Can I Sue If I Get Hurt in a Fall at Someone's House?
Yes, you could sue an Illinois property owner if they acted negligently or intentionally tried to harm you and you suffered injury and damages as a result.
What Duty Do Property Owners Owe Those on Their Property?
Many people that get hurt in slip and fall accidents in Illinois wonder if they can seek recovery if they were guests at a friend's or acquaintance's home when it happened. The simple answer is yes.
Even though the occasion may have been friendly and the situation may have been congenial, that doesn't mean you sacrifice your rights. The key to focus on is how it happened.
All hosts across Illinois owe invitees reasonable care. See Bremer v. Leisure Acres-Phase II Housing Corp., 363 Ill.App.3d 581 (2006); see also 745 ILCS 75/1 & 745 ILCS 75/2.
This duty might require them to warn guests of certain dangers and even act to remediate unsafe conditions. If they don't do this, and you are injured in a slip and fall accident, then you can sue them.
What Doesn't a Property Owner Have to Do for Their Guests?
Now, you understand that guests have the obligation in Illinois to afford their guests with reasonable care. This places affirmative duties but it does not require them to protect you against every danger lurking on the premises.
Here are some things that hosts are excepted from doing as set forth in 740 ILCS 130-2:
- Warn guests or take steps to protect such guests from conditions on the premises that are known to the guests, are open and obvious, or can reasonably be discovered by the guests;
- Warn guests about latent defects or dangers unknown to the host or occupier of the property;
- Warn guests about dangers resulting from misuse by the guests of the property or anything attached to or located on the property; or
- Protect guests from their own misuse of the property or anything attached to or located on the property.
As you can see now, while hosts must do a number of things for their guests, they also don't have to do many others for them.
Knowing the difference between the two can help you better understand your rights to recovery in Illinois slip and fall cases.
What If I'm Shopping at a Store and Slip and Fall?
You might also be invited into a business or store. Here too you are owed a standard of care that is reasonable and adequate for the circumstances. Again, you don't forfeit your protections by accepting the invitation.
Additionally, in commercial settings, your ability to sue might even be greater than in residential settings because businesses are responsible for all of their employees and the entirety of their sprawling premises.
This can open them up to even more liability. However, no matter where you were invited to, focus on how you slipped and fell and if the host's care for you was reasonable. This will answer whether or not you can sue the person or entity that invited you.
What If I Was Trespassing When I Slipped and Fell?
The law does not look kindly on trespassers. A property owner-business owner or private landowner- does not owe them the same standard of care as someone with a license or invitation.
However, this does not mean that property owners have unlimited rights when it comes to trespassers and a dangerous condition and fall accidents.
They must not willfully wantonly act in regards to the people trespassing. Illinois law sets forth this rule in 740 ILCS 130/3:
“An owner or occupier of land owes no duty of care to an adult trespasser other than to refrain from willful and wanton conduct that would endanger the safety of a known trespasser on the property from a condition of the property or an activity conducted by the owner or occupier on the property.”
Thus, a property owner cannot intentionally try and harm trespassers like by setting traps. They also cannot lie or otherwise deceive the person trespassing. This may even require them to announce traps or a dangerous condition that is hidden.
Finally, if the person trespassing is a child, then they may even have more rights that the property owner must respect. Consult an experienced personal injury attorney from our law firm about fall accidents, premises liability law, a personal injury lawsuit including wrongful death, and much more.
An experienced attorney may be able to help if you suffered a fall injury or some other serious injury on someone else's property, including private property.
What Do I Need to Do to Sue Someone for a Slip and Fall Accident in Illinois?
Moving beyond whether or not you can sue a host for slip and fall incidents in Illinois, it is worth mentioning the process you will engage in if you do so.
First, you need to conduct an extensive factual investigation and legal analysis of your case.
Second, you need to compile this information into a complaint listing your injuries, the offensive conduct, and your right to recovery.
Third, you need to combat the defendant's arguments and convince the jury that you are still entitled to compensation.
