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How Difficult Is Proving Liability for Your Slip-and-Fall?

 Posted on July 05, 2024 in Slip and Fall

IL injury lawyerWhen a Chicago condominium association was held liable in a slip and fall case that left a woman with significant injuries, the association's board appealed the nearly $75,000 damage award. The plaintiff in the case was visiting her sister, who lived in the condos. When the woman left, she went down the back stairs, which were poorly lit and had ice on them.

After her fall, several condo residents—some of whom also happened to be condo board members—commented that the lights should have been on. The condominium association claimed those statements were hearsay, but the Appellate Court held that the Circuit Judge properly admitted the statements into evidence.  

This case was uncommon in that it involved the association, the plaintiff, residents who were also on the board, and the plaintiff’s relatives, many of whom made statements at the time of the accident. Even in simpler cases, it is not uncommon for a property owner to dispute the cause of a slip-and-fall accident.

After being involved in a slip-and-fall resulting from property owner negligence, the first step should always be to obtain medical attention. Contacting an experienced Arlington Heights premises liability attorney should be the next step and one that can be crucial to the outcome. Once you have a skilled attorney advocating on your behalf, you can take the time you need to heal from your injuries while your attorney builds a strong case on your behalf.

What is the Difference Between an Invitee and a Licensee?

The Illinois Premises Liability Act sets forth who is covered in the event of a slip-and-fall accident (or any other type of accident) on another’s property. Both "invitees" and "licensees" are considered welcome guests.  While they share similarities that separate them from trespassers, there are differences that could be important when an accident occurs.

An invitee has been invited for a business purpose and might include a shopper at a grocery store, a contractor working at a client’s home, or a delivery person. Those who enter a store, restaurant, bar, theater, or virtually any business are considered invitees.

Licensees, on the other hand, are on the property for a reason unrelated to business or for a social purpose.  A person visiting a friend at that friend’s home, an individual who goes into the grocery store only to use the restroom, or an invited guest at a party are all considered licensees.

While owners generally have a duty of care to keep their property safe and free from hazards, this duty does not necessarily extend to trespassers, but it extends to invitees. This duty also extends to licensees, but property owners are generally only liable when they willfully or wantonly injure a licensee.   

How is Liability Proven in a Slip-and-Fall Case?

Slip-and-fall cases require four elements to prove negligence, including:

  • A duty of care was owed to the plaintiff
  • The duty of care was breached
  • The breach of duty caused an accident and injuries
  • Those injuries resulted in damages to the plaintiff

For invitees—and, in some cases, licensees—a duty of care is clearly owed by the property owner. It must be shown that the property owner breached this duty of care, perhaps by failing to perform regular maintenance on the property or ignoring safety hazards. Proving liability can be easier when you:  

  • Take photos of the hazard that caused the accident  
  • File an accident report
  • Obtain immediate medical attention
  • Secure contact information from witnesses
  • Look for cameras in the area that may have captured the accident on video.

The sooner an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer is contacted, the sooner they can begin gathering evidence and launching a comprehensive investigation into the incident.  

Contact a Rolling Meadows, IL Slip-and Fall-Attorney

Following a slip-and-fall accident, you may be seriously injured and unsure of what to do to protect your rights. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we are local attorneys who value communities and clients. With decades of experience between our attorneys and millions of dollars in successful verdicts, our Palatine, IL slip-and-fall attorneys are ready to help you through this difficult time. We offer a free consultation where you can tell your story and have your questions answered. Call Newland & Newland, LLP at 847-797-8000 today.

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