Slip and Falls, Trip and Falls, Fall Downs

Chicago Premises Liability Attorney

Every year thousands of people are injured, some seriously, because of the negligence of property owners. Premises liability law covers slip, trip, and falls due to dangerous conditions on public or private property, and holds the property owner (or owners) responsible for any resulting medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, etc.

The Chicago slip and fall lawyers of Benjamin & Shapiro, Ltd. have had success in many complex cases. Contact our attorneys and we can meet with you free of charge, discuss your situation, and tell you whether you have a case. If you do, we will work directly with you on all aspects of your case, charging no attorneys’ fees unless and until you recover the damages you deserve.

The Duty of Property Owners

Property owners owe different levels of responsibility to people using their land or establishment, depending on the legal category of the person in question. The law recognizes three main categories:

  • Invitees
  • Licensees
  • Trespassers

The laws are different for each of the above groups, and vary from state to state. With more than 40 years of experience, the Chicago slip and fall attorneys of Benjamin & Shapiro, Ltd. know how to navigate the different laws and get clients compensation for their injuries.

Dangerous Indoor Conditions
Our attorneys have handled many cases involving slip and fall accidents occurring indoors, and most have involved three areas:

Flooring problems often result in slips and falls, and include an owner’s failure to provide adequate signs for wet spots, failure to provide proper barriers to closed-off areas, using excessive or uneven floor waxing, and allowing torn, uneven, or bulging carpet areas to go unrepaired.

Stairs undergo normal wear and tear, and the property owner is responsible for maintaining their upkeep. Edges can become rounded, the stairs’ non-stick surface (which is required in most states) can wear out, and a handrail can be broken or missing — all are attributed to owner negligence and can result in injury.

Escalators and Elevators are held to high standards under the law because they are designed to carry passengers. Property owners must fulfill these high standards or risk a lawsuit when users slip, trip or fall.

Dangerous Outdoor Conditions
According to our attorneys, the most common outdoor conditions that lead to slips and falls are:

Ice or Snow Build-up: Granted, property owners are not required to remove snow and ice that accumulates as a result of normal winter weather. But this does not remove all responsibility. The law states that if the property owner/manager, or a condition of the property causes an unnatural accumulation of snow and/or ice, the owner can be held liable. An example of an unnatural accumulation might be a walkway that is perpetually shaded by surrounding building or trees, and thus is covered in a thin sheet of ice while all other walkways are ice-free. Another example might be snow that accumulates on the roof of a building and then drips down via a defective gutter and downspout and refreezes as ice. Either of these situations could be interpreted as owner negligence.

Inadequate Outdoor Lighting: Inadequate lighting can lead to pedestrian injuries in parking lots or on sidewalks. The property owner can be held liable if they knew or should have known about the dangerous situation and failed to remedy the problem in a reasonable amount of time.

Sidewalks: Most sidewalks are owned and maintained by the city or county. However, if a public sidewalk is used exclusively by the property owner’s clientele, the owner can be held liable for the sidewalk’s dangerous conditions.

Parking Lots: Parking lot owners are legally responsible for maintaining the safety of their lots. This includes any protrusion in the surface of the parking lot that contributes to an injury.

Store Owner Liability
Because the people in stores are there primarily for the benefit of the store owner (i.e. to purchase their goods or services), owners have a considerable responsibility to keep their premises safe. Store owners must inspect their property for potential dangers and then either fix the problem in a reasonable amount of time or adequately warn the public of the dangers. If they do not, they can be liable for any injuries that may result.