Illinois slip and fall cases are just one kind of premises liability litigation and you can learn a lot about the former by studying the latter. This is no easy task but it is easier with experienced counsel at your side.
What Are the Elements of an Illinois Slip and Fall Case?
The dynamics of any case will turn on the specific elements of the cause of action, especially fact-intensive suits like slip and fall incidents.
Therefore, having a handle on the elements of your Illinois slip and fall lawsuit will allow you to predict success and track progress. Here are the points you must make:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care as you were a licensee or invitee;
- The property owner breached that duty;
- You slipped and fell and suffered injuries; and
- The defendant's breach caused your descent and harms,
This is cut and dry. Out of all of the thorny factual and legal questions, you must find answers to these particular elements.
What Is the Value of Slip and Fall Case?
Generally speaking, a plaintiff is allowed to recover all of the damages that ensue from an accident if a landowner fails to act reasonably. This can include economic damages, non-economic damages, wrongful death damages, and even punitive damages.
The value of your slip and fall incident cause of action will be how you suffered specifically and individually. You cannot borrow the awards or settlements of similarly situated plaintiffs as justification for your own financial compensation requests.
Normally, we instruct clients to look at the following items when estimating the value of their case or claim in Illinois court:
- Lost income
- Medical bills (Especially if for a serious injury like traumatic brain injury)
- Damaged property
- Disfigurement or disability
- Pain and suffering
- Changed life circumstances or relationships
Of course, this list isn't exhaustive. It should give you a good starting point though when you sit down with your personal injury lawyer to discuss the merits and value of a potential action.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Slip and Fall Accident Lawsuit?
Typically, plaintiffs need to bring these cases within two years of when the events transpired, as 735 ILCS 5/13-202 lays out clearly:
"Actions for damages for an injury to the person, or for false imprisonment, or malicious prosecution, or for a statutory penalty, or for abduction, or for seduction, or for criminal conversation...shall be commenced within 2 years next after the cause of action accrued..."
Naturally, there are exceptions to this broad rule. The main exception to consider here is if the harmed person was a minor. In that case, the child can have additional time to file the cause of action once they reach adulthood.
There may be more time added to this window as well if the victim did not learn of their harms for a reasonable period.
However, we strongly urge adults to file before two years have passed since the slip and fall incident because this will ensure that their case is not dismissed on statute of limitations grounds.
How Can a Lawyer Help After I Slipped and Fell on Someone Else's Property?
A person injured on someone's property owner may have the right to recover compensation for their injuries and expenses because of the property owner's or other person's negligence. As noted above, this can only happen if the accident happened in a certain way.
The property owner owes you certain duties, to exercise reasonable care and avoid dangerous conditions, both on private property and public lands. Yet, their obligation to keep the property safe of hidden dangers and other things is unlimited even to social guests.
Therefore, a reasonable person needs to be careful when on another's property for their own purposes or business purposes.
If slip and fall accidents do happen, a lawyer from an experienced law firm can help the victim build a premises liability case in the following ways:
- See if property owner created conditions that led to the fall injury
- Investigate the factual circumstances leading up to the accident on the property
- Review other cases involving dangerous conditions and slip and fall accidents, when victim were there for private or business purposes
- Help you seek medical attention and get better
- Review your medical records and medical expenses to catalog the fall injuries sustained because of someone else's negligence
- File a case for the injured party to seek compensation and make sure the responsible party is held liable as Illinois law requires
Talk to a personal injury attorney from our law firm in a free consultation about premises liability and a personal injury lawsuit today.
You can review your fall injury with an injury lawyer and see what accident liability may arise from the owner of the public or private property. You may also discuss a claim with their insurance company.
Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer From our Law Firm If You Have Additional Questions About an Illinois Slip and Fall Case?
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC is committed to securing the most favorable recovery for people injured in Illinois slip and fall cases.
As with all of our personal injury cases, we work on a contingency fee basis where there is only a legal fee charged when there is a recovery for you.
Contact Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC today and begin the process of getting the compensation that you deserve.