Slip & Falls

One of the leading causes of injury in America is as simple as slipping and falling. Every year, thousands of people present to hospital emergency departments with complaints of leg, back, and join pain after a fall. While some falls are fairly minor and do not require medical attention, there are times when a fall is more than just a fall. At Crossroad Legal, we’ve helped people recover compensation for falls suffered in all sorts of ways. For instance, our attorney has handled cases involving:

  • Slip and fall on a floor mat at a local mall
  • Slip and fall in a store, due to a large spill
  • Slip and fall on uneven surfaces inside and outside of a retail business
  • Falls into a water meter pit
  • Falls on ice and snow
  • Falls on improperly maintained stairways

These are just a few examples of the many ways that people get hurt in slip and fall situations. But it’s important to note what is and is not a compensable slip and fall injury. In other words, do you have a case or not?  It is not as straightforward as people tend to think, and you are not entitled to compensation just because you fell. Instead, it largely depends on how you fell, where you fell, why you fell, and your specific status on the property.

Elements of a Good Slip and Fall Claim. To receive compensation for a slip and fall injury in Illinois, you will need to prove a few things. First, you must determine if you are a licensee, invitee, guest or trespasser, according to the law. Now, these terms mean something different in this context. In general, a retail establishment or private residence owner will have different duties or obligations to you, depending on the type of location and your status.

Trespassers’. A trespasser in this context simply means someone who is not invited onto the premises, who is not doing business there, and whose presence was not for a lawful purpose. There are exceptions for small children who may not appreciate what it even is to be a trespasser, but for adults, Illinois simply says the property owner simply cannot intentionally harm them unless they are there to do harm (self-defense). Consider a person who wanders onto a property and doesn’t realize he is trespassing. If he falls into a pit on the property, he will likely not have many rights to compensation unless he can prove the property owner deliberately built the pit to hurt him specifically.

Invitees. This is the opposite of a trespasser. Businesses owe these individuals the highest duty of care. An invitee is someone who the business owner or premises owner has welcomed or invited onto the property for some mutual benefit. This is the usual relationship of a customer to a business. If a person is invited onto the property as a member of the public and is there to shop and make purchases, they are generally regarded as an invitee. In this case, the owner or manager of the property must ensure that there are no undisclosed hazards. So, a spill that is left for a long time is an example of a hazard that a reasonable person would not expect. Likewise, broken stairs, broken railing for stairs, and similar items in disrepair can all be grounds for a civil claim for injuries.

Licensee. This is a bit in between, in that they are on the property for their own benefit, but not necessarily for a mutual purpose and not necessarily as a trespasser. We often see this in the context of delivery drivers, solicitors, and so forth. People who are not there to shop or do business with the premises owner, but they are also not trespassing or acting in some way that is hostile. In this case, the property owner merely needs to announce and disclose any latent (hidden) defects that could potentially cause injury. For instance, if there is a section of flooring that could give way and harm someone but it is not easily visible by looking at it, this would be something that requires a notice.

Social Guests. This final category applies to private residences mostly. When we think of house parties or get togethers, we generally don’t think about what would happen if a friend or guest were seriously hurt on our property. But the law generally just requires that private owners notify guests of any latent or hidden defects, such as a hole in the ground, sharp objects, exposed electrical, and so forth.

If you or a loved one have suffered a serious injury that requires medical treatment, and you believe a property owner, business, or company may be at fault in causing your injuries do to an unsafe condition, you need aggressive and experienced legal representation early. Many times camera footage will reveal a lot about the event, but most businesses do not maintain closed circuit video footage more than a few days to weeks, after which, the recordings are taped over. So, it is very important to reach out to an attorney as early as possible to get an investigation started.  In complex cases with large injuries or fatalities, a lawyer can hire engineering experts, trained experts in industrial technology and safety standards, and the like. There is a very short amount of time to file suit in these cases, and depending on the company or location, you may have additional requirements that do not exist in other cases. So, call Crossroad Legal 24/7 to speak to someone free of charge. All calls are free and confidential, and we only get paid if you do.

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