Slipping and falling on something like an icy, wet entryway might appear to be the simplest of personal injury cases from which to recover damages. Proving fault seems rather cut and dry, right? Wrong. Most often, slip and fall cases are anything but cut and dry. Plaintiffs must go beyond proving that prevailing conditions of the premises in question caused their injuries; they must prove that the property owner 1) caused the dangerous condition or, if not, 2) was aware of the dangerous condition or 3) should have been aware of the dangerous and took no reasonable steps to address or correct it.
Proving that someone knew of a dangerous can be difficult without an admission by the party or parties. Proving they should have known about specific conditions may also be equally difficult, because you typically must show that the danger was present for an unreasonable amount of time.
One must also consider the claimants own negligence or what is known as “Comparative Negligence.” Comparative negligence occurs when the plaintiff actually bears some of the responsibility for their own injuries.
If the defendant can prove that the plaintiff was in some way negligent or reckless in his or her own actions and that their negligence contributed to their injuries, Illinois law dictates that the plaintiff also bear some of the fault for their damages, thereby mitigating his or her damages.
Furthermore, in Illinois, if a judge or jury determines that the plaintiff is responsible for more than 50% of his or her injuries, under the rules of modified comparative negligence, the plaintiff is barred from any recovery.
For these reasons it is vitally important that claimants in slip and fall cases consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to help establish the facts in their case, document injuries and treatment and establish neglect on the part of the property owner.
The attorneys at Panio Law Offices have ample experience pursuing damages in slip and fall cases for our clients. We understand Illinois personal injury law and have a great deal of expertise establishing fault and winning the highest awards for which our clients are eligible.
If you have questions about a slip and fall or other personal injury case, please call (312) 313-0305. We can help.