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What Is ‘Notice’ in a Slip and Fall Case?

You prove notice in a slip and fall case by applying a test of reasonableness related to the particular facts and circumstances of the underlying incident.

In certain situations, you still will be able to sue property owners even if they did not have notice of the unsafe condition which led to the accident.

How Can I Sue a Property Owner for an Illinois Slip and Fall Case?

Regardless of where you slipped and fell, if you decide to sue the property owner, your cause of action will most likely be for negligence. It won't be any different if you fall on a residential property or commercial property.

Negligence actions state that the wrongdoer failed to act reasonably in the situation. Plaintiffs must prove how the defendant breached a duty and how that breach caused his or her damages.

Can I Still Sue Property Owners

What Do Illinois Slip and Fall Cases Come Down To?

The crux of Illinois slip and fall cases will come down to duty because it will change depending upon the plaintiff and the setting. It will depend upon the plaintiff because owners owe different people different duties.

They generally owe very little to trespassers but a lot more-including reasonable care- to invitees and licensees. In fact, Illinois law doesn't recognize the difference between invitees and licensees.

It will also depend upon the setting because commercial and residential property owners have different expectations for their premises and that contours their duties to the people that enter them.

This is how you will sue property owners for Illinois slip and fall cases but now we will turn to how a lack of notice might influence that case.

Invitees, licensees and trespassers: what is the difference

What Is the Difference Between Invitees, Licensees, And Trespassers?

Historically, private property owners owed people entering their premises different rights depending upon their status.

Here is a breakdown of those statuses:

  • INVITEES: Invitees are either explicitly or implicitly asked by the private property owner to enter the land. Thus, they are owed all due and ordinary care for the circumstances. This class of persons may include friends and even contract workers.
  • LICENSEES: Licensees are people who are allowed to remain on the property either explicitly or implicitly. Many times, guests or companies are considered licensees on private property but so are any of those parties that could reasonably be within this class in the future.. Private property owners owe licensees the duty to protect them from wanton injuries.
  • TRESPASSERS: Trespassers enter private property for their reasons and without any sort of permission. Still, they are owed a duty by the property owner. Specifically, owners must avoid specifically attempting to harm trespassers. Furthermore, once the presence of trespassers has been identified or could reasonably be anticipated owners must use ordinary care to avoid harming them.

These definitions have normally defined how private property owners must treat all the various kinds of people that enter their land.

What Is Illinois Law Regarding Invitees, Trespassers, and Licensees?

Illinois law has not changed the traditional meaning of and duty owed to trespassers. Private property owners have the duty to avoid inflicting wanton injury on them.

However, Illinois has abolished the distinction between invitee and licensee as 740 ILCS 130-2 sets forth:

"The distinction under the common law between invitees and licensees as to the duty owed by an owner or occupier of any premises to such entrants is abolished…The duty owed to such entrants is that of reasonable care under the circumstances regarding the state of the premises or acts done or omitted on them."

As you can see, Illinois property owners must exercise reasonable care towards invitees and licensees.

Therefore, you still may be able to sue the property owner even if they didn't have notice of the unsafe condition, and you are an invitee or licensee, if the owner was not using reasonable care toward you.

Reasonable care typically compels owners to correct open and obvious dangers as well as discover and fix concealed dangers that invitees or licensees might be exposed to. Reasonable care is to be judged using all of the facts and circumstances.

What Is Actual Notice in a Slip and Fall Accident Case?

Actual notice with slip and fall accidents means that the property owner knew of the dangerous condition or dangerous conditions or was told about it. This is pretty straightforward and objective for the injured party to prove in a premises liability case.

For instance, if someone you knew told the responsible party that a dangerous condition existed and then the accident occurs, you could use this actual notice in your slip and fall claim.

Actual notice in slip and fall accidents

Alternatively, if the defendant knew the dangerous condition existed because their employee told them and then slip and fall accidents happened, the injured person may use this actual notice under the law.

Finally, you can prove actual notice if the responsible party was there as the dangerous condition manifested itself. Of course, the dangerous condition must be related to the slip and fall accident and subsequent fall injury.

We can help the injured party prove actual or constructive notice if they suffered serious injuries from a slip and fall accident due to a dangerous condition. Contact our law firm to set up an attorney client relationship and get a free consultation with a slip and fall accident attorney.

How Do You Show Constructive Notice After Fall Accidents?

To prove constructive notice in a slip and fall accident case, the injured person must show that the owner knew about the dangerous condition due to circumstantial evidence.

