- How Do You Start a Slip and Fall Claim in Illinois?
- Should You Hire a Lawyer after a Slip and Fall in Chicago?
- What Must You Prove in a Slip and Fall Case in Illinois?
- Slip and Falls on Snow and Ice in Chicago and Illinois
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., our attorneys understand the serious impact that a slip and fall accident can have on a victim’s life. The victim of a slip and fall can suffer painful injuries, face high medical bills for emergency and long-term treatment and be unable to work and earn income for an extended period.
However, if the accident resulted from the negligence of a property owner, a slip and fall victim may have legal options available to him or her. The victim may be eligible to pursue a legal claim that can result in payment of all medical expenses and compensation for the victim’s lost wages, pain and suffering and more.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip, trip and fall in Chicago, Waukegan or elsewhere in Illinois, you can talk with a lawyer from Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., today and learn more about the options available to you.
We have obtained more than $975 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois, including 210 cases with an award of $1 million or more. We would welcome the opportunity to review your case and discuss how we can help you. Contact us now to get started.
How Do You Start a Slip and Fall Claim in Illinois?
Coming to our website and learning more about your rights and options after a slip and fall is an important first step. Our attorneys suggest that you also take the following seven steps as you embark on your case:
- Get medical treatment. If you have not gone to the emergency room or seen a family doctor yet, do so now. A slip and fall can result in head and brain injuries, soft tissue injuries and internal injuries that may not be immediately apparent. You need to make sure you are diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
- Report your accident. Make sure you report it to the right person such as a store manager, landlord, property manager or security guard. Submit the report in writing and fill out any required forms. Get a copy of the report.
- Gather evidence. Keep copies of any photos you took of the accident scene. Store the accident report and proof of your medical bills and other slip and fall-related expenses in a folder, along with any letters from an insurance company. If you have it, write down witness contact information.
- Keep a journal. Write down what happened while it is still fresh in your mind. Describe how the injury has impacted you physically and emotionally. Are you able to enjoy the life you had before your slip and fall injury? Are you facing any problems in your recovery? Keep track of your progress.
- Don’t talk with the insurance company. Never give a recorded statement to any insurance company that contacts you. Your words could be used against you. Don’t sign a release, either, until an attorney reviews any settlement offer you have received.
- Stay away from social media. Don’t discuss your case on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Even posting a photo of you at a party or enjoying an activity could undermine your claim.
- Talk with an attorney. A lawyer will take immediate steps to preserve evidence, deal with insurance companies and seek the compensation you deserve. The sooner an attorney can get started on your case, the better.
Should You Hire a Lawyer after a Slip & Fall Accident in Chicago?
You may be worried about your ability to afford an attorney to handle your slip and fall case. However, at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we will charge no legal fees or case costs unless we obtain a financial recovery for you. We don’t want cost concerns to keep you from getting the legal help you need.
We believe an attorney can play a crucial role in your case, especially when dealing with insurance companies. The reality is that the insurance companies will try to pay as little compensation as possible for the physical, emotional and financial harm you have suffered. An attorney will be focused on protecting you and your interests.
A Chicago premises liability lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will:
- Thoroughly investigate your slip and fall and build the strongest case possible
- Consult with experts who will help us to understand why your slip and fall occurred, who should be held responsible and what medical care and treatment you will need to recover from your injuries.
- File all claims on your behalf in a timely and proper manner.
- Aggressively seek a settlement that fully compensates you for your losses or take your case to court (if necessary).
- Structure any award you receive so that it maximizes your compensation and ensures you will receive the medical care you need in the future.
We are a law firm that is passionate about pursuing results that will truly make a difference in the lives of our clients in Chicagoland and across Illinois.
What Must You Prove in a Slip & Fall Case in Illinois?
A slip and fall accident is a type of premises liability case. It can be brought against any type of property owner or occupier, including a private homeowner, store or other business or a local, state or federal government.
To recover damages in an Illinois slip and fall claim, you generally must show:
- A condition on the property presented an unreasonable risk of harm to you. Hazards that might cause someone to slip, trip and fall include:
- The property owner knew or, in the exercise of ordinary care, should have known of both the condition and injury risk. In other words, the owner or occupier had “actual notice” based on seeing the slip and fall hazard or creating the hazard or “constructive notice” based on the hazard being there long enough that the owner or occupier should have seen it.
