Illinois Plaintiff's Lawyer Personal Injury Blog- Legal News and Insights from Champaign Urbana Attorneys Koester & Bradley, LLP

Quick Tip of the Day: What to Do After a Slip and Fall Accident

8/25/2019

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Slip and Fall or Premises Liability cases may seem simple and less problematic than other personal injury cases, yet the damages of a fall can be severe and insurance companies are unlikely to settle in good faith.
--Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley LLP

Follow These Steps to Maximize Your Recovery for Slip and Fall Cases in Illinois

Slip and fall cases, otherwise known ad premises liability cases, are a  type of accident can happen to anyone and at the most unexpected times.  While it is possible for a severe fall to happen without the presence of negligence, in most situations, particularly with respect to commercial areas, such as stores and businesses, it is worth having the facts of the fall evaluated by a local premises liability attorney.  

Most businesses and homes are covered by sizable insurance policies.  The reasoning behind this is simple, homeowners and businesses do not want to be held personally liable for their own negligence.  For instance, if a leaking air conditioning condenser leaks water onto the floor of a business, or a home, and a business invitee, or home invitee falls on the water and breaks their hip, the insurance company, not the property owner, will likely pay for the injuries to the victim.  After all, insurance companies have plenty of funds, and policy owners should never feel bad about filing claims.  This process both protects the property owner, and allows the victim of premises liability negligence to recover.

Despite the fact that the process is simple, insurance companies are loathe to pay any sort of claims and will do everything in their power to make sure that victims of negligence go empty-handed.  This includes posting many so-called "news" stories about faked slip and fall accidents.  Even though hardly anybody fakes an injury for compensations,  Thus, after a slip and fall, or any sort of premises liability situation, it is important to take actions to maximize your recovery.

It is important to know what actions to take following the accident. The Central Illinois slip and fall lawyers at Koester & Bradley have found that certain elements can make a difference in these cases including the following:

  • Contact emergency personnel if necessary, but absolutely file an accident or incident report with the business or property owner in writing.  It is important to file a report of some kind, even if it is simply a narrative on a piece of paper.  Insurance companies and defendants cling to the lack of an incident or accident report as a way to deny liability.  
  • Record the names, numbers, and addresses of all witnesses.  This is vital because at some point, such as a trial or for a deposition, you or your lawyer will need to know what witnesses are involved.  Furthermore, trials can takes years to happen in some cases and witnesses can leave the area.
  • Obtain the insurance information for all parties.  This mans asking the business or home owner both if they are covered and by what company.  Most people do not have copies of their policy at the ready, so you or your lawyer will have to get this information from the insurance company directly.
  • Photograph the scene of the accident.  Smartphones are perfect for this purpose.  Then the photos are readily available to insurance companies, who have a right to ask, and your lawyers.
  • Hold onto all important information and documents.  This can be medical bills, medical records, accident reports, or even a journal or calendar that reveals the time and place of the slip and fall.
  • Speak with an experienced attorney before talking with an insurance company.  The insurance company will try to hold you to a story about what happened and will try to record your statement.  Refuse to talk to an insurance company without first speaking to a local premises liability lawyer.  

As always out personal injury team at Koester & Bradley is here to help you recovery for your slip and fall case, or just answer any of your questions along the way.

By: Tom Koester, Partner, Koester & Bradley, LLP

You Are Not Fine: Premises Liability in Illinois

10/08/2017

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Fight the Urge to just say, "I'm Fine," after a fall (unless you know it's true)


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Human beings. If nothing else we are creatures of habit, especially in the Midwest where it is not uncommon for someone to say "sorry" when somebody else gets in their way.  We don't want to be a burden, and we sure don't want to inconvenience folks.

During the winter months, even unusually warm ones, it is not uncommon to encounter slippery conditions. Outside there is no shortage of snow and ice throughout our long winter, and moisture is often brought inside due to melt from people's shoes, or already there due to spills and leaky pipes.
When we fall we tend to get up as quickly as possible and say "I'm fine" when someone shows concern. Most of the time we are fine and the fall is nothing more than a momentary embarrassment, but sometimes severe damage arises.

But what if you're not fine? 
What happens when you slip and fall, but you are not fine? What if you begin showing symptoms of a debilitating injury after your fall? What if you are unable to work?

That is why we have  premises liability laws in Illinois and around the nation. Property owners, including business owners and homeowners, are responsible for maintaining safe premises.

These laws and statutes are not always clear-cut, and often involve the interpretation of intersection state statutes, common law, and local ordinances and guidelines.  For instance, in Illinois, property owners are actually NOT liable for the  "natural accumulation" of ice and snow on or near their premises.  There are a number of pertinent exceptions to this rule, but an attorney is frequently necessary to navigate these complicated waters.

Additionally, inside a building, property owners must have had the knowledge of the slippery floor or other dangerous condition in order to be found liable.  Again, exceptions exist, and an experienced local lawyer well-versed in personal injury cases will be necessary to prevail again savvy and disingenuous insurance adjusters.

Translation: if property owners are aware of something, it is their responsibility to take care of it quickly or at least notify people about the danger. This could mean mopping up a spill and placing a "wet floor" sign in the area, it could mean fixing a wobbly stair rail, or taking measures to avoid ice build-up on the sidewalk in front of the store.  Proving the knowledge is a difficult part of the equation.

The law allows for premises liability suits because innocent people should not be left to bear the burden of another's negligence, but the insurance industry and internal company policies often make handling these cases without an attorney frustrating, if not impossible. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident,  contact us for a free case evaluation. No hard sell, just hard facts from an experienced attorney.

Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Personal Injury Blog by Koester & Bradley, LLP 

Legal News and safety tips with Illinois Impact from the Accident and Personal Injury Firm Koester & Bradley, LLP

Authors

Ryan R Bradley is a personal injury and litigation lawyer based in Champaign County Illinois focused on representing injured clients and businesses navigate the maze of litigation to financial recovery.  


Tom Koester is a personal injury attorney based in Champaign County in Central Illinois focused on representing the injured and victims of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injuries.