Each year, thousands of people are hospitalized due to slip and fall injuries. Many people think slip and fall injuries are minor incidents. However, individuals can have substantial injuries and can be, at the very least, embarrassing. Unfortunately, many are of the individuals involved in slip and fall claims are our elderly. Elderly individuals can sustain many injuries, including significant hip and knee fractures. Slip and fall injuries are a leading cause in Chicago for serious injuries. Slip and falls injuries are also common in the workplace.
Injuries sustained in a slip-and-fall accident can have life-altering consequences. Aside from the medical issues a person has to endure, experiencing financial hardship is a very real possibility due to the cost of medical treatment. Fortunately, an avenue to seek compensation for these costs is possible if the slip and fall accident was caused by the negligence of another party. Our experienced Chicago slip and fall lawyer at the Law Office of M. Andrew Hamilton, P.C. is dedicated to providing quality legal counsel and representation to individuals injured due to slip and fall accidents. Call us today at (312) 999-7890 for a free consultation with one of our skilled Chicago personal injury attorneys.
Slip and Fall Claims Defined
Generally speaking, a slip and fall injury occurs when someone is injured on someone else’s property or land. A slip and fall claim is a tort claim or personal injury claim based on premises liability law. If established, a slip and fall claim can cause loss or harm to an individual, and result in legal liability to the person or entity who responsible for causing injury to the individual.
Property owners and managers have a duty exercise ordinary or reasonable care to individuals who are on their property. If there is a dangerous condition that can cause harm to a person, it is the owner or manager’s responsibility to make the necessary repairs to make the premises safe or provide ample warning about the hazard.
Property owners or managers may be held liable for damages in a slip and fall claim if the injured party or claimant can prove that:
- There was a condition on the land or property that presented an unreasonable risk of harm to the injured victim on the property.
- The landowner or property, using ordinary care, knew or should have known of the condition and the risk.
- The land owner or occupier could reasonably expect the injured victim on the land or property wouldn’t realize or discover the danger; or would fail to protect himself or herself against the danger.
- The landowner or property manager was negligent by one or more acts or omissions
- The victim was injured. The injured victim seeks money damages from the landowner or property manager.
- The landowner’s or occupier’s negligence was a proximate cause of the victim’s injury.
The burden of proof lies with the claimant or injured person to show that the property owner or manager’s negligence had – whether directly or indirectly – caused the injuries. To establish this, the injured party should prove that the property owner or manager had notice of the hazardous or dangerous condition prior to the slip and fall accident.
There are two types of notices in slip and fall cases, Actual and Constructive notice.
Actual notice is very straightforward. In a slip or trip and fall claim, it means that the property owner or manager must have been made aware of the hazardous or dangerous condition by seeing it in person (firsthand notice), being told about the condition, knew about it beforehand, or being informed through writing. For example, if someone tripped over a torn rug in a retail department store, and store manager stated that he was aware of the torn rug, but failed to warn his customer of the torn rug, then the store would have actual notice of the dangerous condition on the property.
Constructive Notice involves directly or indirectly showing that the property owner or manager knew or should have known that a hazardous or dangerous condition exists on the premises and that it was present for a reasonable amount of time. Constructive notice is harder to establish due to the fact that property owners or managers can use the defense of not knowing of the risk. With a lack of constructive notice, it will be difficult to establish liability in a slip-and-fall claim.
However, there are some instances where the injured party can establish the negligence of the property owners by proving the main components of a negligence claim: the existence of a duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Some examples include the following:
- Staff had been conducting cleaning activities such as mopping the floor. A manager should know that since the floor could be slippery while the floor is being mopped, they should put up a sign that the floor is wet to inform visitors of the risk.
- Employee of a retail store drops a can of paint (that it sells) while someone walks by it and trips over it.
If you have been injured in a slip or trip and fall case, it is important to have the help of an attorney who is experienced in handling such cases. At the Law Office of M. Andrew Hamilton, P.C., our attorney conduct diligent investigations of the circumstances of the slip-and-fall cases we handle. We believe that each case is unique and thus work hard to provide personalized assistance to each client. Call (312) 999-7890 today for a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help you with your slip and fall case.
Timeline of a Slip and Fall Claim in Chicago
Each case is unique but most slip and fall claims in Chicago usually follow the same processes. While this may be the case, it is crucial to get the help of an experienced Chicago slip-and-fall attorney who can keep you up to speed with the process involved in filing your claim or deadline and the factors that can affect matters such as the amount of compensation or how long your claim can take.
If injured, your priority after being injured in a slip and fall accident should be to seek medical attention as soon as possible. People commonly downplay the effects of a slip-and-fall accident however, the severity of your injuries may not be immediately visible. Broken bones, disc bulges, and herniations, or fractures, as well as concussion due to head trauma, can take some time before the symptoms or pain manifest.
Get as much information about the accident as you can. Gathering and preserving evidence from the scene increases the possibility of you winning your claim. If you are unable to collect evidence due to your injuries, a trusted friend, family member, or a personal injury lawyer can gather details about the accident on your behalf.
The following evidence can provide strong support for your personal injury claim:
- Incident reports
- Physical evidence
- Witness Testimony
- Photos from the scene
- Personal recollection
- Testimony from industry experts
The parties involved in the case can either negotiate or the case can move on to litigation. If the insurance company accepts a degree of liability by their insured or client, they can offer to settle and negotiate the compensation. If a case is settled, there may be no need to escalate the case into civil court. However, if negotiations break down, either because the insurance company insists on undervaluing the injured party’s claim, the insurance company denies all liability or for any other reason depending on the circumstances of the case, a lawsuit can be filed to pursue damages in a trial.
There are deadlines for filing claims. Getting the help of a trial-ready Chicago personal injury attorney can be crucial in such cases where a claim moves to litigation. A skilled attorney should have the knowledge and experience necessary to navigate the legal process of filing a claim and seeing it through to completion. Our team at the Law Office of M. Andrew Hamilton, P.C., led by top-rated personal injury attorney Andrew Hamilton, does this and more.
Our team goes above and beyond to pursue the maximum possible compensation for our clients and provides quality, personalized assistance in each case we handle. We understand how confusing and overwhelming being injured in a slip and fall case can be especially with the risk of life-altering consequences after an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident and need assistance to file a claim in Chicago, contact us today at (312) 999-7890 or fill out our form for a free consultation on how we can help.