- The property owner could have reasonably expected that you would not have discovered or realized the danger or would fail to protect yourself against the danger. For example, you would not have known that an office building lobby was slippery because it had just been mopped.
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to protect you by either fixing the hazard or giving you a proper warning about it.
- As a result of the property owner’s negligence, you suffered injuries.
As you consider whether you have the ability to bring a slip and fall claim, you will need to ask yourself several key questions, including:
- If you tripped or slipped, had the dangerous spot been there long enough so that the owner should have known about it?
- If there once was a good reason for the object to be there but that reason no longer exists, could the object have been removed?
- Was there a safer place the object could have been located without much greater inconvenience or expense to the property owner?
- Could a simple barrier have been created or a warning given to prevent you from slipping or tripping?
- Did insufficient or broken lighting contribute to the accident?
Slip & Fall FAQs
Can I sue my employer for a slip and fall?
In most cases, you would not be eligible to sue your employer. Most injuries that happen on the job fall under the umbrella of workers’ compensation, and employers carry worker’s compensation policies to cover employees for just this type of situation.
However, if the negligence of a third-party, for example a contractor, caused your slip and fall accident, you may be able to file a third-party injury claim against them and still seek workers’ compensation benefits as well.
Can I sue the government if I fell on public property?
The short answer is yes, you could sue a government entity if you’re injured on public property. That said, it can be a challenging and time-consuming process. You’ll need an experienced lawyer to help you cut through the bureaucratic red tape and to be sure you meet their deadlines, fill out the right forms, and send them to the right place. You’ll also need to document your claim thoroughly.
What if my fall happened at an apartment complex?
If you fell in a public area of your apartment complex, you may be able to hold your landlord liable if they failed to address a hazard they knew about or reasonably should have known about.
The important thing to know is that you can’t sue your landlord just because you fell. You have to prove that the property owner (or an employee or agent) should have recognized a dangerous condition and removed or repaired it, but failed to do so. Or, you need to demonstrate that they caused the dangerous condition (like leaving objects on a stairway, for example) and you were hurt as a result.
How long will my slip and fall case take?
It depends on the severity of your injuries and the circumstances surrounding your accident. Claims can be resolved relatively quickly if the person or business that acted negligently agrees to pay immediately. Still, you need to understand the severity of your injuries and the long-term impact before you know what fair compensation should be, and that can take time.
If the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement or if they try to claim that your injuries were caused by your own negligence, your attorney will likely need to file a lawsuit to seek damages in court. The process of negotiating a settlement can continue even after a lawsuit has been filed, so your lawyer will likely keep communication open with the at-fault party’s representatives.
Ultimately, the case might end up going to trial, which can take some time to resolve. Be sure to discuss the specifics of your case with your attorney to better understand the anticipated timeline for resolution.
How much is my slip and fall case worth?
The type of compensation and the amount you’ll ultimately pursue will depend on the severity of your injuries and other factors. You are eligible to seek compensation for losses you’ve incurred, including:
- Medical bills (current and future)
- Lost wages from time missed from work
- Household bills and necessities
- Travel for treatment
- Loss of future earnings (if disabled)
You could also seek compensation for non-economic damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Mental anxiety or post-traumatic stress
How much does a lawyer charge for a slip and fall case?
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C., we won’t charge you anything upfront to represent you in your slip and fall case. We represent clients on a contingency-fee basis. That means that we work on your behalf with no fees out of pocket, and our attorneys are paid only if we recover compensation for you. We are committed to helping our clients demand the justice they deserve, and we firmly believe that no one should have to worry about how they’ll afford the representation they need after a serious accident.
What should I do to protect my rights after a fall?
First, be sure that you get the medical treatment you need. Visit a doctor and have a thorough medical checkup. Follow all the doctor’s orders.
Avoid talking to the person or business that was responsible for your fall, or any of their representatives. Their insurance companies may try to contact you. Remember who these companies represent. It’s not you. They may offer you a settlement upfront or try to dissuade you from contacting a lawyer to begin a slip and fall personal injury claim.
The best thing to do is to not talk to anyone except your attorney about the accident. You have every right to seek compensation from the responsible party. Contact a slip and fall attorney to represent you, and don’t assume that anyone else will have your best interests in mind.
Where do falls commonly happen?
Many slip and fall or trip and fall injuries happen in similar settings. Often, the person or business responsible for maintaining the space fails to do so in a regular or consistent manner. When they let maintenance, cleaning, or snow clearing fall behind, they put the public at risk. Some of the most common places where people are injured in slip and fall accidents include:
- If escalators are poorly maintained or slippery, falls can happen quickly and cause serious injuries.
