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Illinois Slip and Fall Injuries
A slip and fall injury is a type of personal injury in which a person slips, trips, or falls on someone else’s property due to negligence of the property owner. In order to have a successful slip and fall case, the plaintiff must prove two things:
- Something, be it a slippery surface or an object, led to your fall (as opposed to simply fainting and becoming injured on someone’s property), and
- How the object got there and the length of time the object was there.
In regards to the second point, the court will work to determine who was at fault for why you fell. For example, if you slipped on some water at a restaurant, the court will use witness testimony, photographic evidence and police reports to determine if the water was on the floor because you spilt your glass, the waiter accidently spilt it, or it came from a leaky pipe that the manager neglected to fix. Through the evidence, the court helps establish negligence.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is generally defined as the “failure to do something a reasonable person would do in those circumstances.” If everyone in your neighborhood has shoveled their sidewalk, but you decide not to and someone slips on the ice, you may be negligent because you failed to manage your property.
With that said, negligence isn’t always a black-and-white issue. There are a few types of negligence, explained below:
- Contributory negligence means that you are more than 50 percent at fault for your injuries. Under Illinois law, you are unable to collect damages from a defendant if it is determined your actions were the main reason why you were injured.
- Comparative negligence means that you were partially at fault for your injury, but someone else played a bigger role. Under comparative negligence, you are less than 50 percent at fault for your injury. The damages you receive will be proportional to your percentage of fault, so you’ll receive a higher payment if the court rules you only played a small role in your injury.
- Joint and several liability means that you can sue each party that contributed to your injury regardless of the percentage of fault each one shared.
Filing a Lawsuit in Illinois
One of the most important things to do when considering a lawsuit is to consult with a slip and fall attorney. Because the statute of limitations forbids you from filing a slip and fall lawsuit after a certain time period, it’s important to discuss your case with an attorney as quickly as possible.
Also, because one of the most important issues in your case surrounds the percentage of fault for those parties involved, you should consider speaking with an attorney when the details are fresh in your mind. By reviewing the evidence in a timely manner, your attorney can give you a better chance of limiting your fault in the accident.
Lastly, many people seek the advice of a personal injury lawyer because they don’t want to miss out on a bigger payment. Depending on where you got hurt, you may be offered a settlement by the property owner’s insurance company in order to reach a quick and inexpensive resolution. While you might feel like $5,000 is a lot of money for your fall, a lawyer can determine if it a better decision to take the defendant to court. A person without an attorney might jump at the $5,000 offer, but little did they know they could have won a $50,000 ruling had they just talked an attorney.
Aurora Slip & Fall Attorney
If you have suffered a slip and fall injury, or if you simply want to learn more about the personal injury legal process in Illinois, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (630) 717-7801. We’re here to get you back on your feet.