Articles Posted in Slip and Fall

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Chicago residents know that our city often has very intense weather, which can even switch between extremes in one season. Our winters are cold and snowy, and our summers can really heat up. At some times, we can even see both of these weather patterns in the same month. If you are the owner or operator of a restaurant, shop or other public space in Chicago, you should know to expect the unexpected with weather and to be prepared. This can mean having salt and shovels on hand for snowy days or mats available during a hard rain to provide a surface with traction. While the temperatures may be sunny and pleasant one day this can always change the next. What does not change though, is the duty that owners owe to visitors and customers to provide safe premises where they will not be exposed to dangers that may cause them injury.

A recent report by the Cook County Record reports that a patron filed suit against a Chicago restaurant for a 2013 slip and fall accident. The patron is alleging premises liability in her suit, which she filed last month in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges the defendant sprayed water on the pavement, which created an unsafe condition and/or unnatural accumulation of snow and ice that caused her to fall and sustain injuries. In her complaint, she argues that this condition was unapparent to her and that the defendants were aware of the hazard, failed to remedy it, and increased the probability that pedestrians and patrons would fall and suffer injury. The plaintiff is alleging personal pecuniary and permanent damage, and seeks compensation in excess of $50,000.
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Most of our readers are aware that Chicago has had a lot of snow this winter in a short period of time. With so much snowfall at once, our neighborhoods have a high accumulation of snow sitting on the ground surrounding our homes, businesses, and sidewalks. As the snow melts, sitting water can accumulate or even refreeze into ice. This can occur whether from weathering increase in temperature or when accumulated snow and water is brought inside stores from consumers.

Business owners have a legal duty to keep their patrons safe from hazards and dangers under premises liability law. As consumers who enter stores with the intention to potentially do business with a store, they have the ability to benefit the store through their purchases. This is why under tort law, customers are referred to as invitees and are afforded the highest protection on commercial premises. Landowners of these premises owe invitees a duty of care to inspect premises for dangers, warn of these dangers, and remedy these dangers as quickly as possible. Where an invitee suffers injury from a hazard on a business owner’s property, the injured person can hold the business and owner liable in a personal injury lawsuit.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a customer has filed suit against a Cook County Walmart for a slip and fall accident suffered last January. The plaintiff claims that Walmart failed to maintain the store premises, which caused her to slip and fall over a weather mat. The victim filed suit a few weeks ago in Cook County Circuit Court against the Walmart at 167th Street in Country Club Hills. The plaintiff slipped and fell on wet weather mats, causing her injury. She argues that Walmart and its employees failed to maintain the premises by not ensuring the mats were in a reasonably safe condition and failed to warn her about the dangerous condition. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.
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Our Chicago attorneys make it our priority to stay on top of important issues regarding the law and safety of our community and to educate the public on legal issues relevant to them in their daily lives. Recently, Fox News reached out to us to tackle questions related to snow and ice removal related to potential premises liability litigation.

Snowy and bitter cold winters come as no surprise to Chicagoans. Our city is notorious for its harsh winters and large accumulation of snow. With so much snow, residents have a duty to shovel their driveways and sidewalks to keep the snow cleared. What many residents may not consider though, are the legal considerations regarding snow removal and shoveling.

In the report featuring attorney Marvet Sweis from our office, MyFoxChicago discussed how residents risk getting a fine or getting sued for failing to remove snow and ice from their premises in a timely manner. Many people think not shoveling their sidewalks will save them from liability if someone slips and falls in front of their home. However, Ms. Sweis relayed that isn’t the case due in part to Illinois law. She explained how the law protects residents when they shovel their driveway and sidewalk because the law recognizes that people want to be able to get in and out of their own property. Instead, homeowners can be sued only where negligent.
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One of the things Chicagoans joke about most is the two seasons in the city: winter and construction. Aside from our cold and brutal winters, it seems that the streets and sidewalks are always under repairs of some sorts. However, when people look at this joke more deeply, they realize that there is a safety and legal issue present. If sidewalks and streets are not in good condition, they can pose a hazard to the safety of pedestrians in the city.

