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What plaintiffs must prove in slip and fall cases
Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of personal injury, which sends around 2 million people to the ER annually. Several things can cause a slip and fall in Illinois, such as uneven surfaces or spilled liquids. Premises law gives the injured party a right to sue, but they have to prove the case.
The plaintiff must prove the owner had a duty of care to keep the property safe. Premises law states that all property owners must keep their property reasonably safe. Reasonable in this case often focuses on if the owner makes efforts to keep the place free from hazards.
However, whether the owner is liable also depends on the status of the party who fell. Invitees refer to people that the owner expects to come on the property, such as customers or friends. A licensee often visits the property for personal benefit with permission, and a trespasser does not have permission to come on the property.
The owner must have known the condition existed or anticipated it, neglected to fix or prevent it, and it posed a risk to visitors. For example, if someone had just spilled liquid, and the party fell coming behind them, the defense may argue the owner didn’t have time to know about the spill. If the condition had been present several hours, the owner may be liable.
The trickiest part of slip and fall cases commonly involves proving the owner caused the condition, or fault. Illinois has comparative fault laws, which consider the plaintiff’s carelessness.
In the spilled liquid example, a witness who saw the person talking on their phone would likely factor in the case. The plaintiff shares a percentage of the fault, and the court figures compensation based on it.
Property owners are not responsible for all slip-and-fall accidents, and each case varies. The plaintiff needs an attorney to help them get proof and increase their chance of winning.
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