When an unforeseeable accident puts you in the hospital and out of work for a period of time, it can be overwhelming trying to deal with everything. In the event you were injured on someone’s property by a dangerous condition, you may have grounds for an injury claim. A Chicago slip and fall lawyer from Thomas Law Offices can help.
Our injury attorneys understand the struggles associated with recovering from an unexpected fall. We believe negligent property owners should be held accountable for failing to maintain premises properly. If you’re in a situation where you think you have grounds to file a slip and fall claim, our attorneys can take a look at what you’ve been through and provide you with sound legal advice.
Conditions That Cause Slip and Falls
While a trip and fall can happen anywhere, most injuries happen in similar settings or locations. When a property owner fails to maintain their space and conditions become dangerous, the public is put at risk. Some of the most common conditions that we see cause slip and falls include the following:
- Wet floors. In public places, like grocery stores, wet floor signs should be placed when spills happened if they cannot be cleaned up in a timely fashion. Owners are responsible for cleaning up spills and wet spots in private homes to make sure no one falls.
- Uneven stairs. When staircases fall into a state of disrepair, it’s easy for boards to come out of place. Just one uneven stair can cause someone to fall and tumble back down to the ground floor. Staircase falls often result in head and neck trauma.
- Torn carpet. Freshly installed carpet is usually tacked down properly, but as carpet ages, there’s a chance it could get torn in high-traffic areas or if pets pick at corners. Tripping and falling on carpet can result in hitting furniture on the way to the ground.
- Broken handrails. Handrails are there to assist people with stairs and inclines. When a handrail is loose or missing, an accident can quickly happen.
- Overcrowded aisles. Grocery stores and big-box retailers sell a variety of items. When shelves start to become too full, aisle displays are used. Those displays are also used to promote new items. When too much is in any given aisle, however, shoppers are at risk of colliding with objects and other carts or tripping over displays.
- Poorly cleared sidewalks. Chicago residents are well aware of how much snow winter can bring. If you own a property, you are responsible for ensuring sidewalks are cleared of snow and ice. If someone slips and falls on an uncleared sidewalk, the property owner can be held accountable for damages.
- Slippery escalators. While escalators are a fast alternative to stairs and elevators, they need to be kept in a clean manner to be safe. If an escalator is slippery, someone could fall and get a limb or piece of clothing stuck in the stairs or gears.
- Inadequately lit hallways or parking lots. Business owners and landlords are supposed to ensure hallways and parking lots are adequately lit to ensure no one trips and falls in the dark. Potholes, uneven pavement, and other hazards are harder to see without the proper lighting.
If you’ve been injured as a result of one of those situations, we can help. If you don’t see the cause of your accident listed, we’re still here for you. We can evaluate your situation and determine if it merits a premises liability claim.
Hazardous Properties and Victims’ Rights in Illinois
As a legal visitor on a property, you have the right to encounter only safe premises. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that the inside and outside of their homes or businesses are well maintained and safe. In the event a hazardous condition presents itself, the owner is responsible for fixing the issue as quickly as possible and informing visitors of the potential danger. When that doesn’t happen and someone is injured, legal options are available.
It’s important to note that two laws in Illinois could significantly impact your ability to seek compensation. The first is the statute of limitations. In Illinois, you have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. In the event you miss the deadline, you will likely render yourself ineligible for compensation.
You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the comparative negligence law. The opposing party may attempt to establish a degree of fault on you for your accident. If they successfully pin some of the blame on you, your settlement award will likely decrease. Fortunately, our slip and fall attorneys will construct a strong claim on your behalf to avoid jeopardizing your chance for full and fair compensation.
The location of the premises where you fell can also have an impact on the claim. Some of the most common locations falls happen include in nursing homes, at work, and outside on icy surfaces in the wintertime.
Falls in Nursing Homes
The elderly population is at a high risk of falling. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), three million adults over age 65 are treated for fall injuries in emergency departments every year. Older people are more likely to fall because of lower body weakness, Vitamin D deficiency, difficulties with balance, and vision problems. When a nursing home resident falls, the facility could be held accountable if staff members were not monitoring residents properly or adequate care wasn’t being provided.
Falls at Work
If you work a job that requires you travel to properties and do work, you may be able to take legal action against the property owner if you fall. While you are performing a work duty, you are considered an invitee. This means that you have been invited onto the property to conduct work. In addition to a potential premises liability claim, you may also be able to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.
Falls on Ice
Chicago winters bring cold, slippery conditions. In certain instances, property owners are required to maintain sidewalks, stairs, and driveways to ensure visitors do not fall. If proper precautions aren’t taken and someone falls on a patch of ice, it’s possible the owner could be held liable for any related injuries.
How to File a Slip and Fall Claim in Chicago
The actions you take after a trip and fall accident will greatly impact your claims process. It’s important to report the accident to the premises owner, take photographs of the accident site and injuries, collect contact information from witnesses, and seek medical treatment. Make sure you follow your doctor’s recommendations, as it could look as though your injuries are not as severe if you do not.
Once you’re ready to learn about your options, get in touch with a slip and fall attorney in Chicago. Your lawyer at Thomas Law Offices will be able to explain the claims process to you and help you get started. You will likely begin by retelling your accident, and your attorney will start an investigation to get to the bottom of what happened. Then, they’ll use that evidence to determine how the property owner was negligent and what you’re owed as a result.
If you’re wondering how long your slip and fall case will last, the answer is it depends. We know that’s probably not what you’d like to hear, but every case is unique. The severity of your injuries, along with the circumstances surrounding your accident, can affect how long it takes to reach settlement. If the property owner is willing to accept fault, your case will likely conclude sooner. If they try to blame you, you could be looking at a longer legal battle. There’s also the matter of whether your claim will settle via negotiations or if you will need to go to trial. We’ll go over your options and help you make the best decision for you.
Determining the Value of a Slip and Fall Case
The value of any given slip and fall claim varies greatly depending on the extent of the victim’s injuries. Falls can result in a wide range of injuries, from minor fractures to serious spinal cord injuries or even fatal traumatic brain injuries. In order to properly value your claim, your lawyer will consider your economic and noneconomic losses.
Your economic losses are calculable, as they’re based on damages like past and future medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and diminished earning capacity. Your lawyer will use applicable hospital bills, medical records, physician statements, expert opinions, receipts, and more to value what you’ve lost in terms of economic damages.
Noneconomic damages are more challenging to calculate, as they’re based on types of losses that are considered more personal, like pain and suffering. Your damages for this category are likely to be high if you sustained a more severe and life-altering injury.
Contact Thomas Law Offices in Chicago
It only takes moments for a trip and fall accident to upend your life completely. Recovery can take weeks, months, or longer, and you may be struggling to afford the care you need while keeping food on the table. To secure your family’s future and ensure you get what you need to reach your maximum medical improvement, you need a Chicago slip and fall lawyer from Thomas Law Offices.
Our attorneys have a comprehensive understanding of how trip and fall claims work, and we’re prepared to take yours on next. When you get in touch with our firm, we’ll review your situation, determine who is responsible for the property you were injured on, and determine what laws apply to your claim. Once we have that information, we can move forward with a thorough investigation and value your damages and losses.
The sooner you schedule a free case evaluation with our law firm, the better your chances are of pursuing a successful claim. Contact us today for more information.