes it’s due to a natural condition, such as an icy sidewalk during winter. But at other times, the cause of the injury may be due to someone’s negligence. Situations that can cause trip & falls and slip & falls include:
- Broken, defective, or poorly designed stairs or stair rails
- Poorly lit stairwells
- Rugs or mats that get folded, bunched up, torn, worn out, or that slip
- Uneven patches of ground, floor, or sidewalk
- Hazards created by negligent snow or ice removal
- Broken or defective porches
- Broken up or very uneven pavement
- Oily or wet spots from spilled or leaked materials
- A freshly mopped floor
However, not every accident that occurs on another person’s property creates liability for the property owner. Whether the owner is liable depends upon the specific circumstances.
What Duty do Chicago Property Owners Have to Prevent Slip and Falls?
As a general rule, a property owner has a duty (known as a duty of care) to keep his or her property in good repair, and to warn or protect against unsafe conditions. If the property owner fails to uphold this duty, and the failure results in causing harm to another person, he or she may be liable in a personal injury claim for any damages.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that just because you sustain an injury on someone’s property, the owner is not always liable. A property or business owner is not the insurer of everyone who steps upon his or her premises.
Instead, the person or business is held to a standard of “reasonableness.” Accordingly:
- If a reasonable property owner would have known of the condition; and
- A reasonable owner would have been able to take steps to render the condition safe but failed to do so;
- Then the owner may be said to be negligent.
How To Prove Reasonableness in a Slip and Fall Case?
This standard of reasonableness—or unreasonableness, as the case may be—may be proven in different ways. For instance, if the property owner has a record of being diligent or meticulous about maintenance, it may be difficult to show negligence. So if he conducts regular inspections; immediately addresses or fixes problems, faults, or defects; cleans the public areas regularly and frequently; has a repair person on staff; and so on—it may be difficult to show that the property owner has been negligent in a given case. Especially if his standard procedures were followed.
However, if the owner has a history of problems that have not been addressed promptly, there is more likely a case. For example, burned out light bulbs are not replaced within a reasonable period, or a wobbly step is not repaired until it actually breaks. Here, it may be easier for a slip and fall attorney in Chicago to demonstrate that the owner has not been reasonable, and is therefore negligent.
Despite these general observations, whether a property owner may be found negligent depends upon the specific facts of a given case. Accordingly, if you have serious injuries in a slip and fall accident, you should speak with a qualified slip and fall attorney before proceeding with a claim.
The personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes provide slip and fall victims free consultations. If we mutually agree to pursue a case, you can rest easy knowing that you will not pay any legal fees until a satisfactory settlement is reached, or damages are obtained pursuant to a lawsuit.
Where Do Slip and Fall Accidents Occur?
Slip and fall accidents can occur pretty much anywhere you can imagine. They can happen in the home of a friend, at the movies, the grocery store, the mall, in a parking lot, and even in the workplace. Where your accident occurs changes the way your case is processed, as larger corporations often have much more insurance than a local diner or a homeowner. With workplace slip and fall injuries, worker’s compensation comes into play, and determining liability can be much more straightforward than in other cases.
Slip and fall accidents can occur on private property, in your own apartment, or in the apartment/home of a friend. These types of injuries may not yield the same high amounts of compensation that an injury in a large chain grocery store may yield, but you still have a chance at some compensation through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
If the accident occurred in your own apartment, you can recover against your landlord in certain circumstances. For example, if the injury occurred because of an issue you have contacted your landlord about multiple times. For instance, if you have a broken floorboard that you’ve contacted your landlord to replace, but it hasn’t been replaced, he or she could be liable for your injuries.
If the accident occurs in a friend’s house, and they didn’t take a reasonable amount of action to prevent the injury from occurring, they could be liable for your injuries. This is one of many reasons that homeowner’s insurance exists.
