Slip and Fall Accidents Dangerously Common in Chicago
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury in Chicago or the greater Chicago area, you may be eligible to file a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit. Contact a slip and fall attorney Chicago at TorHoerman Law – your Chicago slip and fall lawyer.
Chicago Slip and Fall Injury Facts
Did you know about 9.2 million people were treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries in 2016, more than 21% of all hospital emergency visits? Slip and fall accidents are also the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Or, did you know that one out of four older people, those 65 and older, will fall? But, even more surprisingly, only half of those people will tell their doctors about the injury.
The costs associated with falls are estimated to be $13-14 million per year in the United States.
It should come as no surprise that slip and fall accidents can be incredibly dangerous and expensive to treat. Slip and fall accidents are so prevalent that a non-profit organization, the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) was founded in 1997 to “aid in the prevention of slips, trips, and falls through education, research, and standards development.”
While no one wants to slip and fall, it is incredibly common. By walking into any department store or restaurant in Chicago or surrounding areas, you would expect care was taken to ensure your safety. A business owner and the city of Chicago both a legal obligation to provide the utmost care for customers and citizens.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Slip and fall injuries are very common in Chicago, especially in the city during the winter months.
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, you may be eligible to take legal action. Contact a Chicago slip and fall lawyer today to see whether your injuries qualify you to file a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit.
Common Causes of Slip and Falls in Chicago
How do Chicago slip and fall accidents usually occur? It is a common question and unfortunately, one that gets asked too often. Causes of Chicago slip and fall accidents vary, but some of the most common include:
Wet surfaces and Chicago slip and fall accidents
One of the most common causes of Chicago slip and falls, wet surfaces account for a large majority of the reported slip and fall accidents. Wet surfaces can include anything from a recently mopped bathroom floor to an unproperly maintained pool deck.
Winter weather and Chicago slip and fall accidents
Snow and ice pose a particular danger to people because it creates slick, uneven, and dangerous conditions. A property owner has a certain duty to protect its customers, which means in the case of winter weather, they must shovel the walkways and apply salt to eliminate slick conditions. Chicago is known for its winter weather, with ice, snow and other slick debris coating the ground for nearly half of the year. If you take a spill outside of a business, on a sidewalk, in a parking lot, or anywhere else where the surfaces are expected to be maintained, you may be able to file a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit to cover the costs of your injuries.
Surface conditions and Chicago slip and fall accidents
This can include an array of things, but often, includes any objects that can obstruct the walking path or uneven surfaces such as in the instance of cracks on a sidewalk or a pothole in the street. If you trip over something impeding the way on a walking surface in Chicago and injure yourself, you may be able to file a Chicago slip and fall accident lawsuit.
Defective equipment and Chicago slip and fall accidents
Things like defective escalators, poor lighting or lack thereof, or broken or missing handrails can cause Chicago slip and falls. All of the above should be properly maintained to keep individuals safe. These Chicago slip and fall accidents can also be filed as a defective product lawsuit.
Occupational hazards and Chicago slip and fall accidents
Unsafe construction zones or working zones can greatly contribute to Chicago slip and falls. While many of these claims fall under the umbrella of Chicago workers compensation lawsuits, occasionally they will also classify as Chicago slip and fall lawsuits. The distinction is often hard to determine which is where your lawyer can be of help. The Industrial Safety & Occupational Health Markets attributes 85% of worker’s compensation claims to employees slipping on slick floors. It is best to discuss your options with a Chicago slip and fall lawyer before deciding which legal action to take.
Nursing home neglect and Chicago slip and fall accidents
A great cause for concern, Chicago nursing home neglect can lead to slip and fall accidents because of a worker’s failure to assist patients or ensure their safety at all times. Alarmingly, over 60% of nursing home residents will fall each year according to the National Floor Safety Institute.
Fraudulent Chicago slip and fall accidents
While surprising, fraudulent Chicago slip and fall accidents are commonplace. Essentially, an individual stages the accident. An example of this would be if a person purposely spilled something on the floor of a star then “slipped.”
