Did you know that slips and falls make up over 1 million of all emergency room visits every year? Interestingly, women are more likely than men to slip and fall. Many fractures are reported in slip and fall cases, with hip fractures being especially serious. Many older individuals who suffer hip fractures may never regain their independence. Other types of fractures and injuries may lead to chronic pain, requiring surgery or other medical interventions.
If you were injured because you slipped and fell in a shopping center, Illinois law provides that you may be entitled to compensation if the property owner was somehow negligent. To prevail in a slip and fall case, you must prove three things: that the property owner owed you a duty, that the duty was breached, and, due to that breach, you suffered damages.
The first element is fairly easy to prove. Shopping centers have a duty to keep premises safe and free from hazards for shoppers and visitors. This means performing scheduled maintenance; regularly monitoring floors, escalators, carpeting, and other places where slips and falls may occur; and cleaning up spills in a timely manner.
As for the breach, this occurs when a failure to keep the premises safe causes you harm. For example, if you tripped on a carpeted floor within the shopping center because the carpet was ripped, the shopping center may be liable if it failed to properly maintain the floor. If it allowed the ripped carpet to remain for several weeks, the shopping center may be liable for your injuries. If a shopping center cannot remove a hazard right away, it at least needs to provide some sort of warning to shoppers about it. For example, if a soda is spilled in the shopping center, a “Wet Floor” sign needs to be placed near the spill while employees retrieve a mop to clean it up.
Damages are often the most contested part of a slip and fall claim. Damages include all of the harm you are alleging the slip and fall caused. For example, if you fell and broke your ankle, you would likely claim your emergency room bill, physical therapy bills, orthopedist bills, and surgery bills if you had to have your ankle surgically repaired. You may have also missed some time from work, so you would claim the wages you lost. If the incident took a toll on your mental health, you may claim damages for the anxiety and depression you suffered. The purpose of damages is to make you “whole” again after an accident. In especially egregious cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the property owner.
Our slip and fall attorneys are experienced in numerous claims
At Stein & Shulman, our attorneys understand how to pursue slip and fall claims. We work closely with our clients through each phase of a case. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your options, call 312-422-0500 or visit steinshulman.com.