Commercial properties typically have a much more comprehensive insurance plan than the average homeowner. However, with these vast plans comes insurance companies that sometimes offer low settlements. Many large commercial properties (like large grocery store chains or fast-food restaurants) defend various lawsuits on a regular basis. Because of this, they often try to avoid paying a significant or fair settlement.
It’s incredibly important to have a good attorney on your side to help negotiate the settlement you need and to prosecute your case.
Workplace injuries can be more complex because of the variety of different claims that may be involved in your case. First, there is a workers’ compensation claim to pursue against your employer’s work comp carrier. Further, there could be one or more at-fault third parties to pursue a claim against, such as a cleaning company, or even a manufacturer of defective equipment.
When Should I Make a Claim for My Slip And Fall Injury?
As a general rule, if you believe that the injury from a slip and fall is the result of someone else’s negligence, the sooner you file a claim, the better. Under Illinois law, in most cases a negligence lawsuit must be brought within two years to comply with the statute of limitations.
However, there are some exceptions. For example, if the claim is against a state or local government entity the time frame is shorter. Therefore, it is especially important to consult a slip and fall lawyer in Chicago as soon as possible.
Other than the statute of limitations, there is no specific time table within which to file your claim or retain counsel. That being said, the older a claim is, the harder it may be to reach a satisfactory result.
For example, evidence can be damaged or lost. Further, since the statute of limitations is typically two years for bringing a lawsuit, it is better to pursue a claim with a lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. You do not want to find yourself unable to bring a lawsuit because you have missed the window for filing. Finally, lawyers are very reluctant to take slip & fall cases close to the statute of limitations date.
What Are Modified Comparative Fault in Illinois Slip and Fall Claims?
In Illinois, even if you are partly at fault for the injury, you may still be able to recover. Under a theory of liability called the “modified comparative fault” rule, a plaintiff may still be able to recover if the property owner bears some degree of fault for the injury.
Under this rule, for example, if a jury deems that you are 40% responsible for the accident, but the property owner is 60% responsible, you will recover 60% of the proven damages. However, if a judge or jury finds that you are more than 50% at fault, the defendant will be found not guilty.
Chicago Slip and Fall FAQ
Slipping and falling often bruises more than just your ego. In fact, millions of emergency room visits take place each year as a result of slip and falls. And unfortunately, some can cause life altering injuries.
If you or a family member have injuries from a slip and fall due to negligence, you deserve legal assistance you trust.
Tripping, slipping, and falling in Chicago could result in a premises liability case. However, make sure your injuries receive prompt and proper medical attention, if necessary. When you sustain an injury due to negligence, you should not bear the responsibility of paying your medical bills. Let a trusted Chicago slip and fall lawyer help you seek compensation to pay those bills today.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
A slip and fall accident is a legal term. However, unlike many legal terms, this one is pretty self-explanatory. A slip and fall happens when you slip and fall due to an unsafe condition. This can happen in public, either walking down a street or while visiting a business, or in someone else’s home.
Most people associate slip and fall accidents with a wet floor. While that can happen, slip and fall accidents encompass much more. In particular, poorly lit or maintained staircases.
Where do slip and fall accidents take place?
It’s very common to slip and fall at work. For example, construction workers suffer more deaths and injuries than any other profession from slipping and falling. But slip and falls also happen at stores and in office buildings. We have many types of businesses in Chicago. Each must maintain their floors and fix the potholes in their parking lots to ensure safe walking conditions for their customers.
Many people blame themselves for falling. But the blame doesn’t always belong to them. If the floor is slippery due to an unnatural condition, the owner of the business has a duty to keep that floor dry and clean so you can safely enter. Further, to keep handrails on stairs up to code, and lighting on in parking lots at night. If they fail in their duty, we can try to hold them responsible for your injuries.
What are common causes of slip and falls?
Common causes of slip and falls include:
- Slippery flooring caused from an employee mopping or spilling, and not warning customers
- Worn or buckling carpet or floor mats
- Poor lighting
- Defective flooring
- Loose cords
- Broken stairs and handrails
- Pavement defects
What should I do if injured in a slip and fall accident?
