Slips and falls can result in serious and devastating injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 percent of falls lead to a significant injury like a broken bone or traumatic brain injury. This amounts to more than 800,000 hospitalized patients every year. For adults over 65, falls can be deadly or lead to a dramatic loss in quality of life. More than 2.8 million older people are treated for falls in the emergency room every year and 300,000 are hospitalized due to broken hips. Many of those falls experienced by people on a daily basis occur on private property, bringing to question who is responsible for the fall.
Liability can be a complex issue. If you slip and fall on private property, contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900 to learn about potential recovery through insurance or directly from the property owner.
Whether or not an individual can recover for injuries suffered from a fall on private property depends on whether the property owner owed a duty of care to that person and why the person fell. The existence of a duty depends on premise liability within Illinois. Illinois statute 740 ILCS 130/1, the Premises Liability Act, states owners of property owe to invitees and licensees a duty of reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts performed on or excluded from them.
Under the Illinois Premises Liability Act, an invitee or licensee is someone who is legally on private property – someone who is not a trespasser. An individual hurt during a slip and fall might be a guest in someone’s home or a client at a business. In either case, the premise owners owe a duty of reasonable care.
Under a duty of reasonable care, a landowner must keep the premises in reasonably safe condition or provide some warning of any dangerous condition that is not readily apparent. This includes making a reasonable effort to find issues within the premises that need to be fixed. However, this standard does not mean an owner has to fix every potential hazard and keep the premises in perfect condition. There can be hidden dangers that are warned of or apparent dangers that can be easily avoided.
Guests on the owner’s property are expected to notice obvious hazards and act reasonably in keeping away from them. For example, if a homeowner was aware that the staircase to the second floor had broken boards, which could cause a guest to trip or fall, and then said nothing while allowing guests to walk up the stairs, this could be seen as a breach of duty, better known as negligence. However, if the homeowner verbally warned guests or blocked the stairs, this would be reasonable. Additionally, if the broken boards on the stairs were clearly visible, guests would be expected to avoid such a hazard.
When individuals fall on private property, it is important they contact a Chicago slip and fall attorney immediately. Their right to recover depends on numerous questions that an experienced lawyer can investigate and answer. It also depends on their taking action quickly as there is a time limit on filing an insurance claim or a personal injury suit.
If you were a guest or customer on private property and believe your injuries are due to the owner not keeping the premises safe, you should seek to recover by filing a claim with the homeowner’s or business’ liability insurance. A lawyer can assist you in filing a third-party claim with an insurer. If an insurance settlement is not possible or seems unlikely, an attorney can help you file suit against the private property owners.
Contact Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. today at (312) 236-2900 to find out how we can help in a slip and fall case.