When you visit a property, such as a commercial or a government building, you expect to be safe. However, property owners and occupiers may neglect to check, repair, or notify visitors about any hazards on their properties.
This negligence can cause serious slip-and-fall accidents, particularly for older people who have poor vision and balance, making them vulnerable to these accidents. Falls are the primary cause of injuries and deaths among older adults in Illinois.
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident because of dangerous conditions on a property, you might be entitled to a financial settlement. The personal injury lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you decide whether you should file a personal injury claim.
We can determine who you should hold liable for your injuries, calculate fair compensation, negotiate with the insurance company, and represent you at trial if needed.
Common Causes of Trips, Slips, and Falls
Unsafe conditions, like slippery sidewalks, uneven flooring, or poor lighting, can occur in commercial properties. Other places you might encounter these hazards include your workplace, an office building, a government property, or an apartment complex.
Liquid spilled on the floor presents a slipping hazard if it’s not cleaned up immediately. Spilled liquid can also cause damage to floors and carpets that may not be apparent at first glance.
Parking lots, sidewalks, and floors with large cracks, holes, or buckles present tripping hazards. Carpets and rugs that wrinkle or fold over on the edge also cause tripping accidents. Rugs on slick floors can risk slipping if the rug slides when someone steps on them.
Icy parking lots and sidewalks
Failing to de-ice parking lots and sidewalks constitutes negligence, as does having an outdoor walking surface that gets slippery when wet, like smooth concrete. This can lead to icy patches on sidewalks, making them difficult to see for pedestrians walking on them.
Obstructions, such as tools and broken floor tiles, can cause people to trip and fall over them. Cords and cables can become tripping hazards if improperly organized or left lying on the floor. Cluttered workspaces make it difficult to navigate through an area safely, which increases the likelihood of serious injuries occurring in a slip-and-fall accident.
Lack of warning signs
Failing to place warning signs near hazards like recently mopped floors or areas where the floor is on two different levels can cause you to slip or trip and fall.
Poor lighting doesn’t allow you to see slipping and tripping hazards and can contribute to accidents. Inadequate lighting in public areas such as retail stores, restaurants, and other businesses can cause someone to trip over poorly lit areas in an otherwise well-lit area.
A personal injury attorney from Nessler & Associates can examine the scene of your accident. They can interview bystanders who have witnessed the accident and review surveillance camera footage to understand the cause of the accident.
Common Slip-and-Fall Injuries
According to the CDC, one in five falls results in serious injuries that range from mild to severe. These include broken bones, soft tissue injuries, and brain injuries.
A broken arm occurs when one falls onto an outstretched hand or elbow. Fractures to arms and legs affect people’s ability to work and pay their bills. A fractured tailbone may affect your ability to sit well or walk properly.
Shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries
Slip-and-fall accidents can lead to sprained or dislocated wrists, elbows, and shoulders, and torn rotator cuffs. These injuries may require surgery, and recovery ranges from three weeks for a simple elbow dislocation to six months or more for severe rotator cuff injuries.
Knee and ankle injuries
Knees and ankles can suffer bruises, lacerations, sprains, dislocations, a torn meniscus, or torn ligaments. Sprains stretch or partially tear ligaments holding a joint together can have a long healing process. High ankle sprains can tear the connective tissue between your tibia and fibula that provide stability to your ankle.
Traumatic brain injury
When falling, a blow to the head can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). These injuries can cause internal bleeding and swelling if not treated right away by a medical professional.
TBIs can have mild and short-term effects or result in severe, permanent brain damage. Cognitive impairment, loss of inhibitions, and personality changes can make your quality of life suffer, such as the inability to return to work.
Spinal cord injury
A spinal cord injury can result from a vertebra getting fractured or a vertebra or disc slipping out of alignment in a fall. If the pressure on the spinal cord is swelling caused by inflammation, nerve function may return once the swelling resolves.