The most common fractures that occur from slip and fall accidents are fractures are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm, and hand.
How Can I Protect Myself from Falling in Chicago?
In the case of another’s negligence, Chicago slip and fall accidents can be out of your control. The liability falls on the individual or company that failed to create a safe environment.
But, there are steps you can take to keep yourself safe and protected from falls. The following simple safety tips are a helpful guide.
- Always be careful. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Slow down. There is no need to hurry in lousy weather. If there is snow, ice, or rain on the group, take extra caution.
- Identify slippery conditions. No matter how well ice or snow is removed from sidewalks, roads, and driveways, there can still be lingering slippery patches. It is best to assume that all areas are slippery and icy for your own safety. Test the conditions by tapping the spot with your foot or hand to evaluate the slickness. Tread lightly.
- Never walk with your hands in your pockets in slippery conditions. If you do fall and your hands are in your pockets, two things can happen. One, you will be unable to catch your fall and two, you can inflict serious damages on your arms because of the odd angle your arms are position during the impact.
- Read instructions. Equipment such as ladders come with directions – read them carefully. Properly using the equipment can save you from a potential slip and fall.
- Wear shoes with tread. Shoes without tread can cause falls even in optimal conditions.
- Listen. This may seem like common knowledge, but often, listening is key to keeping yourself and others safe.
If you are a “do-it-yourself” kind of person, take extra precautions and follow all safety tips when working on projects. Your risk of slipping and falling can increase with these types of projects.
If you do suffer a serious injury due to a slip and fall, contact a Chicago slip and fall lawyer right away.
What Responsibility Do Chicago Property Owners Have to Maintain Safe Premises?
Falling under the category of premises liability, Chicago business owners have a legal obligation to maintain safety standards on their property(s) at all times according to the Illinois Premises Liability Act.
A conscious effort must be made by the property owner to maintain the property and ensure it is safe. This includes such actions as removing snow and ice during the winter and repairing uneven surfaces on sidewalks. Proper notice of potential hazards should be well documented. An example of notification would be the placement of a “wet floor” sign if there is a puddle or floors that were recently mopped.
One of the biggest factors in a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit is if the property owner knew about the potential hazards yet took no action to ensure repairs were made or notice was given. Under Illinois law, a plaintiff may recover compensation for damages caused by the negligent party. Damages in a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit often include things such as medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering. But, damages are not limited to those three categories. Damages in a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit can include both compensatory damages and punitive damages depending on the specifics of the incident. Your Chicago slip and fall lawyer will be able to help you calculate your total damages and determine an appropriate compensation amount.
What Types of Slip and Fall Warning Signs Should I Look For?
As part of a Chicago property owner’s duty to maintain safety, there will often be warning signs displayed throughout the property alerting you, or any other visiting individual, of potential slip and fall risks. Look out for the following signs alerting of a potential hazard.
- Slippery When Wet
- Caution: Fall Hazard
- Uneven Surfaces
- Broken: Do Not Use
Of course, if there are no warning signs, a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit may be warranted to recover compensation for the damages you, or a loved one, suffered.
How Do I Know if I Have a Chicago Slip and Fall Claim?
It should be well-known by now that a property owner has a duty of care to those individuals on the premise. But, there are questions you can ask yourself to decide whether or not you have a viable slip and fall lawsuit.
- Did the owner know of the hazard?
- If the owner knew of the hazard, did he or she take initiative to fix or remove the hazard?
- Were there warning signs alerting of the hazard?
- Were you injured as a result of the hazard?
Modified Comparative Negligence Rule in Chicago Slip and Fall Lawsuit
Illinois’ modified comparative negligence rule is used to determine the amount of compensation an injured party is eligible to receive from the property owner if the injured party shared negligence that resulted in the injury. If you are filing a Chicago slip and fall claim, it is important to point out that the party you are accusing of negligence will likely try to claim you had some amount of fault in the accident.