For example, a premises owner should warn customers about injuries if an area gets routinely wet and a dangerous condition arises. This understanding could trigger constructive notice in a slip and fall event.

Another example of when you could prove constructive notice is when stairs regularly break or handrails disable. The owner should have constructive notice of this and inform consumers.

A final example of when you might show constructive notice of a dangerous condition is when doors get stuck. An owner should alert this to passers by so they don't get stuck or trip and fall.

Constructive notice after fall accidents

Contact our law offices for a free consultation on actual or constructive notice after an accident from an attorney today. We can help you prove constructive notice.

If you suffered injuries from a dangerous condition, we can protect your legal rights in court by offering your medical bills, injuries, and other evidence. Give us a call after a slip and fall incident to learn more about actual or constructive notice including circumstantial evidence.

Slip and Fall Cases involving Actual or Constructive Notice

To help you understand how a dangerous condition can lead to an accident, and then how to use evidence of actual notice as well as constructive notice, we have organized the following summaries.

Contact an attorney from our offices to help us understand your example and injury in more detail.

Slip and fall settlement examples

$110k Slip and Fall Settlement:

This personal injury claim was brought against a condo association by a condo owner. She was just forty-six at the time of the accident. The woman slipped on some ice in the parking lot and aggravated a prior lower back injury at the L5-S1 spot on her spine.

She needed surgery and other medical treatment totaling nearly $50,000. The woman also racked up thousands of dollars of losses because she had to miss work to recover.

While leaving snow unattended might not ordinarily incur liability in Illinois for slip and fall accidents, the association was supposed to clear per its bylaws. The two sides settled the dispute for $110,000.

$400k Slip and Fall Settlement:

A construction worker was working at a Jewel grocery location when he slipped on ice and fell to the ground. He was fifty-give. The man suffered spinal damage at L4 and L5 due to the dangerous condition.

Though they did not require surgery, he still incurred medical expenses close to $100,000 for other medical treatment and lost over $100,000 from missed work. To recoup for that as well as the other economic and non-economic damages, he sued the grocer as well as the general contractor.

He claimed they knew of this dangerous condition but failed to tell him about it or rectify the situation. The parties settled the matter for $400,000.

$1.2 Million Illinois Slip and Fall Settlement:

A pastor in his late sixties was out walking his dog at night when he slipped on some ice on a neighbor’s driveway and seriously injured his head. He sustained a traumatic brain injury as well as a subdural hematoma that required cranioplasties and craniectomies.

The pastor sued the neighbor. He alleged the water was an unnatural accumulation from a downspout that turned into black ice. The defendant shot back that the pastor was drunk or, in the alternative, that the ice was a natural accumulation and open and obvious.

Their differences did not prevent them from settling the matter to end the litigation. The pastor received $1,225,000 in financial compensation for his economic damages (medical expenses) and non-economic damages (pain and suffering).

Need help proving negligence in your claim? Then contact our offices to obtain a free consultation from a qualified lawyer.

How Does a Lack of Notice Impact My Illinois Slip and Fall Case?

As we discussed above, no matter how or where you slipped and fell, your lawsuit will likely be for negligence. How does a lack of notice impact that case?

Well, it will shape how reasonable the defendant acted in the situation. For instance, if the defendant breached a Chicago Building Code violation and that affected your injury, then it doesn't matter that the owner didn't have notice because it will still be deemed negligent.

On the other hand, if the defendant was a residential homeowner, and the source of the slip was recently fallen snow, then that might mean that the defendant acted reasonably because owners don't have a duty to remove snow or ice.

Finally, if the owner was a store or business, and one of its employees had notice of the unsafe condition, then it wouldn't matter that the company itself lacked knowledge because the employee's knowledge would be imputed to the employer.

Therefore, the effect of a lack of notice depends on the circumstances of the slip and fall accident as well as the nature of the duty owed by the defendant.

Contact Us Today and See If You Have an Illinois Slip and Fall Case!

As you can see, Illinois slip and fall cases present thorny issues. They play objective factors off subjective factors. To say the least, they require skilled legal representation.

This is especially the case when the culprit is a company of at least modest size. Most businesses will argue that they had no reason to protect against the condition which caused your injury.

This is exactly when you need a lawyer to stand up and reject these contentions. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has a history of representing plaintiffs in premises liability lawsuits.

We know the standard lines that property owners give injured invitees and we can help you rebuff them. Also, we offer free consultations to all of our clients to initiate the process of obtaining relief. To begin your road to recovery, just give us a call at (888) 424-5757 or use our website contact form to reach us.

More Resources and Further Reading

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