Injuries that result in the complete transection of the spinal cord result in permanent paralysis. Some injuries can cause a partial tear to the spinal cord or pressure from a bulging disc. Injuries can result in weakness, decreased sensation, and a partial loss of function.
The type of injuries you sustain can affect the financial compensation you are eligible to receive. The experienced attorneys at Nessler & Associates will hold the negligent property owner accountable and get you the maximum compensation you deserve. We can examine your medical records and medical bills to estimate the compensation you deserve after your accident.
Damages from Slip-and-Falls
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to a financial settlement. Compensatory damages include economic and non-monetary losses.
Economic damages include:
- Past, present, and future medical costs related to the injury
- Rehab therapies like physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Mobility assistive devices, including crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair
- Transportation to and from medical appointments
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses such as medications and modifications to your home
- Hiring in-home help
- Loss of future earning capacity
Non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life, a legal term that describes your inability to participate in your usual activities
- Decreased quality of life
If the property owner’s actions constitute gross negligence and show a disregard for the safety of others, you might seek punitive damages. Illinois caps punitive damages at three times the amount of compensatory damages.
Liability in Slip-and-Fall Accident Cases
Liability may rest with the property owner for slip-and-fall cases. However, it may be shared with other parties if their actions contributed to your accident.
Illinois’ premises liability law states that property owners have a duty to maintain safe conditions for all entrants who use the space as intended. This duty includes placing a warning sign for wet floors, fixing inadequate lighting, and repairing uneven floors or loose flooring.
Liability can occur to those completing work on another property. If a construction crew performed work that didn’t meet building code and their work led to your accident, they might be liable.
Your lawyer may also need to consider Illinois’ comparative fault law. Under Illinois law, if your actions contributed 50% or less, you could recover a percentage of the award equal to the percentage of liability carried by other people. For instance, if the jury awards you $100,000 and your actions contributed to 10% to the accident, you can receive $90,000.
The accident lawyers at Nessler & Associates can help you navigate liability laws and explain your legal options to file a personal injury claim. Working with an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer with our law firm ensures you can focus on healing while we fight for your right to a fair settlement.
Why You Should Contact an Attorney
Working with premises liability attorneys ensures the responsible party’s insurance company doesn’t take advantage of you. They can establish liability and link your injury to the accident, prevent you from accepting a lowball offer, and represent you if the case goes to trial.
Your lawyer can start an investigation by examining all evidence. This includes obtaining police reports and reviewing medical records from doctors. They may also study the history of the business or owner to determine if your accident was the first or if the owner knew of the danger.
If evidence shows that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property or premises, they could be found liable for your injuries.
Get a fair settlement
The property owner’s insurance company may offer a lowball settlement that may be less than you need for your medical expenses and financial losses. They may also argue that something other than the accident caused your injury to avoid paying you a fair settlement.
Your experienced attorney can estimate your compensation by reviewing all evidence, including medical records and prescription costs. They can also consider your pain and suffering from the accident as they determine the compensation.
Your lawyer may also refer to an economic expert to calculate non-monetary losses like pain and suffering or reduced quality of life. The lawyer can then negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf to agree to a reasonable settlement for you.
Represent you at trial
If the insurance company doesn’t offer a fair settlement, your lawyer will file a personal injury lawsuit and take your case to court. Your personal injury lawyer can work with you to start the legal process of filing the paperwork with the court and prepare you for the trial.
In court, your lawyer will represent you and advocate for your compensation, protecting your legal right to compensation. They can prove the property owner’s negligence caused the accident and resulted in your injuries. Your lawyer can also have a medical expert connect your injury to the slip-and-fall accident and its impact on your ability to work or function at home.
Reach out to a Slip-and-Fall Attorney
Let the experienced slip-and-fall attorneys at Nessler & Associates guide you through the legal process while you focus on healing. We can work on your claim to help you gain fair compensation for your injuries against the negligent parties.
Call us today at (800) 727-8010 to schedule your free consultation.