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.