A slip and fall accident is one of the most common personal injury types, affecting one in three older adults each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But while the elderly may be the most at risk for a slip and fall accident, when a property is not maintained in a safe condition, anyone may become a slip and fall victim.
Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Most slip and fall accidents in Illinois are preventable. In fact, the majority occur not due to the fault of the party who falls, but instead due to dangerous conditions that precipitate a slip. Such conditions on a property that can lead to slip and fall accidents include:
- Broken stairs;
- Lack of handrails;
- Snow and ice;
- Slippery surfaces;
- Torn carpet;
- Damaged sidewalk
- Debris and objects; and
- Lack of warning signs about hazardous conditions.
A Property Owner’s Duties
Property owners are obligated to maintain their properties in a condition that is “reasonably” safe and free from any known hazards. This means that a property owner has a duty to remove or correct a hazard on the property, and can be liable if he or she fails to do so within a reasonable amount of time. A property owner can also be held liable for failing to correct a hazard, even if he or she was unaware of the hazard, if the hazard should have been known.
For example, a property owner has a duty to remove snow and ice from her property. If he or she knows of the snow and ice and fails to remove it, then he or she may be held liable for injuries incurred by a slip and fall accident. If the owner claims to not have known that the snow and ice was present or/and posed a danger, and did not remove it as such, this may be considered unreasonable, based on the common knowledge that snow and ice can be dangerous, that the neighbors cleared their walks, that storm warnings predicting snow and ice were issued well in advance, etc.
Is a Property Owner Liable for Harm Caused to a Trespasser?
According to the Illinois Premises Liability Act, “An owner or occupier of land owes no duty of care to an adult trespasser other than to refrain from willful and wanton conduct that would endanger the safety of a known trespasser on the property from a condition of the property or an activity conducted by the owner or occupier on the property.” In other words, no – a property owner does not have the same duty to trespassers as one does to invitees. Therefore, if you were trespassing at the time that your slip and fall injury occurred, your claim may be more complex.
Contact an Illinois Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you have been injured in Illinois in a slip and fall accident, the skilled Illinois slip and fall attorneys at Fisk & Monteleone LTD. can represent you during your personal injury claim for damages. Serving Belvidere, Loves Park, Rochelle, and more, our attorneys are ready to review your case today. Call us at 815-516-0801 now.