One recent case exemplifies just that. According to the Cook County Record, a pedestrian has brought suit against the City of Chicago over a fall she suffered when walking in an intersection in the Near North Side neighborhood. According to the pedestrian’s complaint, she was walking through the crosswalk at the intersection of North Wabash Avenue and Huron Street last spring when she tripped and fell on uneven ground. She argues that the city negligently failed to repair the uneven section of the crosswalk because it was cracked and broken. By allowing it to remain in a dangerous condition and by not warning the pedestrians of its existence, she asserts this caused her fall.
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Your local drugstore or pharmacy is more likely than not often busy. That is because these establishments are venues that provide vital needs of all sorts for the majority of people. Chances are that you have visited a drugstore establishment recently. Whether to have a prescription filled, purchase vitamins, or get a bottle of shampoo, drugstores fulfill needs by providing products and medicines that we all need at some point or another.

Because these stores are frequent stops for many people, they should be safe and free from dangers when we visit them. As you may know, the law of premises liability law tells us that when a store fails to keep its store safe for customers and an injury results, they can be held liable for personal injuries in a premises liability lawsuit. Landowners, especially commercial entities whose visitors make purchases on their property, are liable to their visitors and have a legal duty to keep them safe from harm. Under this duty, the owners and operators must consistently maintain the premises and routinely check for dangers, remedy all known dangers in a timely manner, and warn the customers of any known dangers. Where the business fails in any of these regards and a customer is injured, that business is responsible.
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While growing up, chances are that you saw a cartoon where a character was walking along and slipped on a banana peel. However you may have not realized that these cartoons were comically presenting a real issue of the law: premises liability. The banana peel that you saw your favorite character slip on was actually a hazard that a landowner should have known about, fixed, or warned visitors about. While these accidents appear funny in cartoon, unfortunately in real life slip and fall accidents can leave victims with serious personal injuries.

According to a recent article by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing the Chicago Cubs after she experienced a slip and fall accident in a Wrigley Field bathroom. She filed a premises liability lawsuit this month in Cook County Circuit Court. The complaint describes how she was in a bathroom on the main level when she slipped in a puddle of water that was on the floor and became injured. The complaint accuses the Chicago Cubs Baseball Club LLC of failing to maintain the premises in a safe condition. The plaintiff seeks over $50,000 in damages.

Slip and fall accidents are common claims in premises liability lawsuits. Landowners, particularly in this instance owners and operators of commercial property, have a legal duty of care to those on the premises to keep them safe and not cause injury. When a visitor to commercial property suffers injury, such as through a slip and fall accident, the property owner may be held liable through a premises liability lawsuit. In a premises liability lawsuit the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to prove that injury was caused by the property owner failing to maintain property, that the property owner caused an unsafe condition, or that the property owner knew about the hazard on the premises but failed to warn those on the property. If the landowner’s negligence in remedying or inspecting for the dangers led to injuries, they can be held liable as it was their duty to provide safe premises and keep invitees free from danger and injury.
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As our readers know, customers have the right to be safe and free from injury when shopping at local commercial entities, such as grocery stores. Under tort law (the area of the law which covers personal injuries), customers are called invitees and are owed the highest duty of care from store owners, as they are people invited onto the property to do business and benefit the owner. For that reason, it is the duty of those who operate the store to keep it free from dangers, warn of known dangers, and immediately remedy any dangers when they discover them.

According to an article by the Cook County Record, a Frankfort, IL Jewel-Osco is being sued for negligence in a slip and fall accident. A man filed this suit after he sustained injuries when falling over an item that was left on the ground in the aisle of the Jewel-Osco. The complaint elaborates that he tripped on a broken and loose refrigerator plate on the floor, which caused him to fall and become injured. He is now seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

In court, the plaintiff in a slip and fall accident must show one or more of three factors to be successful in the lawsuit. First, the plaintiff must show that the property owners failed to maintain the property. In this way, the plaintiff would present evidence that the plate was loose and damaged and had not been maintained by the store. Second, the plaintiff could show that the property owners created unsafe conditions, which caused the injury. In this way, the plaintiff may argue that the store was the cause of a dangerous condition that caused injury. Third, the plaintiff could argue that the property owners knew about the dangerous premises but did not alert visitors to this knowledge. Here, the plaintiff would argue that this was an open and obvious hazard that the store would have known about but failed to remedy it or warn others, such as by blocking it off, closing the aisle, etc.

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A lot of the time when we discuss slip and fall accidents, they occur at the site of a commercial building where the owner or manager is easily ascertained by the location. For instance, when someone falls inside of a grocery store as a result of dangerous conditions and suffers serious injuries, they may be able to hold the store’s owners accountable in a lawsuit. However, consider when someone falls outside on the pavement. Many people do not realize that in these instances there is still an entity, such as a city, who owes them a duty of care to maintain safe premises.