- Grocery stores. Grocery store stock introduces a lot of risk for spills, debris, or clutter, which can cause customers to slip or trip.
- Routine cleaning of public spaces can make hotel floors slippery, and vacuum cords or other tripping hazards can pose additional threats to health and safety.
- Overcrowded shopping spaces can make walking through a store hazardous.
- Parking lots or garages. Poorly maintained parking lots can have potholes and other surface hazards, and garages may have slipping hazards when management fails to clean up oil or other spills. Inadequate lighting is also a factor in many slip and fall accidents in these spaces.
- Pool surfaces can become very slippery, especially if they are not adequately cleaned or maintained.
- Restaurant owners have a duty to keep their floors clear of tripping and slipping hazards and clean up spills immediately to prevent injuries.
- Poorly maintained or cleared sidewalks can cause a pedestrian to fall.
- Like escalators, slippery or poorly maintained stairs can cause serious injuries because falls are likely to be longer and harder.
No matter where you’re hurt, it’s important to contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your fall to help you pursue the compensation you’re owed.
Slip & Falls on Snow and Ice in Chicago and Illinois
Due to our cold winters, residents of Chicago, Waukegan and other parts of Illinois face the heightened risk of a fall-down accident due to icy and snowy sidewalks, parking lots, stairways and building entrances.
Generally, you cannot sue a property owner if your slip and fall was caused by the owner’s failure to remove a natural accumulation of snow and ice.
However, you may be able to recover damages if you can show that your slip-and-fall injuries resulted from:
- The property owner’s aggravation of a natural condition (for instance, the owner cleared and piled snow)
- The ice and snow was an unnatural accumulation (such as being caused by a gutter or drain).
If a property owner hired a contractor to clear and pile snow, that contractor could also be liable for any slip and fall injuries that you suffer.
The attorneys of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., have extensive experience with navigating the unique issues that arise in cases involving slip and falls on ice and snow. We can help you to overcome those issues as we seek relief for you.
Slip and Falls in Nursing Homes
Another unique type of slip-and-fall accident involves elderly residents in nursing homes in Chicago and other parts of Illinois.
These accidents can result in serious and potentially life-threatening injuries such as head and brain damage and hip fractures. Unfortunately, they are often caused by nursing home abuse and neglect, including:
At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., we work with with an on-staff legal nurse consultant and other experts who can help us with investigating and analyzing nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including those that involve falls.
Contact us today if your loved one suffered a fall in a nursing home which you believe may have been caused by abuse or neglect.
What Compensation Can I Receive for a Slip and Fall Injury?
A slip and fall accident can result in a wide range of serious injuries, including fractures, soft-tissue damage, spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injury (TBI). It is important to work with a law firm that will seek maximum compensation for the harm you have suffered, including:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages and diminished earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life.
A property owner’s insurance company may try to put blame on you for your slip and fall accident. For instance, the insurer may claim that you tripped, slipped and fell due to an “open and obvious” hazard that you should have detected or did something else that was negligent.
In Illinois, you could be barred from recovering anything if you were more than 50 percent at fault for your injury. Otherwise, your damages would be reduced by an amount that is proportionate to the percentage of fault attributed to you.
What is the Statute of Limitations on a Premises Liability Case in Illinois?
It is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible if you are injured in a slip and fall accident. An attorney must take steps right away to preserve evidence and begin the process of bringing a claim against the property owner.
A slip and fall claim, like other personal injury lawsuits in Illinois, must be filed within two years after an accident has occurred. This is called the statute of limitations. If you fail to meet that deadline, you could be barred from pursuing a claim.
If the property owner was a state or local government or an agency such as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), you will have only one year to bring the claim and will also have to comply with certain other special requirements.
An Illinois slip and fall lawyer at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will make sure your claim is timely and properly filed.
Get Help Today from a Chicago Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you have been injured in a slip, trip and fall in Chicago, Waukegan or elsewhere in Illinois, contact our slip and fall lawyers at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C. We will serve you with a highly dedicated team of legal professionals, medical experts and investigators. They will be committed to pursuing full and fair compensation for you. Reach us by phone or online and get started today with a free consultation.
Sources / More Information:
- Illinois Premises Liability Act, Illinois General Assembly
- Important Facts About Falls, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)