Slip and Fall Law
Illinois Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall might not be the most dramatic of accidents, but it can cause significant injuries and involve great expense. You might injure your wrist after slipping on an icy Chicago store entrance, or break a leg falling down your Evanston neighbor’s poorly-kept steps. In Illinois, what happens next is based on the rules on slip and fall accidents. They explain when a property owner is liable for damages, and the compensation that a victim could claim.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
It is important to document as much as possible about the circumstances of a slip and fall accident. Taking photos of the scene and the hazard which caused the fall is very helpful. Finding out the details of any witnesses who saw the accident is also useful. You should also make a note of anything the property owner or their employees say about the accident.
A slip and fall victim should keep a record of all medical treatment and expenses, as well as any relevant documents on, for example, missed work due to the accident, or emotional suffering caused by the fall.
How is liability for a slip and fall accident decided?
When a person injures themselves in a slip and fall accident on another person’s property, they might be able to make a claim for damages. To do this, they will need to show that the property owner was at fault for the accident. This means showing that the accident was the result of a dangerous condition that:
- The property owner created, or knew about and hadn’t addressed; or
- The hazard had existed for long enough that the property owner should reasonably have addressed as part of their duty of care to people on their property.
For example, a person who slips on a newly-cleaned floor in a grocery store could claim damages if the hazard was not cordoned off or marked, and wasn’t obviously dangerous to a reasonable person. The store owner has been negligent in not foreseeing the danger of the condition.
What happens if a victim is responsible for a slip and fall accident?
In many slip and fall accidents, the person injured will share responsibility for the accident happening. They may have ignored an obvious danger, or not been paying attention to their surroundings. In these situations, Illinois law applies a concept of “contributory fault”. This means that a court will work out, as a percentage, how far the victim has contributed to the accident happening.
- If the victim is more than 50 percent at fault for the accident, they are not able to claim any damages.
- If the victim is less than 50 percent responsible for their accident, they can claim damages but compensation will be reduced by the percent they were at fault.
For example, a victim who is found to be 30 percent at fault could claim damages for their injuries, but overall compensation will be reduced by 30 percent.
What is the timeframe for filing a claim after a slip and fall accident in Illinois?
The Illinois statute of limitations says that a slip and fall case must be filed within two years of the accident happening. A personal injury attorney will be able to advise on whether a claim should be delayed to ensure the full extent of a victim’s injury and expenses are known before claiming damages.