If you’ve found this page, you may be looking for a Mount Prospect slip and fall lawyer. Our office is in
Northbrook, Illinois, but we handle slip and fall cases throughout the state of Illinois. Call us today for a free consultation at 312-848-9783.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents account for over one million emergency room visits a year and they are the leading cause of all “on the job” injuries or workers’ compensation claims.
If you’re injured and need to speak with a slip and fall accident lawyer in Mount Prospect, contact our office at 312-848-9783. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, you may want to bring a claim against the property owner for compensation for your damages. However, all accidents are not equal. Just because you fell does not mean you automatically have a claim – in fact, in many and maybe even most cases, you may not have a claim
The General Rule
So, what are the elements of a slip and fall case. They vary by state – though generally speaking the rule is that the property owner must act “reasonably” or maintain its property in reasonably safe condition. This is true in the state of Illinois, which is governed by the Illinois Premises Liability Act.
Crack in the sidewalk
Have you ever been walking on a public sidewalk or driveway and noticed a large crack in it? Or maybe you notice that two of the pads of concrete are not level. These types of cracks cause lots of accidents every year.
So can you file a claim for compensation in this type of case? The simple answer is, “yes” you can always file a claim, but you may not win.
Every state has its own laws about how large or dangerous a crack has to be before someone can bring a claim. Some states have a “bright line test” which means that a crack in a sidewalk has to be at least a certain size, for example, 2 or 3 inches, in order to bring a claim against the property owner.
Other states may look at the totality of the situation to determine whether a property owner should be responsible for the accident.
In these types of cases, Illinois has followed the de minimis rule. In other jurisdictions it might be called the “trivial defect” rule. In short, the crack cannot be de minimis, or so small that it shouldn’t create a dangerous condition and as such, a municipality does not have a duty to repair the crack.
In the past in Illinois, the rule was that a crack had to be a solid two inches to be actionable. I think you’ll find that is not entirely accurate any longer, though it still can serve as a guide. Rather, recent court decisions seem to look at the totality of the circumstances to determine whether a property owner should be liable for this type of accident.
Who Do You Sue?
So, who do you file a claim against in this situation? It depends on who owns the property but often the defendant in cases like these is the city or town that maintains the sidewalk you tripped on.
This complicates things. First, you need to know that if you’re bringing a claim against a governmental entity, it’s possible that the city or town has what’s called, “immunity”, which basically means that it is protected from liability for your injuries.
Also, the time limit to file a claim against the government entity, known as a statute of limitations, is likely much shorter than if you brought a claim against a normal property owner. So, if you’re involved in a case like this, don’t wait to act.
The World is Full of Cracks
Why is it so hard to bring and win a case in this type of situation? The world is not flat! It’s full of cracks. Take a look at any parking lot or sidewalk. There are probably hundreds or thousands of cracks all over it. If every property owner was responsible for fixing every single crack it would cost a fortune.
This is unfair to the property owner, not economically realistic, and it would be really tough on cities and towns as they are responsible for hundreds of miles of sidewalks
If you are injured in an accident like this, act quickly, do your research, possibly talk to an attorney so that you can figure out whether you have a viable claim. And remember – don’t delay or you may lose your right to recover for your damages.
If you want to speak with a Mount Prospect, Illinois slip and fall lawyer about your slip and fall accident, feel free to contact us at 312-848-9783 for a free consultation.