Proving Liability In Illinois Slip & Fall Accident Cases
When you enter a mall, grocery store, restaurant or other public entity, you are owed a legal duty of care in most cases. This means that the owner of that building has a legal duty to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of you and other individuals entering onto the premises. An owner of property may deviate from this standard of care when he or she fails to clean puddles and other slippery surfaces. When a person slips on this surface, he or she may have a negligence claim against the owner of the property. A fall on a slippery floor can be embarrassing, humiliating and ultimately result in injuries. It is important to take action fast after you have been injured by a fall on a slippery floor.
An entire body of Illinois' law has been developed around the “slip and fall” negligence case. Because of the numerous people who suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents, there is an incredible amount of case law discussing these accidents in Illinois. These cases often hinge on the interpretation of just one or two facts, such as an owner’s knowledge of dangerous conditions. If you plan on seeking legal help, is important to work with a lawyer who has experience in handling slip and fall cases under Illinois laws and can effectively represent you.
Our Illinois slip and fall accident lawyers welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your premises liability case. We value the time you spend in getting in touch with us. We understand that you likely have a busy schedule, and we are willing to meet with you for a free initial consultation at a time that works for you. Just be sure not to delay in getting in touch with our lawyers, because there is only a limited period of time in which you may file a slip and fall claim if you have a valid claim.
Legal Duty Owed to Invitees, Licensees and Trespassers
Slip and fall cases often hinge on the determination of whether a visitor falls under the legal definition of an invitee, licensee or trespasser. These are terms of art within the legal world, and they possess significant weight in determining the outcome of a case. Under common law, there was once a varying standard of care owed to each of these individuals. After the passage of the Premises Liability Act, these distinctions were abolished. Now, there is no difference in the standard of care owed to licensees and invitees in Illinois. There is still a difference in the standard of care owed to trespassers in Illinois.
Invitees include customers and their children, spectators, baby-sitters, job applicants, firemen, policemen and independent contractors. These individuals enter on property for the economic benefit of the owner. Licensees include social guests and those who enter on property for their own benefit and not the benefit of the owner. Trespassers are those who enter onto land, even mistakenly, without the express permission or invitation of the owner.
Most customers in grocery stores, restaurants, malls and other public places are considered invitees. A property owner owes these individuals duty of reasonable care protect invitees from an unreasonable risk of harm on the property. They also owe a duty to (1) inspect property and (2) make that property safe.
The Illinois’ Premises Liability Act
The Illinois’ Premises Liability Act further details the legal duty that an owner of property owes to licensees and invitees. An owner of property may be liable for slippery surfaces and other dangerous conditions on land if he or she:
- Knows or should know of the dangerous condition on the land
- Should realize the condition poses an unreasonable risk of harm to invitees
- Expects that an invitee will not discover the condition
- Fails to exercise reasonable care to protect invitees from the condition
This law essentially means that owners of property owe a duty of care to customers to clean up slippery surfaces. In places like grocery stores, an owner of property should realize that hundreds of customers walk down the aisles every day and that it is foreseeable for liquid to be spilled on the floors at some point. A customer could easily knock over a bottle of soda or other liquid onto the floor, and a grocery store owner has a legal duty to clean up that liquid.
Conditions Leading to Slippery Floors
If you have been injured in a slip and fall case, know that you are not alone. While corporations may attempt to intimidate you and have you complete an accident report, it is important to realize that Illinois slip and fall accident attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are on your side. Illinois slip and fall accident lawyers will take time to carefully assess the facts of your case to see whether you have a valid legal claim.