Slip and fall accidents happen all the time. Whether a child falls at recess or a customer at a grocery store slips on an unattended spill, these accidents could occur anywhere and at any time. While most of the time slips and falls result in very minor injuries, if any at all, other times the resulting damages and losses can be very serious. In such circumstances, those injured may wish to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Slip and fall lawsuits can be tricky even in the most straightforward of cases. While property owners do owe visitors to their property a reasonable duty of care, defining what that duty covers may be complicated, as could seeking full compensation for injuries. For these reasons and more, speak to a Chicago slip and fall lawyer if you were involved in an accident and would like to know more about pursuing civil remedies for your injuries.
Visitors to private property in Chicago are divided into three different categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees are those who were invited onto the property either implicitly or explicitly. Customers in a retail store, for example, are implicitly invited onto the property because it is assumed that the store wants that customer’s business.
Licensees are those who were not invited onto the property but are legally allowed to be there, such as delivery people. The law in Chicago makes virtually no distinction between invitees and licensees, as property owners owe both classes of visitor a significant duty of care to ensure their physical safety.
The only people to whom property owners do not owe a high-level duty of care are trespassers. While Chicago property owners cannot willfully injure or hurt trespassers, they also do not need to meet the high standards of care that they would for invitees and licensees.
Simply getting hurt on someone’s property does not constitute valid grounds for a slip and fall lawsuit by itself. Instead, the plaintiff in such a suit must show that the property’s owner or day-to-day manager did not take reasonable care in maintaining their property.
In a general sense, “reasonable care” means that property owners must fix open and obvious dangers on their property that could cause injury to visitors. However, they must also search for and correct concealed dangers that may be exposed to those entering the property.
Defining what reasonable care is—or what it is not—can be difficult. A Chicago slip and fall attorney could help determine if a property owner took reasonable care in any individual slip and fall case.
Ice and Snow
Unlike other areas, in Chicago property owners are not considered to be responsible for removing natural accumulations of ice and snow from their property. This means that if someone slips and falls after a snowstorm because ice had accumulated, that incident is not necessarily valid grounds for a slip and fall case.
However, if snow and ice are moved by a business to an unsafe area, or if it covers up an unrelated hazard that the property owner should have addressed, anyone who suffers injury as a result may still have a case. A slip and fall lawyer in Chicago could affirm what the circumstances of an individual slip and fall case involving snow or ice could mean for their client’s civil case.
It is often crucial that those who are injured in slip and fall accidents speak to an attorney, as these cases are often less simple than they may appear. Injured individuals must prove that the property owner likely caused their slip and fall through their own negligence in order to receive compensation, and they may also need to refute counterclaims brought by the defendant.
If you fell on someone else’s property, there are many laws surrounding your right to compensation. A knowledgeable Chicago slip and fall lawyer could help you sort these regulations out and apply them to your case. Call today to see what a skilled local attorney may be able to do for you.