Because slipping and falling causes embarrassment, you may want to exit the situation as quickly as possible. But that’s not always the best course of action.
- If you suffer an injury, stay put and wait for medical professionals to evaluate you. Or, seek medical attention as soon as practicable.
- If you are able to, take several photos of the condition that causes your slip and fall.
- If in a business, report your fall to management.
- Obtain contact information for any witnesses.
- Consult with a slip and fall attorney ASAP. That lawyer may need to work to preserve or document evidence. For example, obtaining accident video, or having an architect inspect a dangerous condition.
What if I fell in my apartment?
More than a quarter of people over age 65 fall each year. Many times, these injuries are not due to the individual’s age, but by external factors. For example, maybe a landlord failed to repair a staircase or floor, or didn’t properly install a new product in the residence.
No matter the cause, falling in your apartment building or rented condo is no reason to immediately dismiss the possibility that someone else is to blame for your injuries. When you work with us, we can help you determine the cause of your slip and fall, and see if we can get the compensation you deserve to help you recover.
How much is my slip and fall case worth?
This might be the most common question we get, and the answer is difficult. It depends. When you factor in all of the specific circumstances of your slip and fall, the amount you can recover could vary greatly.
The best answer we can give to this question is to speak with us. Share the details of your case, and ask us any number of questions. If we are a good fit for each other, we may be able to help guide you to a suitable outcome.
Factors that can affect the value of your case include:
- Your injuries
- The medical bills
- The amount of time spent out of work
- Your ability to return to your regular life
- The insurance policy of the at-fault party
- The liability, how strong is your case against the at fault party
How much time do I have to bring a claim?
In Illinois, you typically only have two years from the date of your accident to bring a personal injury claim against the at fault party. While two years may seem like a long time, this time will go by quickly. What’s more, the statute of limitations is not when you need to start seeking things like medical care or compiling evidence. Those needs require you to move far more quickly, so please call us today.
When you are focusing on your recovery, you do not want to worry about meeting deadlines for a personal injury claim. That’s why you should work with a slip and fall lawyer in Chicago who stays on top of the deadlines for you.
How do I pay my medical bills?
The person or company who is the cause of your injuries should bear the responsibility for your medical bills. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as simply saying they need to pay your bills. When you are injured in a slip and fall, you need to show the at-fault party caused your injuries by failing to take action that would have prevented you from slipping and falling while on their property.
This legal process has complexities. You should only trust to a skilled and experienced Chicago slip and fall lawyer. We have many years of experience helping slip and fall victims like you. So, if you have a good case, we know we can give you the guidance you deserve to help you recover.
Make your physical recovery your top priority. Your ability to get back to your regular life depends on your focus. To do that, let your lawyer worry about the stress of the personal injury process so you can focus on your physical recovery.
How Can The Chicago Slip and Fall Attorneys at Abels & Annes Help?
Abels & Annes, P.C., has represented numerous clients in the Chicago area in slip and fall or premises liability accidents. In the Chicago area, we know that many property owners fail to comply with local building codes and other safety standards. Many slip and fall injuries are caused by defective property conditions. In serious injury cases, our Chicago slip and fall attorneys will retain architects and other building professionals to examine properties and identify serious deficiencies.
If your injury is major, we know that medical bills and other impacts can quickly amount to substantial sums. This is particularly true when an injury involves a long recovery period or impacts your ability to perform your job.
If you have a serious injury, do not try to pursue your slip and fall case without an experienced and qualified attorney. Many times, slip and fall cases are not easy to settle, and the mere fact of injury is not enough to prove liability. At Abels & Annes, P.C., you can be confident that our Chicago personal injury lawyers will give you an honest assessment of the viability of your claim. And, if we take your case, we will aggressively pursue damages resulting from your slip and fall accident. Contact Abels & Annes P.C. at (312) 924-7575 or use our online contact form.