Do I have a good trip and fall case?
This is the question that injury victims often ask me after they were hurt as a result of a trip and fall.
Generally slip and fall cases are very difficult cases to win because of comparative negligence and other affirmative defenses such as open and obvious hazard and no prior notice.
In addition the property owner, defendants may be hard to identify because there is a question of ownership of the building and/or control of the premises where an injured victim fell.
For trip and fall cases involving a substance in a business, the injured victim must establish that the property owner had prior notice of the spill or substance on the floor.
Actual notice of the substance or liquid on the floor may not be required if you can prove that the business owner had constructive notice of the liquid or foreign substance on the floor.
Usually constructive notice is proven by the passage of time or the failure of the property owner to reasonable inspect the area where the injured victim fell putting them on construction notice that they knew or should have known about the foreign substance or the liquid on the floor.
Trip and fall cases involving snow or ice are equally difficult because the injured victim must prove that the snow or ice in which they slipped and fell was an unnatural accumulation of ice. One example of an unnatural accumulation of snow or ice is where a gutter drains right onto a walkway to business and the water freezes causing an ice patch on the sidewalk or walkway.
Generally there is no liability against the landlord or business owner if they just decide not to shovel the walkway or fail to put down any salt. Usually there is no liability for the ruts caused by cars driving over snow in the parking lot.
This does not mean that all trip and fall cases are losers. There are very good trip and fall cases.
No two trip and fall cases are the same. Since memories fade over time and witnesses move away and crucial video evidence may be lost or removed, it is important to contact an experienced personal injury attorney right of way to find out if you have a good slip and fall case. You may have a good slip and fall case, but if you wait too long and evidence turns up missing or memories fade, you may not be able to prove your case and recover any money for your injuries.
If you are hurt in a slip and fall incident, please contact my office at 847-854-7700 to schedule an appointment to review the facts of your case.
Franks and Rechenberg, P.C.
1301 Pyott Road, Suite 200
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156