According to the modified comparative negligence rule, the sum of damages awarded to a person who suffers a slip and fall injury will be reduced by the amount of fault that the person holds.
For example, if the jury finds you 10% at fault for the accident and total cost of your damages is $30,000 (going back to what we talked about earlier – medical bills, lost wages, pain, and suffering), the defendant is only on the hook for $27,000. Basically, that $27,000 is the total damages minus the 10% you were responsible for.
It is important to note that there is a catch to the rule. If you were found to be more than 50% at fault for the accident, you may be prevented from receiving any amount of compensation for damages incurred.
Illinois Statute of Limitations for Slip and Fall Accidents
Another law that will greatly affect your Chicago slip and fall lawsuit is the Illinois statute of limitations. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for most accidents is two years, which essentially means that you, as the plaintiff, must take action on your Chicago slip and fall lawsuit within two years of the date of injury. That means you have a deadline to closely follow. Failing to contact a Chicago slip and fall lawyer or filing a case within two years can mean you no longer have the right to do so.
However, there is an exception to the general rule of two years. If you fell on a publicly owned property, such as a city park or a government building, the slip and fall claim must be filed within one year of the accident.
If you have any questions about the statute of limitations, contact our office to talk to an experienced slip and fall attorney Chicago. We offer free no-obligation Chicago slip and fall accident lawsuit consultations for all potential clients.
Proving Negligence in a Chicago Slip and Fall Accident
Slip and fall accidents can be tricky, but with the right legal team, success can be achieved. A large component of a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit is the investigation process, also referred to as the discovery phase. During this phase, your legal team will investigate every part of the accident – photographs that were taken, statements from witnesses, video taken from on-premise security cameras, any medical records, and your statement. This phase of a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit is the gathering of evidence.
You can help during this phase, too. Give your Chicago slip and fall injury lawyer any evidence you recorded after the accident, such as the shoes you were wearing when the slip and fall took place, pictures of the area where the accident took place, personal testimony, witness contact information, etc. This information can be used as evidence to support your claim.
By collecting all of the evidence, you and your legal team will be prepared with critical evidence should the other party claims the victim was at all fault.
Next Steps After a Chicago Slip and Fall Accident
What should I do if I suffer a Chicago slip and fall injury? It is a common question and one, that unfortunately, we get asked all too often. You, or a loved one, has just suffered a fall, but in the chaos, you are not sure of the next steps to take. Follow the guidelines to handle the accident with ease.
- Most importantly, seek medical attention right away. Calling 911 or going to the emergency room are both options. Mitigating your injuries is a crucial part of building a strong Chicago slip and fall accident lawsuit.
- Familiarize yourself with the steps of civil litigation, so you know what to expect if you decide to file a Chicago slip and fall lawsuit.
- Report the fall to the property owner immediately. Submit the report in writing, and keep a record of the report for your own records.
- If able, document the incident with notes and photos about what happened and how.
- Collect and organize any expenses related to your injury. This primarily includes keeping track of all medical expenses.
- Do not talk to the insurance company. Never give a statement to the insurance company(s) involved. Leave the communication up to your Chicago slip and fall lawyer.
- Contact a slip and fall attorney Chicago. At TorHoerman Law, we offer a free consultation to learn more about your case. There is no obligation as we want you to feel comfortable proceeding with a slip and fall lawsuit. Now is the time to ask questions.
- Do not post on social media. Not only should you refrain from discussing your case on all social platforms, but even posting a picture of yourself enjoying an activity could potentially damage your claim. This step is incredibly important.
Slip and Fall Attorney Chicago, Illinois
Hiring a personal injury lawyer is an important but sometimes difficult process.
At TorHoerman Law, an experienced slip and fall attorney Chicago can help answer you with any questions you may have. With decades of combined experience, our legal team fights for those injured through no fault of their own.
We operate on a contingency fee basis for all Chicago slip and fall lawsuits. So, we are as dedicated as our clients to get the best possible outcome for their case.
Contact TorHoerman Law today for a free, no-obligation Chicago slip and fall lawsuit consultation.
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