Liability for a slip and fall accident requires proof of negligence on the part of the property owner who is responsible for maintaining safe property conditions.
Who’s Liable for Slip and Fall Injuries?
Slip and fall accidents can occur suddenly without warning indoors and outdoors. While some falls result in minor injuries like cuts and bruises, others result in broken bones, disc injuries, and head trauma. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), slip and falls are a leading cause of injury and death. Each year, over 800,000 victims are hospitalized and treated and over 17,000 victims die from their injuries.
Liability for slip and fall accidents is usually governed by premises liability laws. Under the Illinois Premises Liability Act, property owners are required to provide a safe environment for all people on their property. This includes property owners of businesses as well as private residences. Property owners are responsible for the safety of visitors and invited guests. They are expected to perform regular property inspections and make necessary repairs to prevent injuries.
Premises liability cases are based on the negligent actions of property owners that cause harm to people on their property. Since slip and fall injury cases are tried in civil court, slip and fall lawyers must prove three important factors to win the case: 1) Negligence, 2) Liability, and 3) Plaintiff’s Contributory Fault.
Negligence is based on a person’s disregard for the safety of others. To prove a property owner was negligent, it means the property owner must have reasonably known and identified a hazardous situation such as cracked sidewalks, damaged floors, loose handrails, or poor lighting, and failed to repair those conditions.
Any person with legal responsibility for a property is liable for what happens there. Liability typically falls on the property owner, but liability may fall on builders and property managers or third parties like independent contractors working on the property. When filing a lawsuit, a slip and fall lawyer must properly identify who is liable for the property.
Plaintiff’s Contributory Fault
Illinois accidents are based on a Modified Comparative Fault system. This means that a person must be less than 51% at fault for an accident to recover any monetary damages. In slip and fall cases, the plaintiff (injury victim) must rely on proof by a slip and fall lawyer that he/she was less than 51% responsible for the accident.