We’re talking about the cases where someone slips and falls at a business, such as a grocery store. We can’t predict or guarantee an outcome 100%, but there are some cases that have a good chance of recovery and others that will likely go nowhere. Here are the makings of a “good” case:
A serious injury. We aren’t wishing this on anyone, but we’re simply pointing out that unless your injury is serious and/or permanent, you’ll have a harder time. If you sprain something and make a full recovery without any surgery or significant therapy, then there’s not much to go after in terms of a financial recovery. If, on the other hand, you suffer a serious injury that leaves lifelong effects, requires significant rehab and causes you to miss a lot of work, then there’s more to fight for. It will also be easier to find an attorney willing to take your case.
Evidence of negligence. This is a big one. If you can’t prove that the business owners or managers were at fault, then the law can’t make them pay for your injuries. When we say “fault” we mean legal fault. For a slip and fall in Illinois this usually means that the business knew about the hazard that caused your fall, like a leaky refrigerator in the cold food section that has been broken for some time. Or, if someone else warned a manager of a spill, and they failed to clean it up and you slipped and fell. Just the existence of a hazard (puddle, banana peel, etc.) isn’t enough to prove fault. If the floor is wet because it’s a rainy day and people are tracking water in, you might be out of luck.
Clear proof that your injury wasn’t caused by something else. This becomes a problem for people who don’t see a doctor right away or as soon as they start to feel pain. If you wait, the defendant will claim that your injury could have been caused by something you did at home, or at work, or anywhere else. If, on the other hand, you fill out an accident report and see your doctor (and explain to them exactly what happened), the other side will have a hard time shifting the blame.
If you have questions about something that happened to you, and whether it’s an Illinois legal case worth pursuing, give us a call. We promise to be honest about your chances, and most importantly, we’ll explain why.
Written by Michael Helfand