There is a common misconception amongst the public that if I fall on someone else’s property or store or hotel than I’m automatically entitled to a settlement because I would assume they have insurance. The assumption ignores the requirement that property owners have a responsibility to exercise reasonable care to ensure that the premises are reasonably safe. Only when they’ve breached this responsibility can they possibly be held liable for your injuries.
Very often we slip and fall at a hotel or store or within a building due to slippery conditions that we didn’t notice. Water or other liquids puddle on walking surfaces and we, for a variety of reasons, didn’t notice them and fall. Only after we have fallen do we notice the slippery conditions – our pants are wet and the floor in the area of our fall is saturated. In this moment after we have fallen we have to be immediate detectives because the circumstances involving our fall might never be present in this condition ever again and we will have a difficult time proving the property owner is responsible if we can’t describe the facts and circumstances of our fall accurately. The problem is that in the immediate aftermath of a fall we are shocked and in pain and disoriented and the last thing we usually are able to do is begin a mental checklist of fact gathering in anticipation of an injury claim for a slip and fall.
Spills get cleaned up quickly by store owners and the source of the slippery conditions (leaking ceiling, leaking freezer at the supermarket, broken drinking fountain) will get fixed or repaired which could prevent you from proving what the source of the slippery conditions were.
You see, the law in Illinois differentiates between water accumulations which are natural versus unnatural. Natural water accumulations are usually due to weather where people with wet shoes or boots from rain or snow are tracking water into the store and it puddles up and you fall on it. This is a natural accumulation of water. An “unnatural” accumulation might be the result of a flower display at the grocery story that’s leaking or a leak in the ceiling or the freezer in the refrigerated section of the supermarket is leaking. Water accumulations can also come from a leaking gutter or faulty roof that leaks water onto the common area of an apartment building or business complex. These too would be unnatural accumulations.
Where the slippery conditions at the grocery store or mall or apartment building were unnaturally caused and the property owner knew or should have known of the problem and failed to correct it than you may be entitled to a recovery. While your lawyer will surely investigate the circumstances of your fall, you can help yourself immensely by taking photographs with your phone and getting the contact information of witnesses and immediately reporting the accident to the property owner.
Lastly seek immediate medical attention for your injuries because the value of your personal injury claim will almost entirely be based upon the treatment you received and the opinions of your medical care providers. Given all these complexities, please call one of the experienced lawyers at our firm immediately and take advantage of a FREE consultation over the phone to understand your rights and get your injury claim off on the right foot. We can be reached at (312) 422-0500 and will answer all of your questions for no charge.