In a recent case discussed by the Cook County Record, a woman is suing the city of Chicago for the injuries she sustained after she fell over a partially removed parking meter. In her complaint, she alleges that she suffered injuries as the result of a poorly maintained parking meter, and thereby, that it was the duty of the city to maintain the meters and keep them hazard free. In her complaint, she describes how last March she tripped and fell over a parking meter that was partially removed near the intersection of Armitage and Western in Chicago. The plaintiff elaborates that the city did not entirely remove the meter, and with this knowledge, failed to warn people that the base was still present. The exposed base of the meter caused her to trip and she injured her head, shoulder, and teeth when she fell. She is now seeking damages over $50,000 plus court costs.

As a reminder, in slip and fall cases, the plaintiff may be able to hold a company or entity legally responsible for their injuries, but the victim must prove that the entity’s negligence led to the injury. As in this case at hand, these slip and fall cases would entail proving that an injury was foreseeable, that the entity had knowledge of the hazard, and that the hazard was under the control of the entity and not another.

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As our readers know from our past discussions on our personal injury blogs, owners and operators of commercial buildings can be held liable for injuries suffered by patrons on the premises. Where a landowner fails to warn patrons of dangers, fix dangers, or causes injuries to patrons, victims can file a premises liability lawsuit. It is the duty of the owners and operators of the premises to prevent injury, warn of any dangers, and remedy all known hazards for all patrons of the establishment.

A partially blind woman is suing the Lyric Opera House of Chicago after she fell on the premises, according to an article by the Cook County Record. The woman has filed suit in Cook County Circuit Court against Lyric Opera of Chicago and Travelers Insurance (the opera house’s liability insurance carrier) in a premises liability claim. The victim is blind in one eye. According to her complaint, she was attempting to take her seat in the opera house, fell, and was injured. She argues in her complaint that the defendants failed to provide adequate lighting for patrons taking their seats. She is seeking over $50,000 in damages.

Under premises liability law, when an accident or injury occurs on another’s property, the owner may be legally liable if it was their negligence that led to the injury. A plaintiff must prove that property owners failed to maintain the property or created unsafe conditions which caused injury. This is what the victim at issue is attempting to prove by arguing that lack of adequate lighting by the seats led to her fall and injury. Here, the victim will need to prove that but for the lack of light, she would not have fallen and suffered injuries and that her injuries were preventable by the opera house had they provided the needed light. If successful, she may be able to recover costs for her injuries, medical bills, etc.

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Slip and fall accidents are an unfortunately common yet often preventable when property owners take proper precautions. Despite the knowledge that one needs to protect visitors on property from known dangers or foreseeable harms, our attorneys frequently file lawsuits involving slip and fall accidents on behalf of injured clients.

Premises liability tort law surrounds the rule that landowners are liable for the injuries of visitors or customers (legal invitees) suffered on the property, and that landowners have a legal duty to make the premises safe, warn of dangers, and immediately fix and remedy known dangers. Also, this legal duty is not new but has been knowledge to landowners since the middle of the 20th century. The legal standard for negligence and premises liability comes from a federal case from 1947 called United States v. Carroll Towing Co. Judge Learned Hand created the famous standard and balancing test of negligence in this case, known as the “BPL Test,” in which a landowner must weigh the burden (B) to fix a known danger on the land, the probability (P) that injury will occur, and the actual injury that occurs (L). This algebraic formula measures liability: If B is less than L multiplied by P (ex: B < PL). In this balancing test, if a landowner's burden is less than the cost of injury and the probability of an injury's occurrence, then the landowner has not met the legal standard of care owed to invitees. For example, a pot hole in a parking lot, or a cracked tire is a much lesser burden to repair than the ultimate cost and probability of someone falling from the known danger.

According to recent reports by the Cook County Record, a suburban bar is being sued for allegedly breaching this legal duty of care and causing a slip and fall injury. The Cook County bar, Celtic Corner, is the subject of a lawsuit after a man suffered injuries after falling over a board in the bar. The victim tripped and fell down in the walkway of the bar in Elmwood Park. According to the claims, bar patrons were playing a game in which a board with a hole is propped up on the ground, and he alleges that the board was left sitting after a game, which caused his fall.