Can I File a Claim for My Slip and Fall?
A slip and fall is a type of personal injury claim that usually occurs because a property owner or manager was negligent in maintaining the property. A slip and fall could be the result of a spilled liquid on a grocery store floor, or perhaps a crack in a walkway to the store. When someone visits another individual’s property and suffers severe injuries in a slip and fall, the property owner could be held responsible for a slip and fall claim. To win a slip and fall claim, you must prove that the manager or property owner’s negligence led to your injury.
What Do I Have to Prove in a Slip and Fall Case?
In slip and fall accident cases, you must prove that either:
- The owners failed to maintain their property
- The property owners created unsafe conditions which resulted in your injury
- The owners were aware of the hazards on the property but did not alert you to this fact
It is essential to prove whether the dangerous condition was temporary or permanent. In cases where the hazard was temporary, the duration in which it was there might make it harder to prove your case. If you can’t determine what caused you to fall, it will be difficult to prove liability. An experienced premises liability lawyer working on your behalf can help you prove that the property owner should have known the hazardous condition existed for more than a reasonable length of time but did nothing about the danger.
Natural and Unnatural Accumulation
Illinois courts use the “natural accumulation rule.” This states that an owner has no duty to remove natural accumulations of snow, ice, or water on their property. This is true regardless of how long the natural accumulation has existed on the property, or how long the inclement weather has lasted.
Examples of natural accumulation include:
- Untouched snow that has fallen
- Drifting of snow caused by melting or wind
- Ice resulting from snow melting then freezing again
- Snow that falls off of vehicles
- Tracks in the snow caused by traffic
If there is an unnatural accumulation of snow, such as a large mound of shoveled snow, that causes your slip and fall, the property owner or manager may be held legally liable. How a property owner removes snow and ice can create premises liability. Commercial property owners, who are often the most vulnerable to slip and fall claims, will usually attempt to clear walkways for customers but can be liable for injuries in the case of unnatural accumulation, such as:
- They are negligent in removing snow and ice from areas they are trying to clear
- They create unnatural piles of snow in areas where they ought to know runoff could cause ice accumulation
- They have a snow removal contract in place that creates a duty to remove snow
- The property has a design flaw that causes unnatural accumulations of snow and ice
A property owner may not be liable for your injury, even if you believe they could have done more to remove snow and ice from the walkway. Your injury claim depends upon the owner creating the conditions that caused your slip and fall. An attorney can help you determine liability and whether natural or unnatural accumulation was involved in your slip and fall.
Contact an Illinois Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Champaign premises liability attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. today at (217) 328-2828 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.